Sending a Goodwill Letter to Creditors and the Credit Bureaus: Templates, Tips, and Removing Derogatory Items
Goodwill letters, also called forgiveness letters, can be used for a wide variety of situations where you had a missed payment or debt that you paid off. Essentially, you are appealing to your creditor to remove a black mark from your credit report once you are back in good standing. It’s important to know before writing the letter that this is completely up to the creditor’s discretion. They don’t have to remove the entry, hence this being a “goodwill” letter.
You will need to make sure you customize the following template for your situation as there are an untold number of reasons you might have missed a payment but had your situation later improve.
Another point to consider: Unlike a letter disputing an entry on your credit report, you were in the wrong. This isn’t a mistake the lender made. The lender owes you nothing, but you can appeal to their charitable side.
With all this in mind, let’s look at a sample template, as well as tips for writing and sending the letter.
Table of Contents
- 1 Goodwill Letter Sample
- 2 Downloadable Goodwill or Credit Forgiveness Letter Templates
- 3 Goodwill Letter Requests: When to Ask for Forgiveness
- 4 Consult a Credit Repair Company to Improve Your Credit Score
Goodwill Letter Sample
[Your City, State, Zip Code]
[Your Account Number]
To Whom It May Concern:
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I recently noticed that my credit report contains a late payment reported on [date of credit report] for my [Name of creditor] account.
I am fully aware I had financial obligations to you. Unfortunately, due to [reason you missed a payment], I made a mistake in falling behind. If not for this, I would have an excellent payment record. Since then, [reason your situation improved]. As a result, I have continued to make payments on time.
I’m now planning to apply for [a mortgage/auto loan/etc.], but the missed payment on my record could hurt my ability to qualify for the best rates. I take pride in my ability to pay back my debts, and this one black mark does not reflect my creditworthiness. It would help me immensely if you could make a goodwill adjustment to remove the late payment from my record, as it does not reflect my current ability to pay. I’m hoping you are willing to give me a second chance at a positive credit rating given my financial status and renewed good standing with my account.
Thank you for your time and any consideration you give to my situation.
Downloadable Goodwill or Credit Forgiveness Letter Templates
Goodwill Letter Requests: When to Ask for Forgiveness
To reiterate, a goodwill deletion is completely at the creditor’s discretion. Using threatening language, or accusing them of harming your chances of a loan is not a good idea. On the other end of the spectrum, begging will not endear you to the creditor, either.
Be polite, ask nicely, and explicitly ask for the courtesy of having the item removed from your report. Imagine you were receiving the letter, and whether you would want to help someone in your position. Be appreciative of any help they might be willing to offer, and take responsibility for any mistakes you made. Keep the letter short, simple and to the point; don’t tell a sob story and go overboard in details.
Remove Late Payments From Credit Report
This is the most common reason people send in a goodwill letter, and has the highest chance of success. You want to send in a goodwill deletion letter after your financial situation has improved. It’s best if you have regularly made payments on time since your hardship ended.
You also have a good chance of removal if the late payment wasn’t your fault, such as a technical error. For example: if your autopay stopped working due to insufficient funds in the account, or the payment website and phone lines were down for an extended period of time.
In these cases, you are a customer who pays on time, but had a mishap. Companies tend to want to keep good customers around, so they may be willing to help you out in return for your continued patronage.
Remove Paid Collections From Credit Report
A paid collection looks much better than an unpaid debt on a credit report, but still has a negative impact on your score. In this case, contact the collections agency and ask them to remove the paid collection from your credit report. This is less likely than getting a one-off late payment removed, and chances are only the paid collection, not the late payments, will be taken off, if the collections agency is willing to remove anything at all.
Sending Goodwill Letters to Your Creditor or Lender
You usually need to start by reaching out to the holder of the account to ask for the goodwill deletion or late payment forgiveness; if the account is in collections, then you’ll need to negotiate the balance or pay it in full. In this case, before a goodwill letter, you will need to send a Pay for Delete letter and hope the creditor or lender accepts your offer.
Once your Pay for Delete offer has been accepted and you have paid the collections agency, if there are still entries related to the entry you paid to remove, consider sending a goodwill delete letter.
Sending Goodwill Letters to the Credit Bureaus
If your lender or creditor has agreed to forgive a late payment or renegotiate a delinquent account, then you’ll need to send a letter to the bureaus notifying them that the negative mark should no longer be included on your credit reports. Include copies of your letters to and from your creditor is willing to remove to mark.
Consult a Credit Repair Company to Improve Your Credit Score
A goodwill letter is longshot at the best of times, an attempt to convince your lender that they should help you. If you want a professional to do this on your behalf, and possibly increase the chances of a goodwill deletion, consider hiring a credit repair service. They will write letters on your behalf to your creditors and follow up with the three credit bureaus. While there’s no guarantee that a credit repair company will secure the forgiveness of your creditor, they do have experience corresponding with lenders and know how to make the most of a letter.
Need more writing tips or other letter templates? Visit our credit and collections letter template resource center.
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A former newspaper journalist, Cole spends his free time reading, writing, playing video games, watching movies, and learning about every subject under the sun. He lives with his wife and daughter in Idaho. Follow Cole on Twitter: @ColeMayer42
This post was updated February 28, 2019. It was originally published April 13, 2018.