A goodwill letter is a letter that you send asking a credit reporting agency to remove an account of a late payment on your credit report. Credit reporting agencies are required to provide accurate reports, but they do not have to report everything. A goodwill letter asks the reporting agency to remove the damaging account from your report, not to change it or to be dishonest. In the letter, you should explain the reasons why you made the late payment, and the surrounding circumstances. Essentially, you’re appealing to the credit card company’s better nature–a strategy which can be surprisingly successful.
If you’ve made some poor financial decisions that have caused a dip, whether large or small, in your credit score, all hope is not lost. One option available to you that can help you improve your score is to write a goodwill letter to your creditor.
What is a Goodwill Letter?
A goodwill letter is a letter to a creditor asking for empathy based on your situation. By taking responsibility for your mistake and ensuring a clean record going forward, you may ask a credit reporting agency to remove an account of a late payment on your credit report. It’s important to acknowledge that a goodwill letter asks the reporting agency to remove the damaging account from your report, not to change it or to be dishonest.Credit reporting agencies are required to provide accurate reports, but they do not have to report everything. It is at the discrepancy of the individual agency what they will report.
When Should You Send A Goodwill Letter?
People who’ve dealt with especially trying circumstances often use goodwill letters to explain why they’ve made a late payment. It should be noted that these letters are about payments that were made late, not about payments that weren’t made at all.
If a family emergency, natural disaster, loss of job, illness, death, or major life event made it difficult for you to make payments on time, you might want to consider writing a goodwill letter to explain the circumstances and ask for empathy from the credit reporting agencies.
What Should You Include In A Goodwill Letter?
If you’re writing a goodwill letter, include the following:
- Specific account information so it will be easy for them to find the item you are writing about
- A brief, but detailed explanation of the situation that resulted in your late payment
- An acknowledgment of your mistakes and responsibility
- A polite request for a “goodwill adjustment” of the reporting on your account
Here is a sample goodwill letter to give you a better idea of the ideal formatting:
Goodwill Letter Template
[Your account number]
To whom it may concern,
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I am writing this letter after discovering that a late payment on loan [X] was reported on [date] on my credit report.
During that time, I experienced a change in employment, while also discovering that my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Because of the shift in my finances as well as my new financial obligation to help care for my mother, I neglected my own financial obligations, for which I take full responsibility.
Prior to that late payment, I maintained a good record of making on-time payments, and all payments since have also been timely. I can assure you that this negative mark on my credit does not reflect my ability to make timely payments or my financial responsibility. I am asking that, in light of my circumstances and otherwise positive repayment record, you remove this negative item from my credit history. I know that it is at your company’s discretion to choose which items to report, so I kindly ask that my request be granted to allow me to secure future financing and continue to improve my credit score.
I appreciate your kind consideration and am hopeful my request will be granted.
Once your letter is customized to your situation, look up the information to mail or fax the letter to the appropriate company.
If you aren’t comfortable writing this letter on your own, or if you’d like to work with an experienced professional, consult a lawyer or credit repair agency. A professional will know how to organize the letter, where to send it, and what to ask for. To find out more about goodwill letters, call Lexington Law at 1-855-405-6418 for a free consultation!