How to Write a Goodwill Letter (Plus Free Template)

Often, when money and debt are involved, tensions run high, and we forget that ultimately we’re just dealing with people like us.

lady crossing her fingers

One of the best ways to improve your credit score is by simply explaining your situation and asking for a bit of goodwill by writing a goodwill letter.

What is a Goodwill Letter?

Let’s say you have a negative mark on a credit report with an account that has not gone to a collection agency. If the missed payment is now up-to-date, you can ask your creditor to contact the three credit bureaus to remove the late payment from your credit report.

Creditors are not obligated to remove accurate information from your credit report, but companies are eager to satisfy you, their customer. Therefore, it’s in their best interest to keep you as a customer.

Do goodwill letters work?

Absolutely. Many people have successfully used goodwill letters to remove late payments and other negative items from their credit reports. However, there’s no guarantee that a goodwill letter will remove late payments from your credit report.

In fact, some banks have stated publicly that they ignore goodwill letters. For example, Bank of America says on their website that they’re “required to report complete and accurate information” so they won’t honor requests for goodwill adjustments.

If your bank feels the same way, maybe it’s time to switch to a bank that values your business more? Nevertheless, you have nothing to lose by writing goodwill letters except a few minutes of your time.

When to Use a Goodwill Letter

There are several situations where you’ll have the best chance of receiving a positive response from your creditor.

For example, suppose you tried to make your payment on time but encountered a technical error (especially if it happened on the creditor’s end). In that case, you’re a good candidate for a goodwill adjustment. Maybe their website was down, or the phone line was busy for an unreasonably long time.

You can also try a goodwill forgiveness removal letter if your autopay didn’t work for some reason. Even if your bank account had insufficient funds, you could certainly ask and just explain why your funds were low. Perhaps a check took longer to deposit than you expected, or you had an emergency expense pop up.

Finally, even if you missed a payment but are otherwise a good customer making timely payments, you could still successfully request removal through the goodwill letter.

Ultimately, you’re still a paying customer. Many creditors appreciate the fact that they depend on people like you to keep their businesses running.

How to Write a Goodwill Letter

When writing a goodwill letter requesting a negative mark be removed, keep a few things in mind.

  1. Be courteous. Put yourself in the company’s position and ask how you would like to be treated. Remember that the company has provided you with a service and thank them for that.
  2. Acknowledge your fault in the late payments and explain the circumstances that prevented you from making those payments.
  3. If there is a specific reason that you need a good credit score, such as attempting to get a loan for a house or a much-needed auto loan, include it.
  4. Again, be friendly. Thank them for their time and offer to answer any questions they have.

Using goodwill letters, many people have been able to get late payments, missed payments, or other negative marks removed from their credit reports. You have a strong chance of doing the same if your credit account is no longer past due and if your debt hasn’t been passed on to a collection agency.

Below is a free goodwill letter template designed to remove late payments from your credit report.

Goodwill Letter Template

Note: This goodwill letter template does not have to be used for a credit card issuer. You can use it for any negative credit accounts on your credit report. However, you may want to dispute the account with the credit bureaus before attempting a goodwill letter.

Sample Goodwill Letter Template


Attn: {Company}
{Company Address}

Re: {Account Number}

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing concerning my experience with {company name} that is both a grateful “thank-you” and a pressing request concerning my account.

I received my {credit card issuer} credit card on {date you received card} and took pride in the fact that I routinely made all my payments on time. Unfortunately, in {whenever late payment was made}, I {reason you were late}.

I did use what little vacation and sick time I had to cover our living expenses but needless to say, this left us experiencing financial hardship. Concessions had to be made, and regretfully, this led to a late payment on my credit report.

Since that incident, I have learned the essential organizational and financial management skills I needed at that point, and my payment history from {date} reflects that. I wish to thank you for your renewed confidence in me and for giving me a second chance at a positive relationship with {creditor}, one that I am determined to keep untarnished.

My wife and I are about to begin the process of purchasing a new home. It has come to my attention that the late payment on my credit report from {creditor} may prevent me from taking full advantage of the best interest rates available.

Since that late payment does not reflect my current status with your company, I’m requesting that you please give me a second chance at a positive credit history by revising those tradelines. I sincerely hope that there is redemption at {creditor}, and I would like to ask for such consideration.

If any additional documentation would assist in reaching a positive outcome, please feel free to contact me.

I thank you again for the time you have spent reading this correspondence.

Very hopefully yours,

{Your name}

What makes a convincing goodwill letter?

When receiving a goodwill letter, your creditor will consider how long you’ve been a customer. If you’ve had a long relationship and have otherwise generally had a positive payment history, your chances are better than being a new customer or having numerous late payments.

You’re also more likely to have the late payment removed from your credit report if it happened a while ago. That’s because you’ve had time to prove that it was just a one-time occurrence rather than an ongoing financial issue.

If you’ve already requested a goodwill adjustment from the same creditor, particularly within the last two years, they’re less likely to remove the late payment.

It’s essential to get the lender’s attention by crafting an emotional plea. You need to make your goodwill letter as compelling as possible to get them to take favorable action.

Good Reasons for Writing a Goodwill Letter

Here are some other good reasons for missed payments that you can include in your goodwill adjustment letter.

Getting Laid Off

If you’ve been laid off from your job and it has caused financial stress for you, that’s something you may want to include in your letter.

Your letter will be even more convincing if you’re able to mention any dependents you had to take care of during the hard times you encountered.

A Recent Divorce

If you’ve recently gone through a divorce, you know it can be very stressful. It can also have a negative impact on your financial situation. This is something you may want to include in your letter if it affected your ability to pay your bills.

A Birth or Death in the Family

These are both major life events that can come with financial hardship. And sometimes they can happen unexpectedly. Creditors are people too and they can certainly understand what you’ve gone through.

A Recent Illness

If you or a loved one has recently been hospitalized, you know how time-consuming and financially draining it can be. Medical bills can throw off your budget and make it hard to meet your financial obligations. This is something you can mention in your letter if you’ve experienced it.

A Recent Move

Have you recently moved? Whether you’ve moved across town or across the country, you know that moving can be overwhelming. Your mail may not have been forwarded to your new address. This is something you can explain in your letter to your creditors.

After You Send a Goodwill Letter

Once your goodwill letter is sent in the mail, there’s nothing left to do but wait. You may hear back from your creditor in as little as one to two weeks, which is an optimal situation. However, it may take longer than that, and some may never respond.

You can always call customer service to ask about the status of your request after a few weeks of waiting. You can determine how strong your case is by reviewing a few simple points about your account.

If you’re not having any luck with goodwill letters or if you have numerous negative items on your credit reports, contact one of our top-rated credit repair companies for help. Credit repair services like Lexington Law, have many years of experience, and have helped millions of clients raise their credit scores by removing negative items from their credit reports.