money

How to Write A Goodwill Letter That WORKS [Templates Included]

Lance Cothern

WealthFit Contributor

Did you ever miss a payment because of stress or circumstances out of your control, and now that late payment is hurting your credit score? There’s good news: you can ask your creditor to take the bad mark off your credit history with a goodwill letter. Here’s how.

If you have a late payment or other negative marks on your credit report that are dragging down your otherwise good credit score, there is a solution. 

You can use a goodwill letter to fix your problem. 

Similar to other aspects of improving your personal finances, the best part is that you can get started on it today.

A late payment can do some serious damage when it comes time to apply for a new loan. 

[ DOWNLOAD: Trying to get your credit fixed fast? Download our Ultimate Goodwill Letter Template Pack so you can get creditors on your side, and off your record. ]

What Makes Up My Credit Score?

The reason payment history is so important is because it is the largest portion of most credit scoring formulas:

A late payment can damage your credit. What’s more, these derogatory marks can last on your credit score for 7-10 years. 

But if you write what’s called a goodwill letter to the company that reported the late payment, you may be able to get them to remove the late payment on your credit reports. 

This could help raise your credit score and:

  • help you get approved for loans you would have otherwise been denied for 
  • help you secure lower interest rates than you would have otherwise qualified for

What Is A Goodwill Letter?

A goodwill letter, sometimes called a forgiveness removal letter, is essentially a letter you write to your creditor that nicely asks for them to remove a negative mark from your credit reports. 

Writing a goodwill letter to a creditor is fairly easy and is definitely something you can do for DIY credit repair. 

While creditors don’t have to grant your request, writing a goodwill adjustment letter is simple and can’t hurt your credit. 

Keep in mind, if there is an erroneous late payment on your credit report, you should dispute it, not write a goodwill letter.

You’ll have the best chance of getting a negative mark removed with a goodwill letter if you’re currently in good standing with your creditor. 

It also helps to make timely payments for a long time after the missed payment. If you make late payments on a regular basis, creditors likely won’t be willing to remove the black marks from your credit report.

Does this sound too good to be true? 

It isn’t. 

Do Goodwill Letters Work? 

Yes, goodwill letters still work today. 

Many people have successfully had late payments and other issues removed from their credit reports even though they were reported properly by creditors.

Brynne Conroy had a collection account of $10,000 college debt removed from her credit report after she had written a letter explaining her situation — and that she had paid off the debt as soon as she was aware of it. 

“I explained to them what happened — that I was young and didn’t completely understand the process, and that as soon as I was aware of the debt I paid it off at a pretty fast clip,” she said. “I told them this is going to affect my ability to establish my own family.”

Many users on the MyFICO forums also report success getting negative information removed from their credit reports using goodwill letters with varying degrees of difficulty.

For example, one person had a 30-day late payment on an auto loan from FedChoice Federal Credit Union removed from their credit report. 

Another person had three delinquent late payments from their Synchrony Bank account removed from their credit reports after months of contacting customer service. 

Still need more proof that goodwill letters work?

Here’s an example of when a goodwill letter has worked for someone with 30, 60 and 90 day late payments on credit cards

It’s important to understand that just because it’s worked for some people, writing goodwill letters won’t have a 100% success rate. 

In fact, some creditors may refuse to make any changes based on your goodwill letter requests.

But writing a goodwill letter doesn’t take too much effort and has a possible huge payoff. 

It can’t hurt your financial situation — but it can make it better. 

Can Goodwill Letters Remove A Closed Account?

In addition to removing late payments, goodwill letters can be used in an attempt to remove a closed account.

Successfully getting closed accounts with negative payment history or collections activity removed from your credit report could potentially give your credit score a boost.

What if you don’t have any collections accounts or many missed payments? 

In these cases, removing a closed account may not seem like a big deal, especially if you have a perfect on-time payment history for that account.

Be careful when asking to have closed accounts removed from your report — the removal may have unintended consequences. 

Closed accounts factor into your credit score — as long as they’re on your credit report. In some cases, these closed accounts can actually lower your credit score.

In particular, closed accounts that weren’t established for long can drag down your average age of all of your credit accounts. 

While this isn’t a huge portion of your credit score — this part represents only 15% — it’s important to take it into account. 

After all, every point you can increase your credit score can help you get closer to getting approved for the loan you need. 

The Impact of a Goodwill Letter on Your Credit Score

Before you sit down to compose a goodwill letter, you’ll probably wonder if it’s worth your time and effort. Just how much can your credit score improve with a goodwill letter anyway? 

Think about it. 

While every late credit payment has a negative impact on your credit score, that impact varies based on when your payment was late, how late it was, and what your credit score is. 

Your FICO score weighs recent credit activity most heavily. This means if your late payment was made a long time ago, a goodwill letter will have less of an impact on your credit score than a payment you missed last month. 

Additionally, credit reporting agencies pay attention to how many days your payment was late by. 

Having a 60-day late payment “forgiven” is going to be more impactful than having a 30-day late payment removed. 

