How to Write a Goodwill Letter


I first heard of goodwill letters on Personal Find Nancys, a blog that sadly no longer exists.  Essentially,  a goodwill letter is something you write to a past creditor you’ve had requesting that they remove a blemish on your credit report due to trying personal circumstances you were going through at the time of your missed payment(s).  Blemishes will be removed after seven years of the report date regardless, but if that’s too long for you to wait, writing one of these letters is a good way to attempt fixing the problem fast.

I had a serious blemish on my report.  When I first started going to school, there was some confusion about who was paying.  It resulted in me unknowingly defaulting on a payment plan.  As soon as I was aware the money was due under my name, I paid it off.  But apparently that didn’t keep it from creeping up on my credit report.
So I tried writing a goodwill letter.  Good news!  It worked.  I’ll have to check my credit report next time I’m able to (here’s a post about getting your credit report for free sans the crazy asterisks) just to make sure that everything went through the way the school is saying it did.
Before I wrote the letter, I did a little bit of research.  I picked and chose my favorite parts of each example I saw.  So here is a template of what worked for me.  It’s not guaranteed to work, but it’s worth the cost of a stamp to try!  Keep in mind that you may need to change it up a little depending on what your personal situation is.  If you fail the first time, you can keep trying every six months.
[Your full first and last name]
[Your Address Line 1]
[Your Address Line 2]
[Your phone number]
[Name of month Day#, Year]
Dear Sir or Madam:
This letter is in reference to a paid collection under account number [your account number here].
[State how much the debt was, when it was due, and when you paid it in full.  Point out if you paid it off quickly.]  [State the hardship you were going through and why it kept you from paying your debt.]
[Restate what kept you from paying the debt in a summation/transition.]  [State your regret that you did not pay it on time, mentioning that you strive to be financially responsible and honor all debts.]  [State that this debt, recorded on your credit report, is causing you financial hardship.]  [If the hardship is specific, briefly outline it here.]  I am kindly hoping that [insert creditor here] will consider removing this collection from my credit report as a gesture of goodwill.  [State how much it would mean to you and the opportunities that would open to you if the collection were removed in a professional manner.]  
[leave room to sign your name in cursive here]
[your name printed]
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12 thoughts on “How to Write a Goodwill Letter

  1. Modest Money

    I didn’t know you could do this either. I figured that once something bad was on your credit history, only time and better financial habits could overcome it. It’s at least worth a try though, especially if that blip is actually causing you problems.

    1. femmefrugality

      Time and better financial habits are the most reliable paths to fixing your credit report. But this is good news for those who have gone through an unusual circumstance as I did, for sure.

  2. Shilpan

    Nice. This shows that if you review your credit report regularly and inform creditor(s) if you find a genuine issue, odds are in your favor. Thanks for sharing.

  3. My University Money

    This is a great resource FF! Thanks for the original tip. I don’t think I have any blemishes at the moment, but I can see how that would make a huge difference to a credit score, which could potentially save people a lot of money.

  4. Tiffany @ Don't Waste the Crumbs

    Nice post! I’ve never been in the position to write one of these so haven’t really given it much thought. Just goes to show though how important it is to keep up with what our report says. I don’t think I haven’t anything out of place, but I also haven’t checked in a few years and a lot can happen! I may be using your template pretty soon – great job on a successful letter!


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