How to Write a Past Due Invoice Email: Templates + Examples

Published on August 1, 2023
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Past-due invoice emails can help reduce the number of very late or unpaid invoices. But writing and sending overdue invoice emails can be a complicated balancing act of thoughtfulness and urgency.

And the stakes for not following up on your late payments are high. Late payments cost global businesses upwards of $3 trillion, according to an economic study from Sage. This same study found that a whopping 1 in 10 invoices isn’t paid on time, and 10 percent of payments owed are never paid — eventually making it to the bad debt pile.

So, how do you write an effective email for a past-due invoice?  In this blog, you will learn: 

  • How to write effective, standardized 30, 60, and 90-day past due invoice emails
  • How to write a proactive, detailed, and nuanced sequence of emails for other sequence types
  • Ways to reduce late payments and avoid overdue invoices

Past Due Invoice Email Templates and Examples

Sequence 1: Standard 30, 60, and 90-Day Unpaid Invoice Emails

30 Days Past Due Invoice Email

It’s important to send your first past due invoice email as soon as the due date passes. To provide a sense of immediacy, it should be cordial but firm. Often, overdue accounts are simply an oversight so those customers will appreciate a professional reminder. The email should be sent to the primary contact. 

At 30 days, the email should be:

  • Formal: This is an important issue that should be taken seriously.
  • Direct: Get to the point quickly.
  • Clear: Define the ramifications of being overdue, such as late fees
30 Days Past Due Email Template


[Subject line]
Reminder of balance due for [account #12345]

Dear Jeff,

This is a friendly reminder that your payment is now past due. According to our records, [account #12345]  is past due for the payment of [amount] as of [due date].

In accordance with our policies, a late fee of [amount] has been assessed.

At your earliest convenience, please make your payment here: [payment options]

If you have any questions or need to discuss your account, you can reach me at [phone].

Thank you for your attention to this matter and your continued business.

Sincerely,

John

60 Days Past Due Invoice Email

When an account reaches 60 or more days overdue, the likelihood that it will be paid drops significantly. At this point, it’s time to send a more strongly worded email and add follow-up phone calls to your sequence. If possible, the email should be sent to the primary contact and a manager. 

At 60 days, the email should be:

  • Bold: Include language that reflects the importance of the issue, like “requires your immediate attention.”
  • Urgent: Action needs to be taken, and it needs to happen now.
  • Flexible: Offer to provide payment plans if needed.
60 Days Past Due Email Template


[Subject line]
Reminder of balance due for account #12345

Dear Jeff,

This email is a notification that payment for your account is now 60 days past due. This matter requires your immediate attention. Details for your payment are as follows:

[Account Number, Due Date, Amount, Late Fee]

You may make a payment here: [payment options] 

Please let us know the status of your payment as soon as possible. If you need to set up a payment plan or have any other questions, you can contact me at [phone number]. 

We hope to resolve this matter quickly; continued delinquency will result in the closure of your account, and you will be referred to a collections agency.

Sincerely,

John

90 Days Past Due Invoice Email

When your customer’s payment is 90 days delinquent, you are now on the brink of contacting a collections agency, and there are real concerns you will not be paid all or any of the amount of the outstanding invoice. There are real consequences for the customer now, including potential legal ramifications. 

At 90 days, the email should be:

  • Formal: The language should reflect the severity of this issue.
  • Clear-Cut: Articulate next steps i.e. collections agency or legal actions.
  • Concise: The fewer words, the better.
90 Days Past Due Email Template


[Subject line]
Reminder of balance due for account #12345

Dear Jeff,

We have contacted you on numerous occasions regarding a now 90-day overdue account. This matter requires your immediate attention. Details for your late payment are as follows:

[Account Number, Due Date, Amount, Late Fee]

If you do not settle your account by [date], it will be referred to a collections agency.

You can avoid this by remitting your payment as soon as possible using any of the following payment options: [payment options]. 

Please contact me at [phone] with any questions. 

Sincerely, 

John

Sequence 2: Unpaid Invoice Email Escalation

Not all businesses follow the 30, 60, 90 days past due invoice email escalation sequence. What follows are alternative overdue invoice email templates that use the following structure:  reminder, nudge, on notice, direct ask, and final notice.

The Reminder

For the initial touch point, you’re providing a courteous reminder to someone with a busy schedule. Send this email one week before payment is due so that they can provide payment within a reasonable time frame.



[Subject line]
 Reminder of balance due for [account number]

Hi, Mr. Smith

I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to provide you with a quick and friendly reminder that your payment on [account number] is due next week. The balance due is [amount].

At your earliest convenience, please take a quick look over the attached invoice and let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you!

Steve Johnson

The Nudge

This is the initial call to action. You’re now actively seeking payment. Send this email on the payment due date and keep it brief.



[Subject line]
 Balance due today for [account number]

Hi, Mr. Smith

This is just a reminder that payment on [account number] is due today. The balance due is [amount] and the original invoice is attached.

Easy payment options are available through [payment options]

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. We appreciate your business.