Finally, your credit history itself matters. Those with higher credit scores are penalized more severely for late payments — often experiencing 100-point drops for just one overdue payment. 

By contrast, someone with poor credit may only experience a 50-point drop for a similar slip-up.

While there are a number of different factors that go into your credit score, most people can expect their credit score to increase somewhere between 60-110 points just by having one late payment redacted from their credit report. 

With that in mind, the fifteen minutes it takes to compose a goodwill letter can be well worth your time and efforts.

How To Write A Goodwill Letter To Creditors

[ DOWNLOAD: Trying to get your credit fixed fast? Download our Ultimate Goodwill Letter Template Pack so you can get creditors on your side, and off your record. ]

When you sit down to write a letter to creditors to remove negative marks, it’s important to think about the person that will be reading your letter. 

Would you want to be yelled at or accused of wrecking a person’s credit? 

Rather than writing in an upset tone, do your best to write your goodwill forgiveness letter in a kind and respectful tone that would make a creditor want to forgive your past credit mistake.

When you write your letter, make sure you explain why they should remove your late payment from your credit reports. 

If you simply made a mistake, such as falling behind on a student debt bill, let the creditor know. 

Everyone makes an occasional mistake and the person reading your letter may sympathize with you. 

Whatever you write, don’t make excuses. 

Own up to the mistake. 

Show responsibility for your actions, but blatantly and directly ask the creditor to remove the late payment from your credit report.

Keep in mind, people reading your goodwill forgiveness removal letter have a job to do. While you want to get the creditor to sympathize with you and remove the black mark, they don’t have time to read long and detailed letters. 

For that reason, respect the reader and keep your letter short and sweet. You don’t need to write a multiple page letter to say “Sorry, I messed up”. 

Instead, a couple of paragraphs with the following details will probably work best:

  • The date
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your creditor’s name
  • Your creditor’s address
  • Your account number
  • The negative mark you’d like removed
  • Which credit bureaus the mark needs to be removed from

Goodwill Letter Samples To Help You Draft Your Letter

Here’s a sample goodwill letter asking a credit card company to remove a late payment from all three credit bureaus:

[Date]

[Creditor name]

[Creditor address]

Re: [Account number: XXXXXXXXX]

Dear [Creditor],

Thank you for taking a couple of minutes out of your busy day to read this letter. I’ve enjoyed my relationship with [Creditor name] since [Year account was opened]. 

I’m writing because I noticed your company reported a late payment in [Date of late payment] on my credit reports. I am requesting a goodwill adjustment to remove this late payment from my TransUnion, Experian and Equifax credit reports.

Upon review of my records, I realize that I did indeed miss the payment deadline. Unfortunately, [Explain why you missed the payment]. I take full responsibility for the mistake and have made sure it won’t happen again. As you can see from my payment history, I’ve made every payment on time both before and after the late payment.

I’m in the process of applying for a [Insert loan type here] and the negative impact of the late payment could result in a denial for my loan or a much higher interest rate that could cost me a significant amount of money. If you could make the goodwill adjustment requested, I believe it will significantly improve my chances of approval and save me unnecessary costs in the process.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

[Your signature]

[Your printed name]

[Your address]

Keep in mind, you should change this goodwill letter example to meet your particular needs. 

For instance, make sure to address the letter to a human by using a title of a position you think would read your letter, such as credit specialist, rather than to the impersonal “To whom it may concern”. 

Copying and pasting a goodwill letter probably won’t work because the people that deal with these requests have probably seen almost every goodwill letter available on the internet. 

Instead, be original for a better chance at getting your issue resolved. 

If you’re having trouble figuring out where to send your letter, you can start with the correspondence address listed for the account on your credit report. 

If you don’t get a response, try searching the creditor’s website for a correspondence address for the department your loan would belong to.

Here are a few more sample goodwill letters to help inspire you:

Start Writing Your Goodwill Letters Now

Writing a goodwill letter doesn’t guarantee a negative mark will be removed from your credit reports. 

But it’s a simple exercise that doesn’t take much time and doesn’t have any major downsides.

What’s more — having a goodwill letter can raise your score by as much as 110 points. 

This could help you save money on interest rates or get approved for a loan you’d otherwise be denied from taking out. 

(Plus, make it a priority to pay off any credit card “bad debt” as fast as possible.)

Don’t put it off. 

Start writing your goodwill letters today to fix your credit score fast.

Continued Learning

Now that you know how to write a goodwill letter, utilize these free resources to learn how to further boost your credit score:

Share

Written By

Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern is a freelance writer and founder of the personal finance blog Money Manifesto.

Read more about Lance

RELATED TRAINING

 in 

MONEY

article
How Much You (Really) Should Save Each Month 

Learn how much you need to save each month—if you want to get ahead. If you can’t save 20% of your income . . . you need to make more money!

How Much You (Really) Should Save Each Month 

Lance Cothern

Read Now
article
How To Get Help With Medical Debt: 6 Organizations That Will Pay Your Medical Bills

Learn how to get help paying down your medical debt — and how to avoid racking up unnecessary debt in the first place.

