How to Remind Someone to Pay You With Payment Reminders
Kyle Kuczynski
Kyle Kuczynski
MessageDesk Co-Founder & CMO
Updated: Dec 13, 2021

Learn How to Use Email, Voice, and Text Payment Reminders to Get Someone to Pay You

Sometimes people need a payment reminder. I run a small online store as a side hustle and it really bugs me when people don’t pay on time.

But it takes time to send emails and make phone calls just to follow up on unpaid customer invoices.

This is where automation, messaging tools, and a payment reminder strategy can help you save time and get paid faster.

In this article, I’ll show you some ways to send payment reminders and how to get started with payment reminder automation.

I’ll go over:

  • What a payment reminder is
  • 3 reasons why you should automate your payment reminders
  • The best time to remind someone to pay you
  • How many messages you should send to get someone to pay you
  • Top 4 ways to remind someone to pay you + payment reminder templates

Read on for more.

Payment reminders are often automated as part of a reminder sequence. A payment reminder sequence often revolves around a single payment due date or a payment that needs to be made within a certain number of days.

Common payment reminder timeframes include:

  • Net 30 (payment due within 30 days of the invoice date)
  • Net 15 (payment due within 15 days of the invoice date)
  • Net 10 (payment due within 10 days of the invoice date)

A net 30 payment reminder sequence might look like this:

  • Day 1: email and text customers a link to their invoice
  • Day 5: text invoice reminder
  • Day 10: text invoice reminder
  • Day 15: text invoice reminder
  • Day 20: email and text link to the invoice
  • Day 30: call customer

Here’s what a simple text message payment reminder workflow sequence looks like using MessageDesk’s text-to-pay and QuickBooks Online integration:

messagedesk-payment-reminder.png

Note: MessageDesk’s automated payment reminders sync with QuickBooks Online. The text message payment reminder is a pre-saved template that includes an auto-insert tag with a text-to-pay mobile payment link. The link allows people to make an immediate payment.

3 Reasons Why You Should Automate Payment Reminders

You may think that automation makes things complicated and requires a lot of effort and technical knowledge.

But setting up automated payment reminders is far easier than you think.

Many payment reminder apps and business text messaging services like MessageDesk make it easy to set up automated payment reminders with just a few clicks.

And once your set, automation frees up time and increases overall efficiency. That translates to more on-time payments, increased revenue, and improved cash flow.

So here are three reasons why you should automate your payment reminders:

1. Automated payment reminders make it easy to stay persistent

Automating any of your day-to-day tasks saves you time.

But automating your payment reminders allows you to stay persistent.

This is important because collecting on late payments comes down to messaging volume. When you’re manually sending messages, you can only move so fast.

When most outstanding payments get taken care of automatically you can spend your time manually tracking down the ones that really need more persistence.

Many platforms like MessageDesk offer default automation that’s set up and ready to go.

Example: five default payment reminder automations in MessageDesk:

messagedes-default-payment-reminder-automations.png

2. Automation helps you collect more on-time payments in less time

When you’re manually sending payment reminders, it takes forever and you run the risk of human error.

Most payments get missed simply because there wasn’t enough timely messaging reminding the person to pay.

But with automation, all of the outstanding invoices and payments that might normally go unpaid due to a human error (“I forgot to send the reminder”) get taken care of without effort, on time.

This is partly accomplished through set-it-and-forget-it, no-code software integrations.

Are you using small business accounting software like QuickBooks Online or Xero to create invoices or do your bookkeeping?

Then services like MessageDesk can automatically sync all of your invoices and customer information and make it super simple to automate payment reminders.

All you have to do is connect your payment provider to start sending messages to those with unpaid invoices. That’s it.

messagedesk-link-payment-provider.png

Many messaging services like MessageDesk also integrate with Zapier for connecting to other third-party party apps. Zapier requires a little setup but it’s another easy, no-code way to start automating invoice and payment reminders.

3. You’ll better understand your payment reminder process

Automating your payment reminders also forces you to think about your collections process.

I suggest you start by studying your current process and creating a diagram.

Ask yourself:

  • Where does my invoice and payment information currently live? (it should be centralized)
  • How many reminder messages are you typically sending? (5+ is a good place to start)
  • What’s the current step-by-step process for paying?
  • At what points in your process are the unnecessary steps or “friction”?
  • What are the best ways to send a payment reminder?