Sincerely,

Steve Johnson

On Notice

This is the initial past-due invoice email letting the customer know their account is in default and payment is expected immediately. You should also clearly state any associated late fees. Send this email one month after the payment due date.



[Subject line]
 Balance past due for [account number]

Hi, Mr. Smith

Our records show that [account number] is overdue. The balance due is [amount], and an invoice is attached.

I appreciate you giving this your immediate attention. If the payment has already been sent, please disregard this notice. 

[Information on late fees]

If there are issues I’m not aware of, please reach out to me.

Sincerely,

Steve Johnson

The Direct Ask

Now the tone is more urgent. Late fees have been charged, and a threat of being sent to collections should be raised to get their attention. Send this two months after the payment due date.



[Subject line]
 IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUIRED: [account number] in default

Hi, Mr. Smith

This is a second reminder that [account number] is overdue, with a balance of [amount]. This payment was due two months ago, on [missed due date]

A late fee of [amount] has been assessed, bringing your total amount due to [balance + late fee]. An updated invoice is attached.

Please remit payment immediately to ensure your account is not sent to a collections agency, and respond to this message to acknowledge receipt.

If you have any questions, do reach out.

Sincerely,

Steve Johnson

The
Final Notice

At this point, your business may have no choice but to turn to a collections agency to settle with this customer. The full amount of late fees is assessed, and the account will be closed, and you’re severing the customer relationship. Send this email three months after the payment due date.


 

[Subject line]  FINAL NOTICE: Account [account number] in default

Hi, Mr. Smith

This is a final notice that your account balance of [amount] is due. This includes late fees totaling [late fee amount].

A final invoice is attached.

If this account is not settled within seven days, your account will be closed and sent to a collections agency. 

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Sincerely,

Steve Johnson

The Best Option: Reduce Late Payments Altogether

If your business is plagued by late payments, it is likely time to take a 360-degree view of your business and attack late payments from all angles. You’ll want to think about how to encourage on-time payments, including using incentives, automation, and upfront deposits. 

Consider Pricing Structure

Many businesses allow customers to purchase products and services on credit, which increases the likelihood of overdue invoices. In order to remedy that scenario, ask yourself what types of payment terms could you tack on to incentivize on-time payments. 

Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer customers a discount if they provide a credit card (rather than a mailed check) to be billed at predetermined times.
  • Require either a partial or full upfront payment.
  • Consider discounts for early or on-time payments (regardless of payment method).
  • Offer multiple payment types, including online payments. 
  • Outline late fees to be charged if payments slip beyond a specific time window.
  • Give away a coupon for a free product or service for a certain number of on-time or early payments.

Note that all these factors must be clearly detailed in each customer’s contract or terms and conditions. If it’s something you’re arranging after you have a large customer base, you can always go back and ask them to agree to new terms.

Study Incentives and Payment Flexibility 

Think about ways you could help reduce late payments while they are happening. What types of options could your business offer that might incentivize your customer to make the payment rather than ignore that unpaid invoice email?

Let customers know that they have multiple options to pay their balance. They may not know that you accept PayPal, for example, or they just got so used to mailing in a check that they forgot about their new corporate credit card. 

You can also look at the business case for payment plans. If you want to keep customers no matter how long it takes them to pay, you can present them with a payment plan option to receive at least partial payment. Decide if an account “pause” option makes sense for your business. If you’re in a service-based business, it may work to allow customers to place a hold on their account until they can pay in full.

Evaluate Your Billing and Invoicing Software

Don’t forget a critical component to reducing late payment: the billing or invoicing platform your business uses must support these different types of pricing structure logic in an automated fashion. Otherwise, you (or your employees) will be doing all the work manually.

You can learn more about automating your invoicing with the following guides and white papers: 

Continue to Monitor Customer Behavior 

Let’s say you start implementing some of these strategies and you’re seeing only mixed results. Take a further look into your invoicing data to see what’s happening by performing an accounts receivables analysis or by looking at your A/R analytics. Are larger purchase amounts generating longer past-due invoices? Who are your slowest payers? 

As a stop-gap, you may want to consider proactively offering payment plans to customers facing payment issues. Then, for the future, look into changing your payment terms such that they require a credit card for any purchases over $1,000 (or another appropriate benchmark).

Improve the Efficiency of Your Past Due Invoice Emails with Invoiced 

Sending overdue invoice emails may not be pleasant, but they’re often a necessary part of doing business. When cash flow gets tight or the economy takes a downturn your bottom line may depend on it. 

Following the above templates will help you ensure you’re writing effective past-due invoice emails. But one of the best ways to address unpaid invoices is to get out in front of the need to send these emails by reducing the friction involved in your payment processes. 

Invoiced’s Automated Accounts Receivable software helps you do just that. With fast, easy payment options, custom performance data, painless integration systems, and so much more, Invoiced allows you to have A/R automation right at your fingertips. To learn more about how Invoiced can help you get paid faster, schedule a demo a sign-up today!

Published on August 1, 2023
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