How to Politely Ask for Money in English

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This article covers the following areas –

No one feels comfortable asking for money, no matter whether you want to borrow or request someone to return it to you. On top of that, if you are an ESL speaker, you may find it more awkward if you don’t know the appropriate English expressions. So here, I present some expressions and tips so you can do it better.

You can say, “Would you please lend me some money?” to borrow, and “Is it possible to repay the owed amount now?” to ask for the money you lent. While asking for a loan, you should mention the specific amount, when and why you need it, and when you will return it.

Do you know any other polite ways, or do you have any tips in your mind regarding this? Please share with us in the comment box. No matter whether you lend or borrow money, your communication is crucial. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships (Amazon Link) is a book that can help you understand how words contribute to connection or distance.

How to Ask for Money as a Borrower

When you need to borrow money, you may first think about your friends, family members, or people very close to you. However, no matter how close you are to them, you should be polite and do it respectfully while asking for money.

To request a loan, approach the lender with respect and clarity. Start with a polite greeting, explain your financial need, specify the amount, and suggest a repayment plan. Honesty and courtesy are crucial to foster trust and facilitate a positive outcome in the transaction.

Here are some expressions you can use to ask someone for money politely.

  • Hello uncle! Would you please lend me $50 to pay my utility bill?
  • Hey Jack! Can you lend me $10 for now? I forgot to bring my wallet.
  • Though I am asking for help, could you please lend me $1000 for this month?
  • Can you help me out with an amount of BDT 10000?”
  • Would you mind if I ask for some money? I need to pay my house rent today.
  • Though it is embarrassing for me, I am bound to seek financial help from you.
  • John! I probably left my wallet at home. Can you pay the bill for me now?
  • Mom! I’m $200 short for my house rent. Please send it to my account.
  • Is it possible for you to pay the bill for me? I’ll send you the amount tomorrow.
  • I am really out of my budget. Can you lend me $100 now?
  • The last date for my installment for the car is on the 20th of this month. Would you please help me with the payment? I’ll repay next month.
  • Hi Rohan! I’m in an emergency. Can you please lend me $800 for 15 days?
  • Would you mind sending me an amount of 5000 rupees? I must pay my bill tomorrow.
  • Hey buddy! I need 500 bucks now. Hopefully, I’ll get paid tomorrow and repay it.
  • I am sorry, but I must say I am broke. So please lend me some money for a few days.

Sample Conversation: Asking for Money as a Borrower

Situation: After a family lunch, Riya finds herself in need of some financial assistance and approaches her uncle, Mr. Rahman, in a private setting.

Riya: Hello, Uncle Rahman. I hope you’re doing well. I find myself in a bit of a financial bind and wondered if I could ask for a small favor.

Mr. Rahman: Hi Riya, sure, what’s going on?

Riya: I’ve encountered an unexpected expense and need to pay my utility bill, but I’m a bit short this month. Would you be able to lend me BDT 5000? I will ensure to pay you back by next month.

Mr. Rahman: I understand, Riya. It happens to the best of us. Sure, I can help you out with that.

Riya: Thank you so much, Uncle. I really appreciate your help and will make sure to repay you as soon as possible.

Mr. Rahman: No worries at all. Just remember to manage your expenses carefully in the future.

10 Tips for Asking for Money as a Borrower

As asking for money feels awkward, the people you request money from may also feel uncomfortable talking about money. However, there are different strategies to smartly and politely ask for money without feeling and making others feel uncomfortable.

#1 Ask the right person at the right time & the right Amount

As we usually ask for money from the people we already know, we should consider the depth of the relationship between them and us. For example, not everyone is ready to lend you money, even if they can afford it. On the other hand, some people would love to help you but don’t have the financial ability.

Also, you must think whether it’s a good time to ask for money from someone. For example, suppose someone has money but is going through a tough time regarding personal or professional issues. Will they find it suitable if you ask for help from them?

So, you must think about the right person, amount, and time to ask for money from someone.