How To Get Help With Medical Debt: 6 Organizations That Will Pay Your Medical Bills

Lance Cothern

Read Now
article
Do You Have Too Much Student Debt? Use This Rule To Figure It Out

Learn how to calculate if you have too much student loan debt and how to permanently lower your student loan debt.

Do You Have Too Much Student Debt? Use This Rule To Figure It Out

Lance Cothern

Read Now
article
How To Do A Balance Transfer: The RIGHT Way

Learn how to do a balance transfer that lowers your interest rate, saves you money, boosts your credit score, and gets you out of debt fast.

How To Do A Balance Transfer: The RIGHT Way

Lance Cothern

Read Now
article
How to Insure Against Disability and Job Loss

The prospect of losing your job and your income is scary. So should you buy income protection insurance? Learn what is and whether it’s not right for you in this article.

How to Insure Against Disability and Job Loss

Lance Cothern

Read Now
article
The BIG Difference Between a Roth IRA & a Traditional IRA

IRAs are great ways to save for retirement. But this one difference will determine whether or you want a Traditional or a Roth IRA.

The BIG Difference Between a Roth IRA & a Traditional IRA

Lance Cothern

Read Now
article
10 Low-Cost Alternatives to Cable TV

Cutting your cable bill is an easy way to save tons of money. If you have home internet you already have access to on demand entertainment.

10 Low-Cost Alternatives to Cable TV

Lance Cothern

Read Now
article
When "Penny Hoarding" Goes Wrong ...

Saving money is great—but not if it costs you something more valuable: your time.

When "Penny Hoarding" Goes Wrong ...

Lance Cothern

Read Now
live talk
Replace Yourself, Retire with Purpose & Scheduling Priorities

Dustin sits with Best Selling Author and Certified Retirement Planner, Casey Weade. Detailing the spectrum of Retirement, Casey dives into how to set effective financial goals, the rule of 100, and how to retire with purpose.

Replace Yourself, Retire with Purpose & Scheduling Priorities

live talk
Student Debt, ‘On The Side’ Income & Investing Quickstart

Robert Farrington takes us through his journey from working at Target, to hitting his target investment goals. Helping millennials get out of student loan debt and accept personal accountability for their money, his expertise is shared to help build wealth through investing.

Student Debt, ‘On The Side’ Income & Investing Quickstart

live talk
Quit Like a Millionaire

Imagine retiring in your 30's and traveling the world on permanent vacation. Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung live this lifestyle and sit down with Dustin to explain how you can do the same. By going against the norm, investing their money, and quitting their jobs, tune in as they share helpful tips from their new book, Quit Like a Millionaire.

Quit Like a Millionaire

live talk
Do You Have A Powerful Money Mindset?

Dustin sits down with Military Money Expert, Lacey Langford, as she drills the importance of getting your personal finances up to military standards, without all of the yelling. An Army brat, financial expert, military wife, and veteran all rolled into one, Lacey is on a mission to help combat the fear around money.

Do You Have A Powerful Money Mindset?

More Cashflow, Less Stress

More Cashflow, Less Stress

How To Boost Your Monthly Income By "Going With the Flow" of Wealth

Dale Gibbons

Watch Now
live talk
Master Your Money in 7 Days (or Less)

Learn the world's SIMPLEST cashflow method, how to reduce personal and business debt, and the 3 critical skills every business owner should have.

Master Your Money in 7 Days (or Less)

Master Your Cashflow

Master Your Cashflow

How To Turn Financial Chaos into Financial Peace By Taking Control of Your Cashflow

Dale Gibbons

Watch Now
Financial Adulting

Financial Adulting

The 20-Something's Guide to Debt, Investing, and a Wealthy Life

Ellen & Micah Long

Watch Now
live talk
What’s Your Money Operating System®?

Hilary Hendershott shares what really causes financial trouble and how she was able to get out of debt as a financial advisor.

What’s Your Money Operating System®?

Zero Student Debt

Zero Student Debt

How To Make a Smart College Investment and Graduate Debt-Free

Ellen Long

Watch Now
live talk
A Candid Conversation with a Private Banker

Discover more about the controversial topics about money and banking your banker probably won't talk to you about. Also, find out where the finance world is headed.

A Candid Conversation with a Private Banker

The Early Retirement Blueprint

The Early Retirement Blueprint

How To Build Wealth Faster & Accelerate Your Retirement Timeline

Tom Wheelwright

Watch Now
Pay Less Taxes

Pay Less Taxes

How To Legally Reduce Your Taxes By Up To 40%

Tom Wheelwright

Watch Now
live talk
Getting Yourself In the Flow of Wealth

Justin Faerman on the flow of creating wealth and avoiding the massive sacrifices that our parents, programming, or society expect of us.

Getting Yourself In the Flow of Wealth

The Hidden Power of Life Insurance

The Hidden Power of Life Insurance

How To Leverage Life Insurance for Financial Security & Wealth Acceleration

Stuart Arakelian

Watch Now
Intro to Credit

Intro to Credit

How to Get Started, Boost Your Score, & Leverage Credit to Build Wealth

JP Servideo

Watch Now