How to write a payment request email (+ templates included)

Aiva Strelca 18.03.2022
Asking for payment

Writing a payment request email may feel burdensome to many people. It’s tricky to sound polite AND persuasive; plus, you may be afraid to come off as rude.

We get the struggle.

Normally, you would receive payment for a job done according to an agreement. However, if the payment due date has arrived but the money hasn’t, you may be forced to send a payment reminder email. So, how do you politely ask for payment? And how to write a solid payment request letter? Read this article to find out!

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Why do we struggle writing payment request emails?

A woman writing a payment request email

No one likes sending payment request emails. 

But no one likes late payments either, especially freelancers and small businesses, as they’re less likely to have safety net money. 

Even though we understand that receiving money that somebody owes us is normal, why do we struggle with payment reminder letters that much? Psychology has a few good reasons:

  • It brings up some basic human insecurities 

Asking for money can be problematic due to the same reason why some people find it hard to ask for help – we’re hardwired to do things on our own and feel uneasy about surrendering the control of events to someone else. 

  • It can trigger doubts about your professional competence 

There’s a thin line between healthy doubts on whether you’ve delivered your best work and constantly feeling not good enough even when your work is objectively good. 

Thus, for those struggling with imposter syndrome – never-ending profound disbelief of your professional competence – writing a payment request email is especially triggering as it can take you down the rabbit hole of feeling like a fraud even if it’s not true. 

  • We’re afraid payment request letters make us seem rude

Another side of human nature is the need to be liked. Back in the days (think prehistory), being liked by others equaled being fed and protected. Thus, it’s natural to feel uncomfortable communicating things that may cause other people to react negatively. And payment reminder letters can be such a case. 

The reasons listed may or may not be why you struggle writing payment request emails. It could also be that you simply haven’t written one previously and would like to learn how to do it best. Anyhow, let’s dive into tips on how to politely ask for payment!

How do you politely ask for a payment?

Woman writing a payment request letter on laptop

While there aren’t strict rules that need to be obeyed when writing a payment request letter, there are several things you can bear in mind to ensure your email is polite. 

Write a non-threatening payment request email subject line

The subject line is the first thing an email receiver reads. Thus, it’s in your best interest that it’s direct and informative. And when it comes to payment reminder letters, it’s good that the subject line is polite, too. 

Add such phrases as “friendly reminder”, “update on the invoice #X/ update on the payment”, “invoice #X past due”, or something along those lines to remain professional yet provide a clear reason for sending the email.

Avoid emotional language or being passive-aggressive

It’s understandable that not receiving payment on time causes frustration. When a payment is overdue for a more extended time, frustration can grow into a broad spectrum of anger that whispers into your ear to send an emotional payment request email to your debtor. 

It’s better if you don’t do that. 

Stick to professional language at all times – it not only helps to maintain a decent relationship with your client but also shows that you’re a true professional.

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Attach a copy of your invoice and add the details needed for making the payment

Late invoice payers are not always bad people – emails get lost, fall into spam, and attachments go unnoticed. 

When writing a payment request email, make sure you’ve provided all the necessary information for your client to make the payment. Always attach a copy of the invoice, so they don’t need to look through their inbox for it, which lowers the chances of receiving your payment instantly. Additionally, include your bank account or payment provider info in the email body or into your invoice. 

Making the payment process as convenient as possible for the client is in your best interest – that way, they won’t have an excuse to be late with the payment due to organizational difficulties. 

Remind your clients of the payment terms

When writing a polite payment request email, it’s good practice to include the payment terms and remind your client when the invoice is due for clarity.

You can also attach the contract to the email as an additional reminder to the client for what you two agreed on. 

Keep your email short

Being short and straightforward is a general rule of email etiquette, and it applies to payment reminder letters as well. Even though you may be feeling all the feels about that missing payment, it’s better that you keep them to yourself. 

Instead, stick to a few short paragraphs and always attach a copy of your invoice. 

How to write a payment request letter (+ templates included)

A man using laptop

How you write a payment request letter largely depends on when you’re sending it. However, keeping it polite, to the point, and adding the necessary information for your client to make the payment is always essential. 

