Sample ‘Pay For Delete’ Letters

woman writing a letter

What is a ‘Pay For Delete’ Letter?

Let’s say you learn you have bad credit because of negative information on your credit report due to an unpaid debt. One of your best options is to ask a debt collector to remove the negative mark from your credit report in exchange for paying some or all of the debt. This practice is called ‘Pay for Delete’ or ‘Pay for Deletion,’ and it’s a useful method to settle your debts.

Getting the negative information removed from your credit report will ultimately improve your credit score. However, it’s worth noting that paid collection accounts are already ignored by the newer credit scoring models like Fico 9 and VantageScore 3.0.

Writing a pay for delete letter is a good option because it’s a relatively uncomplicated process. Debt collectors typically buy your debt for only pennies on the dollar; less than ten cents for recent debts. So, if they can make 25 cents on the dollar, they’ve made money.

Pay For Delete in 3 Easy Steps

There are three steps to having a debt collector remove your collection account using a pay for delete letter:

  1. Find out which debt collector owns the debt. Most likely, they will contact you. If not, the credit bureau should list it on your credit report. Otherwise, contact the organization that originally gave you services or loaned you money; they should have a record on file.
  2. Write the collection agency a pay for delete letter. Think of it as a simple business deal: if you pay some or all of the debt they claim you owe them, they will remove the negative item from your credit reports. Ask for the agreement in writing. You can find some sample pay for delete letters below. Remember, these are only sample letters. It’s always best to use your own words.
  3. When the creditor agrees in writing, keep the letter on file and pay the agreed amount.

If your new credit report still has the negative mark, you need to contact the collection agency to remind them of your bargain. In the unlikely event that doesn’t work, you should contact a lawyer or a credit repair company.

How does a pay for delete letter work?

First of all, it is important to note that offering to pay an outstanding debt to get a collection account or judgment removed from your credit report doesn’t mean you are conceding the debt is yours.

A pay for delete letter lets a collector know you are open to paying off a debt that the collection agency says you owe.

In exchange, you’re asking for a signed contract indicating they will remove offending negative items such as a credit card collection or debt judgment from your credit report.

Pay for Delete Letter Success

The collection agency is under no obligation to agree to your terms. Most creditors will tell you that it’s impossible because they don’t want to have to go through the hassle of updating their report to the credit reporting agencies.

Collection agencies like AFNI or Alliance One only want to make money. If you stick to your guns, you will probably be able to talk to someone who will know what a pay for delete agreement is. They might be willing to work with you, especially if it means they’re going to get some money.

Keep in mind, while you’re working on the pay for delete process, there might be other legal deadlines to consider, such as the 30-day limit for debt validation.

You will want to change the templates below to fit your situation. If this seems complicated, and in many cases, it is, consider hiring a credit repair company to take the hassle out of the process. They can help you improve your credit score by disputing inaccurate items on your credit reports.

Tips for Sending Your Pay for Delete Letter

  1. It’s not worth it to send a pay for delete letter for an old debt that’s not listed on your credit report. The same is true for an item that will fall off your credit report within a couple of years. When the debt is that old, it no will longer impact your credit score. It’s usually best to leave it alone and let it fall off.
  2. Make sure you keep a copy of the letter for your records. Get in a habit of doing this for any correspondence with collection agencies, creditors, and credit bureaus.
  3. Send your pay for delete letter and follow-up payment via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested. That way you will always have proof that your pay for delete letter and payment were received.

Sample Pay For Delete Letter Template 1

Sample Pay For Delete Letter Template 1

{Account Number: XXXXXXXXXXX}
{Original Creditor: (creditor name)}
{Amount as Listed on Credit Report: $XXXX.XX}

To Whom It May Concern:

In reference to the above-listed account, I am writing this letter to offer you the opportunity to settle the alleged amount owed to our mutual benefit. Please note that I do not acknowledge any liability for this debt in any form, and I retain my right to request full and complete debt validation from your company.

However, I am willing to pay off a portion of this account as a show of goodwill under the following conditions:

  • Your company will delete all references to this account from my credit report at the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).
  • You will not list this debt as a “settled account.”
  • Your company will accept this payment to satisfy the debt in full.
  • Your company will not attempt to sell or transfer this debt to another creditor.
  • You will make no mention of this agreement to outside third parties.

If you agree to these terms, I will:

  • Pay the amount of $XXX.XX via money order or certified cashier’s check (aim for around 40% to 50% of the debt for newer accounts, and 30% to 40% of the debt for older accounts.)

Please understand that this is not a renewed promise to pay. This is a restricted settlement offer and you must agree to the terms above in order for payment to be made. I require your written agreement to these terms on company letterhead and signed by a representative who is authorized to enter into such agreements.

The terms of this offer will expire after 30 days. I look forward to your prompt and positive response.


{Your Name – typed not signed}

Sample Pay For Delete Letter Template 2

Sample Pay For Delete Letter Template 2

{Original Creditor Name}
{Creditor Address}
{Creditor Phone Number}

{Account Number: XXXXX}
{Listed Amount Due: $X,XXX.XX}

Dear {Original Creditor Name}:

In regards to the above-listed account, it has been brought to my attention that you claim that I owe the listed amount shown above. While I accept no responsibility for ownership of this debt, I’m willing to compromise and offer a significant settlement amount in exchange for your agreement to the following:

  1. Your agreement to the full and complete deletion of any past-due references pertaining to this account from all credit bureaus to which you report.
  2. Your agreement that this payment constitutes a “paid in full” account, and not a “paid collection” or “settled account.”
  3. Your agreement that you will not attempt to sell or reassign the rights to this account to another third-party debt collection agency after payment has been received.

While I’m well aware that your purpose is to collect debts that you have obtained from original creditors, I am also aware that you are under no obligation to report any of these accounts to the credit bureaus.

That being said, your full cooperation in deleting this account in exchange for payment is appreciated.

When I receive signed documentation from your authorized representative on company letterhead stating that you agree to the terms above, I agree to pay $XXX.XX via certified funds – either cashier’s check or money order. This payment will be sent to you via priority mail as soon as I receive the signed agreement.

Please be aware, that this is not a renewed promise to pay. I make no claim of responsibility for this debt, and I make no statement that I believe that this debt is valid or owed by me.

In the event that you do not agree with the resolution terms I have offered above, I will move forward with my rights to request a full and complete verification and validation of this debt.

I look forward to a timely resolution of this matter.


{Your Name (please type, do not sign any correspondence you send to a debt collector)}

What should you do if a pay for delete letter is rejected?

Unfortunately, pay for delete letters don’t always work. Sometimes a collection agency will refuse to cooperate. However, if your pay for delete letter is rejected, you still have other options to get a collection account removed from your credit report.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows you to dispute a collection account with the credit bureaus. They will then open an investigation with the collection agency. If the collection agency can not provide proof that the account is accurate or doesn’t reply within 30 days, the collection account must be removed from your credit report.

Another option is debt validation. You can send the debt collection agency a debt validation letter. If they can not validate the debt, they must remove the negative information from your credit report.

How to Get Help with Pay for Delete Agreements

A pay for delete letter is just one tool that you can use to remove negative items from your credit report and improve your credit score. As mentioned above, there are several other tools you can use such as a credit dispute letter or debt validation letter. Knowing how and when to use each tool can take some time to learn.

If you would prefer to let a professional credit repair company help you remove collections and other negative items for a small monthly fee, we highly recommend contacting Lexington Law. They have over 28 years of experience and have helped millions of clients deal with creditors and collection agencies.

They specialize in removing negative items from clients’ credit reports. Call them at (800) 220-0084 for a free credit consultation to see how they can help you.