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What is an Email Invoice?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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An email invoice is a type of invoice that is sent through email to a client, allowing for easier billing or digital payment through a variety of different businesses that allow for secure and fast payments made over the Internet. These types of invoice are usually similar in appearance to standard paper invoices, with all of the pertinent information and contact details included, though they are often simpler to organize as they do not require extensive paperwork. An email invoice can be used in a number of different situations, from freelance workers looking to bill individual clients to larger companies and corporations trying to reduce paper usage.

Invoices are documents prepared by a business or individual as a way of billing clients or customers for goods or services provided by the business or person. These types of documents are not typically used in retail sales, as those purchases are usually simple and payment is made immediately as products are purchased and taken from a store. For other businesses, however, invoices allow a person to be clearly billed for a product or service, and the details of the billed items are usually listed in great detail and precise language.

An email invoice is simply a type of invoice sent via email between the person providing the service or product and the client paying for it. This could include an invoice prepared in a word processing program and attached to an email or simple invoice information included in the body of an email sent to a client or customer. There are also some email invoice services that will create invoices for a person or business based on information entered by them, and then send it through email to a client to keep the process simple and efficient.

Many of these email invoice services will also provide fast and secure means of payment to be made over the Internet. This allows a client or customer to pay for a service or product with a credit card or even a check over the Internet, and will often deposit the payment into an account created by a person or business on the service website. The payment can then usually be easily transferred to another bank account, or a debit card may even be used to draw directly from the payment service. An email invoice allows businesses to avoid large quantities of paperwork and filing, and instead retain billing information as digital media.

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Discussion Comments

By serenesurface — On Jan 22, 2012

@turkay1-- You're right. There are very good reasons for having invoices online. Some stores even request a copy of the invoice when you are returning a product for a refund or when you're trying to have it replaced.

I bought a DVD player online last month and it was not working properly. I called the store and they asked me to mail it back to them with a copy of my invoice inside for the refund. The invoice was in my email and I hadn't even looked at it actually. But it was so easy to pull it up and print the invoice out.

If it had been in paper form (and some online stores also include a paper invoice in the product), I would have surely lost it. And if I didn't lose it, I'd still have to go and get a copy of it. It's just too much work that way.

By candyquilt — On Jan 21, 2012

@fify-- Well, I don't agree with you. It is a personal preference but I think that stores need to send a billing invoice with each purchase. And I'd much rather receive it through email rather than in paper form. We already waste enough paper, we don't need to waste more.

Plus, on some sites, like eBay where you are bidding on items and where shipping charges change based on the item and combined shipping, an invoice is necessary. For example, when I have products in my basket on eBay and I'm ready to checkout, I first request an invoice from the seller which I receive in my email. This is the only way I can know what my total cost is since I'm not told the combined shipping cost until checkout.

Plus, I like to keep all of my invoices in my email for future reference. It has happened in the past where I forgot how much I paid for something and I was able to pull up my billing invoice from my email and check.

I think email invoices are not just better for the environment but they're easier to understand and use too.

By fify — On Jan 21, 2012

I think email invoices are just a formality. Because just like shopping from a store, when I shop online through online stores, I know what I'm purchasing and how much it costs. Plus, I either make the purchase right away or leave the products in my basket to purchase later.

So, I always know how much I'm paying and what I'm buying. I do expect a payment confirmation from the store in case something goes wrong with my purchase later, but I don't think an online invoice is necessary at all. It's just one more e-mail that clutters my inbox.

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