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 little 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 should try simply asking your creditor to remove the late payment from your credit report.

No one is obligated to remove accurate information from your credit report, but companies are eager to satisfy you, their customer. It’s in their best interest to keep you as a customer.

When to Use a Goodwill Letter

There’s no guarantee that a goodwill letter will remove late payments from your credit report. After all, this is not a dispute with the credit bureaus where you’re challenging the validity of the item. But there are several situations where you’ll have the best chance of receiving a positive response from your creditor.

For example, if you tried to make your payment on time but encountered a technical error (especially if it happened on the creditor’s end), 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 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 simply missed a payment, but are otherwise a good customer making timely payments, you could still successfully request a 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 car, 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 account is no longer past due and if your debt hasn’t been passed on to a collection agency.

Just remember the above tips or use a form letter, or let a credit repair company do the work for you.

Sample Goodwill Letter

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

Sample Goodwill Letter

{Date}

{Creditor}
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 all my payments were routinely made in a timely manner. 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. Obviously, 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 important to get the attention of the lender by crafting an emotional plea. You need to make your goodwill letter as compelling as possible to get them to take favorable action.

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.