What To Include in Past Due Notices

An image shares the important elements past due notices should contain to get desirable results.

Past due notices should be tailored to the customer you are contacting, but there are still some common details that should be included in each one.

  • Account holder information: Make sure your past due notice finds the right point of contact by including their information. State the person’s name, the company, and the company address.
  • Your contact information: Ensure the customer has your most up-to-date contact information by including your company address, phone number, and email.
  • The original invoice: Send a copy of the original invoice you’re notifying the customer about so they can compare it to their own records. Including the invoice number and amount due is also recommended in case the invoice is separated from the past due letter.  
  • The number of days past due: Citing when the invoice was due and how far past due it currently is helps emphasize the urgency of the matter. 
  • The past due invoice: If your payment terms dictate that a late payment fee will be added to overdue invoices, then you should write a past due invoice that includes the current charges.
  • Previous contact attempts: State how many times you’ve reached out on this matter in case early attempts never reached them and to ensure they understand where the invoice currently sits in the collection process.
  • Call to action (CTA): Identify what the client needs to do to resolve the overdue invoice and get their account in good standing. 
  • Payment options: Remind them of the different payment methods you accept to prevent unnecessary back and forth.  
  • Your next step: Let them know what will happen next if you do not receive payment, like sending the invoice to a debt collector, freezing their account, or adding late fees.

The precise information you provide in the past due notice will vary depending on the stage of the collection process you’re in, which we’ll explore further below.

Template for Upcoming Invoice Reminder

An image shows one approach to scheduling past due notices so that they are timed to provoke a response

Sending your customer a notification of an upcoming payment is a courteous way to remind them of their commitment without coming off as passive-aggressive. The message can be short and sweet, bypassing many of the details necessary in a past due letter. 

      Hello [Client Name],

      We hope all is well with you! This message is to remind you that invoice [Invoice Number] is due on [Due Date].

      If you have any questions regarding the bill or how to complete the payment, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. 

      Thank you for your business! 

      [Your Name]

      [Your Contact Details]

Template for Past Due Notice for New Customers

When a new client misses a scheduled payment, it can be difficult to tell whether it’s an intentional act or simply a misunderstanding. For that reason, it’s a good practice to restate your payment terms in a way that’s not overly confrontational. That way you can ensure they’ve received accurate instructions and are less likely to get defensive.

Look to this example for how to word past due notices on a first attempt:

      Hello [Customer Name],

      According to our records, payment for invoice [Invoice Number] was due on [Due Date] which is now [Number of Days] past due. A copy of the original invoice is attached for easy reference.

      As a reminder, payments are due [Number of Days] after billing. 

      To pay this invoice, please [Payment Instructions]

      If you believe this notice was sent by mistake or if you have any questions, please reach out so that we can resolve this matter. 

      Thank you for your cooperation,

      [Your Name]

      [Your Contact Details]

Template for Long-Term Customers

Long-term customers should already be familiar with your payment process, so a missed invoice likely isn’t the result of miscommunication. They’ve either made a mistake on their end, never received the invoice, or don’t have the funds available at the moment. 

Use your history with the customer to influence how you approach them about the matter. If it’s rare for them to miss a payment, a polite past due notice will bring it to their attention. If this is a common occurrence, you can be more direct in reminding them of next steps.  

Below is what a past due account notice to a long-term customer can look like:

      Hey [Customer Name],

      This is a reminder that invoice [Invoice Number] is now [Number of Days] past due. A copy of the invoice, which was originally delivered on [Date], is attached. 

      Your current outstanding balance now stands at [Amount Owed].  

      Please make your payment by [Deadline Date] to keep your account in good standing. 

      We’re happy to discuss this matter with you in the event you have any questions or issues with the payment terms.

      Thank you for your business!

      [Your Name]

      [Your Contact Details]

Template for Second Past Due Notice

If your previous past due letter to the customer has gone unanswered, then it’s acceptable to be more assertive in your second attempt. Just be sure to remain tactful to leave the door open for reconciliation. Reiterate the details from your first attempt and remind them of the payment terms they agreed to honor. 

