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]