How to Use Goodwill Letters for Credit Reports
Having accounts eliminated from your report plays an important role in credit repair. You can use the dispute process for accounts that are past the credit reporting time limit or those that do not belong to you. For the most part, however, this process is challenging and does not result in success.
You can have a negative account removed by offering “pay for delete” or paying off the balance.
If you have cleared the debt already, this will not work as leverage. Your other option is a goodwill letter. A goodwill letter, just as the name suggests, is one that you address to your creditors and ask them to remove negative accounts from your report.
They are not under any obligation to remove correct information, but some will not mind doing it, especially if your credit history is good and you only have several late payments. Keep your goodwill letter simple and short.
Tell them the account you want removed, talk of the payments you have made on time and explain briefly why you missed payments. Ask them to update your report as a courtesy. Do not blame or accuse the creditor and use a polite, pleasant tone.
Send the letter as an email or to the address of the creditor—usually indicated on the credit report or recent billing statements. If you cannot find an address on your credit report or they do not reply in 7-10 business days, find another address on their website.
A creditor may remove the account and update your report when they receive your goodwill letter. On the other hand, they may tell you that they are not legally allowed to remove the information. Look at myFICO forums for successful goodwill letters.
Instead of explicitly asking the creditor to delete negative information, they ask for a “goodwill adjustment”. Asking a creditor to remove information may violate their agreement with credit bureaus. Some people prefer to make a call instead of writing a letter.
However, the calls are answered by customer service representatives. They do not have any authority to update your credit report. Try to reach someone at a higher position.
Sample goodwill letter
Here’s a template goodwill letter for missed payments on a credit card or lender:
Account Number: [your account number]
To Whom It May Concern:
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I’m writing because I noticed that my most recent credit report contains [a late payment/payments] reported on [date/dates] for my [name of account] account.
I want you to know that I understand my financial obligations, and if it weren’t for [circumstance that caused you to miss a payment], I’d have an excellent repayment record. I made a mistake in falling behind, but since then, [description of how your circumstances have changed or how you’ve improved your money management]. Since then, I’ve had a spotless record of on-time payments.
I’m planning to apply for [a mortgage/auto loan/etc.], and it’s come to my attention that the missed payment on my record could hurt my ability to qualify. I truly believe that it doesn’t reflect my creditworthiness and commitment to repaying my debts. It would help me immensely if you could give me a second chance and make a goodwill adjustment to remove the late [payment/payments] on [date/dates].
Thank you for your consideration, and I hope you’ll approve my request.