Then look for time-saving opportunities and software to help you send payment reminders.

Maybe you’ll find that the best time to send a reminder is right after an invoice gets created?

Maybe you’ll find that it’s after an invoice is over 5 days unpaid?

Finally, think in terms of friction when studying your process and evaluating solutions. The harder it is for someone to pay you, then the less likely you are to get paid. It’s that simple.

The more you can remove unnecessary steps and streamline the process the better

Suggested article: The Frictionless Guide to Small Business Invoicing

When is the Best Time to Remind Someone to Pay You?

Speaking of process, when’s the best time to remind someone to pay you? The best time depends on your payment process and payment terms. Businesses and organizations that collect payments on net 30 payment schedules should start sending payment reminders weeks in advance.

Want customers to take immediate action? It’s also a good idea to send a payment reminder with a clear call to action (CTA) once you’ve rendered the product or service.

Payment reminder calls to action include:

  • Pay now (a link to a payment collection portal)
  • Contact us (phone number or email address for immediate service)
  • See terms (link to a webpage with payment terms)

Running a cashless business with software, payment portals, integrations, and automation can obviously aid in this process and help you determine when to send a payment reminder.

But every business and customer relationship is different, so there's no one-size-fits-all timing.

How Many Messages Should You Send to Get Someone to Pay You?

The number of payment reminders you send also comes down to your product or service and customer preference. Overall, the efficacy of payment reminders tends to decrease as you send more. But a good rule of thumb is five messages.

So it's best to determine the optimum payment schedule (net 30, net 15, net 10, etc.) for your business and customers first.

For businesses running on a net 30 payment cycle, I suggest the following:

  • Day 1: email and text customers a link to their invoice
  • Day 5: text invoice reminder
  • Day 10: text invoice reminder
  • Day 15: text invoice reminder
  • Day 20: email and text link to the invoice
  • Day 30: call customer

Note: You’ll also want to be mindful of business messaging etiquette in the context of good customer service and your conversational messaging strategy.

Top 4 Ways to Remind Someone to Pay You or Your Business

Texts, emails, phone calls, and physical mail are all ways of reminding someone to pay you or your business. But which one is best?

Texting Email Calling Mail
✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Pros Cons Pros Cons Pros Cons Pros Cons
High open and response rates Can be perceived as unprofessional Usually free Low open and response rates Most people own a cell phone Time intensive More official appearance Costly
Inexpensive Easy file sharing Diluted by SPAM messages Instant feedback Cannot be automated Impossible to track open rates
Easy to automate More in-depth information quickly Low response rates Delivery takes exponentially more time compared to digital methods

Bottom line: there are pros and cons to every payment reminder option. Ideally, you’ll use a combination of methods to reach whoever owes you money.

Remember, in the payment reminder sequence example above, for days 1 and 5, there’s a text and an email that gets sent with a link to the invoice. And on day 30 they get a phone call since they haven’t paid you yet through any other reminder.

You can use several different options that work together in a sequence. But you’ll find that certain people will often respond better to one method over another.

1. Text (SMS) payment reminders

Texting is one of the best ways to send friendly payment reminders.

Why?

Texts are less formal and people read them almost immediately. Payment reminder texts are also easier to automate than phone calls, emails, or physical mail.

In fact, texting has some clear advantages.

It boasts better engagement rates than any other form of payment reminder. We’re talking up to 98% open rates, 45% response rates, and around 3% spam rates.

Your customers would prefer you text them too.

For things like appointments and scheduling and late payment reminders, 67% of people would rather text with a business than talk to them on the phone.

Late payment text messages are also less time-intensive on the part of the sender. And payment follow-up reminders that contain payment details and a link to a payment portal make it easy for your customer to pay right away.

This commonly gets referred to as Text-to-Pay.

Text-to-Pay is a way to request payment and pay by text message. Text payments can be made by simply following a link in a text message. It requires your business to have a payment portal or payment collection system set up.

