Being late on a payment is a frustrating and possibly even embarrassing situation. Your first instinct might be just to ignore the situation until you have the money to pay. Unfortunately, if creditors don't know what's happening, they may send collection letters or even put a report on your credit. A late payment letter can be an easy way to clarify the situation and avoid further problems.
Sample Letters Explaining Late Payments
These downloadable letters will help you notify your creditors about your situation. When you click on a letter, it will open as an editable PDF document that you can save and print. Once the file is open, click anywhere in the highlighted to edit the information for your particular situation. If you need more information about working with the document, see this guide to printables.
Notifying a Creditor Payment Will Be Late
When you can't make a payment on time, it's important to notify your creditors as soon as possible. This late payment letter will help you reach out to those you owe money. If you've consistently paid your bills on time up to this point, your creditor may be willing to work with you and lower payments or offer a new due date.
Everyone has hardships. You might have been laid off, had an unexpected medical bill, or needed to buy something urgently for a child. The key is to simply explain your situation, let the company know what you can do, and ask for help arranging future payments if needed.
Explanation Enclosed With a Late Payment
If you are sending in a payment after the due date, it's a good idea to enclose an explanation for the delay. If there is a good reason, this type of letter might help prevent a lender from sending a late payment report to the credit agencies.
As with the first letter, be sure to explain the situation that led to the late payment so the company can be assured it won't happen again.
Contacting Customers With Delinquent Accounts
Sometimes you're on the other end of a late payment, and a customer hasn't paid you on time. This can be an exasperating situation, and it may cause significant problems in your business. Late payments from customers can mean you can't pay your own bills on time.
Sample Collection Letters
Sending letters to customers who owe your business money can help expedite receipt of payments. This sample request for payment letter allows you to notify a customer or client that the account is past due and that you are expecting prompt payment of the bill. Examples are also available for other types of business collection letters.
Key guidelines to keep in mind when writing a letter to collect money from a customer with a past due account include:
- Be kind. Ain initial request for payment letter is the first step in collecting a debt, so it's not intended to be a knockout blow. In fact, many of these types of letters say something like, "I'm sure you simply missed our invoice, but account PH8976 is now 30 days overdue."
- Include a consequence. While you are trying to be kind, it's important to add some urgency to your payment request. Let the customer or client know that if payment is not received, you will take additional action and the account may be sent to collections.
- Don't wait too long. If you wait too long to make a request for payment, you could jeopardize your ability to collect the debt.
If a request for payment letter doesn't work, you'll need to send a second request collection letter. This message is generally sent two weeks after the first one and has a much more firm tone. Tips to make this letter as effective as possible include:
- Establish timeline: Your request for payment and collection letters will be necessary evidence if you have to sue for payment, so be sure that the letter states the exact date you sent it and the fact that it's the second request.
- Include order details: Be sure the letter includes the exact date of the customer's order, what he or she purchased, and it was received. Also include a copy of the invoice.
- Set a final date: In a second request letter, you'll want to state the exact amount due and the last date that you will accept payment. The tone of this letter will be much more firm.
- Set a consequence: Let the recipient know that you will send the account to collections or that you will pursue legal action following the specified date unless they make their payment.
Communication Is Key
Whether you owe money to a creditor or have a client who hasn't paid you, the first key to resolving the situation is excellent communication. Let the other party know what's happening and what can be done to set things right.
These sample late payment letters will give you an easy way to reach out to creditors you owe. The tips for payment request and collection letters will help you reach out to overdue accounts with professionalism and firmness. Either way, clear communication helps protect the legal rights of both companies and debtors and gets things back on course as quickly as possible.