#2 Share the reasons why you need the money

When you ask someone for financial assistance, it’s important to be transparent about the reasons behind your request. This transparency helps build trust and shows that you’re not asking frivolously.

For instance, if you need money for an emergency medical expense, educational fees, or to cover a short-term financial gap due to unforeseen circumstances, be clear about these details. This honesty can make the potential lender more empathetic to your situation and more inclined to help.

Moreover, by explaining your situation, you also give the lender a clear understanding of why your need is urgent or important, which can influence their decision to lend.

#3 Be specific about when you need it & when you pay back

Not everyone is always ready to help you with money. For example, suppose you need some money on the 8th of next month, but you are asking for it 15 days earlier without telling them the exact date. If they think you need the money now, they may be unable to give it now.

However, if they get 15 days, they may be able to help you with that. Probably the person will get the salary on the 1st of the following month and can help you. So it’s necessary to tell them exactly when you need the money.

Also, mention the exact date when you will pay back. For example, someone may lend you an amount for a month, but if it’s more than that, they may be unable to help. So, it’s better to talk about the time you pay back.

#4 Talk about the way of transferring the money  

Once a lender agrees to help, discussing the most convenient and feasible method for transferring the money is crucial. This conversation should prioritize the lender’s comfort and preference, whether it’s through cash, bank transfer, digital wallet, or any other method.

Addressing this upfront avoids any misunderstandings or inconveniences later. For instance, if the lender prefers digital transactions for record-keeping, but you ask for cash, it could create unnecessary complications. By being flexible and considerate about the transfer method, you demonstrate respect for the lender’s preferences and make the process smoother for both parties.

#5 Be polite, indirectly open, and honest

Politeness is the key to a good conversation. Whether you request someone or order anything, you must be polite in your choice of words, tone, and body language. The same rule is also applied when you ask for money from someone.

You should never forget that no one is bound to give you anything whenever you ask. For example, while asking for money from someone, you should consider that you are asking for great help or favor from them. Thus, you must ask for this favor politely.

Honesty is also part of politeness. You should honestly share your needs and be open about it. However, don’t be so direct that it offends the other person.

#6 Accept rejection happily

Understanding that not everyone will be willing or able to lend you money is crucial. Accepting your decision gracefully and without resentment is important if someone declines your request.

Remember, lending money is a personal choice and may depend on various factors beyond your control or knowledge. Reacting positively to a rejection shows maturity and preserves your relationship with the person for future interactions. It’s important to avoid taking the rejection personally and to respect the other person’s financial boundaries and decisions.

#7 Offer them help or return in more

When asking for financial assistance, consider ways to offer something in return, either now or in the future. This doesn’t necessarily mean repaying more money but could involve offering your time, skills, or support in another area where they might need help.

For example, if you’re skilled in a particular area like IT support, graphic design, or even something as simple as gardening or babysitting, you can offer these services as a gesture of gratitude. This approach balances the relationship dynamic and shows your appreciation and willingness to reciprocate the kindness you’ve received.

#8 Compliment & acknowledge their previous help

If you want someone to help you with money, you must convince them. And to do so, you should acknowledge their importance in your life. In addition, you should compliment them as a person. You should also praise their effort in your previous life.

If you want to learn different expressions of complimenting someone, you can read my article titled How to Compliment Someone in English.

#9 Try to ask for money in person, if possible

I would like to mention here that, if possible, try to ask for the money from someone in person rather than over the phone call or text.

As human beings, in many cases, we cannot reject people on the face. Besides, when you ask someone for money over the phone, the person may not realize how important it is to you.

On the other hand, if you meet them in person and explain why you need the money, there is less possibility of you getting rejected.

#10 Be sure if you really need to borrow

Before deciding to borrow money, thoroughly evaluate if it’s absolutely necessary. Consider alternative solutions:

Can you cut down on some expenses? Do you have something you can sell? Can you wait until your next paycheck or find another source of income?