Texting message payment reminder pros:

  • Most people own a cellphone with a text-enabled phone number
  • High engagement and open rate
  • Easy to include links to pay
  • Recipients are more likely to respond
  • Low spam rates
  • Simple to automate
  • Many small businesses accounting integrations

Texting message payment reminder cons:

  • Not as formal as an email or a letter

Payment reminder SMS templates:

Suggested Resource: Free Text Message Payment Reminder Templates

2. Email payment reminders

Email is the tried-and-true way of sending payment reminders. It’s always a best practice to use email, but payment reminder emails can suffer from low open and engagement rates.

Email reminders have around a 20% open rate, 6% response rate, and 53% spam rate.

Yes, email makes it easy to attach a copy of an invoice and add visuals. But email often gets ignored.

As a pro, email is also nearly free, so there isn’t really any downside to using it. Just be aware that if it’s your only method of delivering payment followup reminders, it may prove ineffective.

Email payment reminders pros:

  • Most people have at least one email address
  • Easy to attach and share files and send links to invoices
  • Great for more in-depth, visually rich messages
  • Plenty of accessible email templates

Email payment reminders cons:

  • Relatively low open and response rates
  • High message spam rates

Payment reminder email template:

Subject: SOON: Payment Due
Body:

Hi {{ First Name }},

We hope that you’re enjoying your [Insert Product/Service Name].

At {{ OrganizationName }} we take pride in making sure that all of our customers enjoy what we provide them.
I’d like to mention that I haven’t received payment from you just yet. No worries, it isn’t due until {{ PaymentDueDate }} (one week from today).

You can pay by mailing us a check at {{ Company Address }} or online here - [Link to invoice]. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reply to this email or give us a call at {{ Phone Number }}.

Warm Regards,
{{ Signature }}

Subject: Payment Past Due
Body:

Hi there {{ FirstName }},

Our records indicate that your payment of {{ Amount }} was due on {{ PaymentDueDate }} and is now late. Please be mindful of our late payment policies.

Follow this link to complete your payment: {{ PaymentLink }}

Thank you,
{{ Signature }}

Subject: Invoice #[Invoice Number] is 30 Days Overdue - Are You Receiving This?
Body:

{{ FirstName }},

I’ve tried reaching out to you multiple times over the past month regarding your balance of {{ AmountDue }} from invoice #{{ InvoiceNumber }}.

I’m writing to you again to let you know that your balance with us is now 30 days overdue.
You can pay your invoice off by clicking this link [Link to Invoice].
It’s possible that my previous emails fell through the cracks. Could you please reply to this email to let me know that you’ve received it?

Regards,

{{ Signature }}

3. Phone call payment reminders

Nothing is as personal and human as a phone call. But voice calls have long been in decline and some 76% of customers dislike talking with businesses on the phone.

And when it comes to payment reminders, phone calls just take too much time. Imagine having a bunch of customers and having to call each of them multiple times just to collect payment.

But phone calls do have their place despite their shortcomings. They’re often the best last-ditch effort for collecting payment and should be used when you’ve exhausted all other options.

However, I strongly suggest you don’t use your personal phone for work purposes, including payment reminders.

Voice payment reminder pros:

  • Most people own a cellphone
  • You get instant feedback and voice inflection
  • Phone calls are more engaging and personal

Voice payment reminder cons:

  • Susceptible to faulty handsets, poor network connections, and loud ambient noise
  • You can’t easily automate calling at scale
  • Time intensive
  • Relatively low response rates
  • Few ways to integrate with other business tools

4. Physical mail payment reminders

Debt collectors have long used physical mail to send payment reminders and collect on debts.

One of the main reasons for mail being used so commonly in the financial sector is the fulfillment of legal requirements. But for many small businesses, there’s no reason to go through the trouble of sending a letter.

Then there's the cost issue. Standard postcards can cost between $70 and $100 per 500 cards – depending on the supplier, printer, color, volume, and personalization.

Mailed payment reminders pros:

  • They're tangible

Mailed payment reminders cons:

  • Relatively expensive (especially in cases of repeated reminders)
  • Low marginal return
  • Hard to track
  • High probability of getting lost in an ocean of junk mail
  • Most people prefer digital communication methods

Ready to start sending payment reminders?

MessageDesk is here to help with smarter, simpler ways to send payment reminders.

Feel free to start a free MessageDesk trial or schedule a demo to meet with a messaging expert.

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