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Best ways to politely ask for money owed to you

You’ve probably heard of “lend only the money you can actually afford to lose”. The thing is when friends or family approach you asking for some money, you give it to them without much thought, assuming that they will pay back in due time to preserve relations.

However, things cannot always be left to chance or assumptions, and it can get pretty awkward repeatedly hounding a friend or relative especially to pay back what they owe you.

Most polite ways to ask someone to pay you back

How shall we go about it then? Consider the following:

A polite reminder (or two)

It’s perfectly normal for people to forget that they owe someone money, especially when the amount isn’t too big. In this case, a simple reminder may be all that’s needed.

Be straightforward yet polite, courteous and understanding, using friendly and informal language to remind your friend, associate or loved one that they owe you money. Give them a few days at least to comply with your request!

“So, what did you use the money for?”

People do ask for money for specific reasons, and usually they will tell you what it’s for. For instance, if someone asked you for money to buy a bike on a loan or instalments perhaps, you can ask them how the bike is running or what it’s like to ride.

If they don’t bring up the subject themselves, you can ask them in a “by the way” manner to let them know that you’re patiently waiting on the payment.

Be a little flexible

If someone is unable to pay you according to what was agreed to, then you might want to offer them flexible terms and let them pay the debt back in instalments.

Unpaid debt can really strain relationships, especially if it’s a large amount (£1000 and above) between friends or family members, so consider extending the term or at least offer to let them pay you back in chunks.

Send them a text message or email

This may not be the best approach if you run into the person from time to time, but if he/she is away from you for several weeks or months at a time, you can send them a message or email along the lines of: “I hope this email finds you well – if you recall, I lent you a sum of… and I was wondering when you can pay it back”.

The next round is on them!

This can work remarkably well for small debts, so you can always ask your friend, associate or co-worker to pay for the next meal or round of drinks when you’re all out.

If anything, they should be happy to oblige as it will reduce their debt. Naturally, you’d want to be as polite and gentle about it as possible!

If you’ve lent someone £1000 or more and haven’t had much luck with the above methods then perhaps it’s time to get in touch with an award-winning debt recovery agency like Cobra:0151 526 4222. Our polite, approachable and professional debt recovery agents will ensure that you receive the full payment due to you.

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