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A First Payment Reminder Letter is a short, friendly reminder to repay an outstanding payment from a client or customer.

What is a First Payment Reminder Letter

What are Debt Collection Letters?

Debt Collection Letters are the first step in the debt collection process. In order to recover debt, it is recommended to first issue late payment reminder letters to clients or customers about overdue payments. These are also known as Demand Letters or Letters of Demand.

Why send Debt Recovery Letters?

Debt recovery is a major concern for many small businesses. Late payment reminder letters can be a useful and affordable way of chasing up overdue invoices by prompting a customer to pay the overdue amount. Having a structured credit control process in the collection of debt saves time spent collecting payments and managing cash flow.

What is a First Payment Reminder Letter?

A First Payment Reminder Letter is a short, friendly reminder to repay an outstanding payment from a client or customer. While numerous follow-up letters can be sent later, the first should be served as a friendly reminder. It should be as polite and friendly and should also be quite professional. It can be sent by any means but it is usually sent by e-mail or via postal mail.

What is a Second Payment Reminder Letter?

A Second Payment Reminder Letter serves as a follow-up reminder after already issuing a First Payment Reminder Letter. The first letter is a gentle reminder as slight delays could occur due to various reasons. However, for the second, the tone can be more direct than the first. This is to create pressure for the timely payment to be made. The second payment reminder letter helps to minimize the amount of valuable time and effort spent chasing late payments.  It serves as a part of a structured credit control process. It can be sent by any means but it is usually sent by e-mail or postal mail as well.

What is a Final Debt Recovery Letter?

Also known as a Letter before Action, a Final Debt Recovery letter is the third and final reminder to pay the outstanding debt. Basically, it is a short, clear demand to make an outstanding payment. While the letter should still be professional, it can now include a warning about the next step. The final debt recovery letter, may or may not, include the mention of pursuing legal actions if the debt is not settled. Importantly, it is not a legally binding document and can be re-issued multiple times.

What is the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims?

In the UK, the Ministry of Justice has released requirements with regards to the information and process required in order to claim payment of a debt from an individual or sole trader before court proceedings can be issued. The Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims serves as a good general business debt collection best practice guideline.

What are the requirements of the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims?

In order to satisfy the requirements of the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims, your communications should include:

  • Details of the amount owed and the agreement under which this debt originates.
  • Up to date details of any interest and administrative charges added.
  • Payment instructions including the method of and address of payment.
  • Information about payment options that are available to the debtor.
  • A Reply Form, Information Sheet, Financial Statement Form, and a reply address for the Reply Form.

Letters should be clearly dated and sent by post unless alternative methods of communication have been explicitly requested.

Does a Letter Before Action have to be sent by registered mail?

A First Payment Reminder Letter, or Letter before Action, should be sent by postal mail unless alternative methods of communications have been explicitly requested. However, the gravity and intention of debt collection are communicated with a better chance of success if sent by registered mail.

When to send Payment Recovery Letters?

Payment Recovery Letters should be sent when a payment is overdue. A payment is overdue when an outstanding payment is outside the payment terms. If payment terms have not been specified, it is usually customary to consider a payment overdue after 30 days.

What are Payment Terms and Payment Instructions?

In essence, payment terms are the conditions under which a payment should be made. Usually, payment terms include when payment is expected, any conditions on that payment, and any discounts or penalties relating to the timing of the payment. Subsequently, payment instructions are the means and methods of payment.

What are Common Payment Terms?

Essentially, parties are free to negotiate the desired payment terms. In practice, the provider of a good or service will normally have standard payment terms. Common payment terms include:

What is the difference between an Invoice and a Payment Request Letter?

An invoice, also known as a bill, is a commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer requesting payment for the provision of goods or services. It can be issued in advance or afterward. It usually includes a breakdown of the costs for the goods or services provided, the total amount due, payment instructions, and payment terms.

How to prevent late payments in the first place?

The best way to avoid this uncomfortable situation is to try and avoid it in the first place. You can try and prevent this in the following ways:

  • Try and drop a gentle honest reminder. Give clients reminders and explain the situation to them.
  • Start charging interest on late payments. Lay this out in your contracts beforehand. This could make clients more precautious.
  • State the time frame for payment well. Make sure that it is not vague.


First Payment Reminder Letters are follow-up communications after an invoice has been sent but no payment is received. They are commercial documents, that are a part of the debt collection process. Payment Request Letters are the first step if a customer is slow-paying invoices or refusing to pay an invoice.

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