Borrowing should ideally be a last resort, used only when all other options are exhausted. Borrowing frequently or for non-essential reasons can lead to a cycle of debt and might strain your relationships. By ensuring that you genuinely need the loan, you also reassure the lender that their assistance is crucial and appreciated.

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How to Ask for Money as a Lender

Asking for some money as a lender is more difficult than doing it as a borrower. When we ask for any amount owed to us by someone, it feels really awkward. However, we still need to do it in our everyday life.

As a lender, when seeking repayment, communicate in a respectful and clear manner. Gently remind the borrower of the loan, inquire about their current situation, and discuss repayment options. Diplomacy and understanding are key to maintaining a positive relationship and ensuring repayment.

Suppose someone borrowed money from you for a month, and it’s been a year, and the person is not returning the amount. You may need to talk to that person about it. However, you must be polite and try to know why the delay is happening.

Here are some English expressions to ask for money as a lender.

  • Do you have the situation to repay the amount you borrowed last month? It would be a great help to me.
  • Would you please return the amount as soon as possible?
  • Is it possible to make the payment that I lent last month?
  • Can we meet this afternoon to discuss the loan I gave last weekend?
  • I want to talk about the payment for this month. I think the deadline has passed. May I know what you are planning?
  • I need to pay my apartment rent this Monday. Can I expect a return of the amount I gave you last month?
  • I am running out of money this month. Would you please repay the amount I gave you a few months back?
  • Can you help me in this situation by returning the money you borrowed from me?
  • I would not ask you for the money I gave you last year if I didn’t start this house renovation.
  • I am sorry to bother you by asking for the loan amount.
  • I know you are growing through some challenging situations, but is there any way you can repay the amount you borrowed last year?
  • Is there any way to make a partial amount of the loan you took last month?
  • Would you mind if I ask you to repay the loan amount as soon as possible?

Sample Conversation: Asking for Money as a Lender

Situation: Mr. Ahmed lent his friend, Sara, a significant sum of money last year for an emergency. It’s been over a year, and he now finds himself in need of the funds. He decides to approach Sara in a friendly and understanding manner.

Mr. Ahmed: Hi Sara, I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to talk about the loan I gave you last year. Is now a good time?

Sara: Oh, hi, Ahmed. Yes, I’m good, thank you. Sure, we can talk about it.

Mr. Ahmed: I understand that times have been tough, and I’ve tried to be patient. However, I’m currently in a situation where I really need the funds back. Do you think you could start repaying the loan soon?

Sara: I’m really sorry for the delay, Ahmed. I’ve been facing some financial challenges, but I also understand your situation.

Mr. Ahmed: I appreciate your honesty. If it’s difficult to repay the entire amount at once, could we perhaps arrange a payment plan?

Sara: Yes, that would be helpful. I can start with a partial payment next month and continue monthly until it’s fully repaid.

Mr. Ahmed: That sounds reasonable. Thank you, Sara. Let’s keep in touch about the specifics, and please let me know if you face any more difficulties.

5 Tips for Asking for Money as a Lender

Talking about money is always awkward to many people, especially when you ask for that as a lender. So, you must be extra careful. However, here are some tips that may help you ask for the amount someone owes you.

#1 Be ready for not getting paid back

Understanding the risk of non-repayment is crucial when you lend money. It’s wise to consider any loan as a potential gift. This mindset helps in two ways: it prepares you for the possibility that the money might not be returned and allows you to lend only what you can afford to lose. By doing so, you protect yourself financially and emotionally. Remember, lending large sums that you can’t afford to lose can lead to stress and strained relationships if the borrower fails to repay.

 #2 Explain your need

If you find yourself in a situation where you need the lent money back, communicate this to the borrower. Be open about your circumstances – perhaps you have an upcoming expense or a financial emergency. A clear explanation can help the borrower understand the urgency and prioritize repaying you. It’s not about pressuring them but rather sharing your situation so they can see the importance of timely repayment.