The second past due notice template can be referenced below:  

      Dear [Customer Name],

      Invoice [Invoice Number] is currently [Number of Days] past due. We’ve tried contacting you previously but have yet to receive a response. 

      As agreed upon in our payment terms, a late fee of [Fee Amount] has been added to the invoice. The current amount now stands at [Total Amount Owed].

      Please complete your payment as soon as possible by [Payment Instructions].

      A copy of the original invoice that was delivered to your department is attached. 

      Our team is available to help you resolve this matter. If we don’t receive your payment by [Deadline Date], then we will [Next Step].

      Best regards, 

      [Your Name]

      [Your Contact Details]

Template for Final Collection Notice

Ideally, your clients will rarely bring you to this point in the collection process, but it’s still important to be prepared. Your patience has likely run out by the time you need to send this final notice, but it’s still important to treat your customers with the same professionalism you have in the past.

The final notice will involve more stick than carrot compared to previous attempts. This is when you emphasize the ramifications of leaving the invoice unpaid, like involving an external collections agency or even taking legal action. 

Here’s one way to go about collecting past due invoices in your final attempt:

      Dear [Customer Name],

      This is to inform you that invoice [Invoice Number] is now [Number of Days] overdue and requires your immediate attention.

      Our previous [Number] attempts to contact you have failed to receive a response. A copy of the original invoice and our previous past due letters are attached for your records.

      We ask that you please complete your payment by [Deadline Date]. If we have not received your payment by then, we will be forced to [Next Step].

      Our team is available to assist you, if needed.

      Best regards,

      [Your Name]

      [Your Contact Details]

A woman holds a template for a past due notice so that she can effectively communicate with her customers

How To Avoid Sending Past Due Notices

An image shares 4 tips to help businesses get paid on time so that they can avoid having to send past due notices

Due to the problems multiple late payments from customers can cause, it’s best to avoid having to collect past due invoices entirely. To make that happen, here are some tips you can apply to your operations that help reduce their occurrence:

  1. Properly vet customers to ensure their finances can support the line of credit. This includes things like running a credit check and getting professional or bank references. Nuvo can help you automate this process so you always have up-to-date information. 
  2. Thoroughly explain your payment terms. Use clear and concise language so your client understands what’s expected of them. Explain when the pay period starts for an invoice and use specific dates when possible.    
  3. Implement late payment fees. Adding penalties to your payment terms is a good way to show your customer that you’re serious about being paid on time. It also incentivizes them to keep their account in good standing. 
  4. Send reminders for upcoming due dates. Let your customers know in advance of when they need to make a payment. They’ll appreciate the courtesy if their invoice fell through the cracks, and your cash flow will remain uninterrupted. 

Past due notices are your last effort to amicably settle outstanding debts before taking legal action. That’s why it’s so important to have an effective collections process in place. For more information on how Nuvo can help you level up your credit screening decisions, check out our services.

Past Due Notices FAQs

Learn more about past due notices with these related questions and answers.

What Is the Difference Between Past Due and Overdue?

The terms “past due” and “overdue” are often used interchangeably, but in some cases they carry a slight distinction. “Past due” will sometimes refer to a bill or invoice that has recently surpassed the due date. “Overdue” is applied when the bill or invoice has not been paid in a long time.

How Many Days Is Considered Past Due?

A past due status can widely vary from one business to another. A payment is generally considered to be past due the day after the scheduled due date and up to 30 days after. The status often changes to overdue after 30 days, but sometimes extends to 60 or 90 days.

How Will Credit Score Be Affected by a 30-Day Late Pay?

A 30-day late pay can bring your credit score down by as many as 100 points if you have good credit. The lower your score already is, the less it will be impacted.

How Often Should You Send Past Due Notices?

The first past due notice should be sent soon after the due date, usually the day after. The second past due letter is usually sent 30 days after the due date (not 30 days after the first notice). Following notices should be sent in 30-day increments until legal action is necessary.

How To Send Past Due Notices?

Past due notices can be sent via various mediums, like physical mail, email, or fax. It’s advisable to use the customer’s preferred method of communication at first. If they are unresponsive, contact attempts can expand to other methods.

🎉 Thank you!

Please check your calendar for an invitation from our team.