Here are a few payment request email options you can use:

Payment request email to send with the initial invoice

You have your freshly baked invoice and are about to send it over to the client. What should you write in the email?

Subject line: Invoice [#number] due [date]

Hi [name of the receiver],

It has been nice working with you. I’m thereby sending you invoice [#number] for [service or product name], which is due [date]. Please see it attached to this email.

  • If your invoice doesn’t contain your payment information, add it via email:

Here is my payment information:

[Your payment details]

  • If your payment information is included in the invoice:

My payment information can be found in the invoice. 

Feel free to contact me in case you have any questions. 

Kind regards,

[Your name]

Payment reminder email to send when the payment is a few days to a week late

You’ve sent the invoice to the client, the payment due date has passed, but you haven’t received the payment yet. However, it’s been only up to a week, which of course isn’t great, but it’s also not terrible. 

Here’s a payment reminder email template you can use in such a situation:

Subject line: Payment reminder for the invoice [#number] past due

Hi [name of the receiver],

Hope you’re doing well. Just a reminder that invoice [#number] I’ve sent you on [date when you initially sent the invoice] is now overdue. 

Please find a copy of the invoice attached to this email.

My payment information: [details here]


My payment details can be found in the invoice. 

Don’t hesitate to contact me if there’s an issue with the payment or if you have any questions. 

Kind regards,

[Your name]

Payment reminder email to send when it’s been two weeks after the payment due date

It’s natural that when a payment is over a week late, you’re starting to feel frustrated. It’s not pleasant to be chasing money that somebody owes you. But as you send another payment reminder email, keep it professional and direct. 

Moreover, it’s a good idea to ask about the status of the payment and when exactly you can expect it – especially if the money is being transferred to you from another country. In such cases, it could be that the client has made the payment according to when it’s due but it takes some time for the money to arrive in your account. 

Here’s an email template you can use:

Subject line: Invoice [#number] for [service/product name] two weeks overdue

Hi [name],

I’m writing to give a quick reminder that the invoice [#number] was due two weeks ago, and I have yet to receive payment. Can you please update me on its status and give me an approximate date when I could expect the payment to arrive?

I’ve attached a copy of the invoice to this email for your convenience.

My payment information: [details here]


My payment details can be found in the invoice. 

Feel free to contact me in case you have any questions.

Kind regards,

[Your name]

Payment request email to send when the payment is a month late

A man thinking in front of a computer

When it’s been a month or more since the payment was due, it’s a good idea to remind the client of the agreement between you two. Attach your contract to the payment request email or inform the client about late payment fees if such apply in your case. If you have an ongoing collaboration with the client, you can temporarily pause the work until payment for the previous work is made. 

It’s ok to be more demanding as you’ve already sent the client a few payment request emails by now. Remain polite but stand your ground. Here’s a template you can use:

Subject line: Invoice [#number] – the payment is now a month overdue

Hi [name],

The invoice [number] for [service or product name] was due [date]; thus, the payment is now a month overdue. I’ve attached the invoice to this email for your convenience. If there’s anything else needed from my side to initiate the payment, let me know. 

I’ve also attached our written agreement to this email. Please note that a late payment fee can be applied to invoices that are more than [X] days past the due date, according to the agreement’s terms. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if there’s an issue with the payment. If there isn’t, please, make the payment as agreed. 

Kind regards,

[Your name]

Bonus: If your payment request emails remain ignored

Woman speaking on a mobile phone

So you’ve sent an x-th payment request email, which has been ignored once again. It may be time for a phone call – direct conversation with the debtor is the best thing you can do in such a situation.

Before making that call, list the points you must mention to ensure your conversation is structured and remain as polite as possible. Try not to throw accusations or use passive-aggressive language or expressions. Additionally, make sure to find out if the technical details of making the payment have been provided correctly – such as email address, bank account number, etc. 

If your phone call has no answer, send the client a text message explaining why you’re contacting them and ask them to call you back. 

Have a tip for sending polite yet effective payment request emails? Leave us a comment!

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