#3 Be calm and polite

The approach matters a lot. When asking for your money back, maintain a calm and polite demeanor. Avoid any language or tone that might seem confrontational or demeaning. The goal is to preserve the relationship while addressing the financial issue. A respectful conversation can make the borrower more receptive and willing to find a way to repay you. Remember, aggression or impatience can backfire and damage your relationship.

#4 Suggest when & how to return the amount

Offering a practical repayment plan can be helpful. Discuss a timeline that works for both of you, considering the borrower’s financial situation. Suggesting flexible repayment options, like installments, can make it easier for them to pay back. It’s important to be accommodating but also firm about your expectations. Setting clear terms and timelines provides structure to the repayment process and helps avoid misunderstandings.

#5 Set deadlines & give gentle reminders

It’s important to conclude the discussion with a clear understanding and, if necessary, a written agreement. This doesn’t have to be formal – a simple note or email outlining the agreed terms can suffice.

Be open to negotiation. If the borrower proposes a different repayment plan, consider it carefully. Flexibility can make the process smoother for both parties. Remember, the goal is to get repaid without damaging the relationship; sometimes, compromise is key to achieving this balance.

Final Note

Whether you are borrowing or lending, it’s important to be polite and clear when you’re asking for money. This is not just about money – it’s about respecting each other.

If you’re borrowing money, remember to ask kindly and tell the person honestly why you need the money and when you can pay it back. Being honest and open helps a lot.

For those lending money, it’s good to talk clearly about when you expect the money back and any other important details. It’s all about being fair and understanding each other.

The main point of this article is to show how important it is to talk clearly and kindly when dealing with money. Whether you’re asking for a loan or giving one, it’s always best to be open about everything. This helps avoid any confusion and keeps your relationship strong.

Remember, when you deal with money, it’s serious. Treat it carefully and think about how it affects both people. By following these tips, you can handle money matters in a friendly and proper way, whether you’re borrowing or lending. This way, everyone knows what to expect, and it helps keep everything smooth and friendly.

FAQ: Politely Asking for Money in English

1. Why is it essential to be respectful when asking for money?

Money can be a sensitive topic, and approaching it respectfully ensures that both parties feel comfortable and the relationship remains intact.

2. What are some polite phrases to use when asking for financial help?

Phrases like “I was wondering if you could help me out,” “I’m in a bit of a tight spot,” or “Would you consider lending me…” can be gentle ways to broach the topic.

3. How can I clarify that I intend to repay the amount?

Be explicit in your conversation, mentioning your commitment to returning the money and possibly suggesting a timeline or payment plan.

4. Is it appropriate to provide a reason for borrowing money?

Yes, offering a brief explanation can provide context and might make the other person more understanding and willing to help.

5. How should I handle a situation where my request is declined?

Thank the person for considering your request and expressing understanding. It’s crucial not to take it personally or let it strain the relationship.

6. Should I put the agreement in writing?

For more considerable sums or longer repayment terms, a written agreement can be beneficial for both parties to clarify terms and avoid misunderstandings.

7. How can I express gratitude for the financial help?

A simple “thank you” goes a long way. Additionally, consider writing a heartfelt note or even giving a small token of appreciation once you’re in a better financial position.

8. Is it okay to approach a friend or family member for financial help?

While it’s generally acceptable, it’s essential to consider the nature of your relationship and ensure that the request won’t strain ties.

9. Can I request financial assistance from a professional contact or colleague?

It’s generally best to avoid mixing professional and personal finances. If you must, ensure the approach is highly respectful and considerate of professional boundaries.

10. What’s the best way to approach a formal institution or organization for financial assistance or a loan?

Research their lending criteria, prepare all necessary documentation, and clarify your needs and repayment capacity. Being well-prepared can increase your chances of approval.

If you have further questions or suggestions about anything specific related to this topic or anything else related to learning English as a second language, feel free to ask me in the comment box. You may also help the ESLA community by putting your valuable suggestions here to help every member improve their English language skills.

Niaj A A Khan is an ESL Instructor with over 8 years of experience in teaching & developing resources at different universities and institutes. Mr. Khan is also a passionate writer working on his first book, "Learn English at Ease."