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 requesting that they remove a blemish on your credit report. Here’s the catch: while you were missing payments, you must have been going through some trying personal circumstances or have some worthy excuse.
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.
Before I wrote my own goodwill letter, 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. I figured writing a goodwill letter couldn’t hurt.
Good news! Not only did it not hurt–it worked!
They sent me a return letter confirming that they’d remove the item. I checked my credit report, and it’s no longer on there.
Here’s how to get your credit report for free.
Goodwill Letter Template
Before I wrote the letter, I did a little bit of research. I picked and chose my favorite parts of each example I saw, and created a template. I thought I’d share it with you today since it was successful 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 your personal situation. 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]
Sample Goodwill Letter
Here’s an example with some Jane Doe data plugged in. Yours should not be italicized.
123 Main Street
Middleof, Kansas 12345
April 6, 2017
Dear Sir or Madam:
This letter is in reference to a paid collection under account number 948312909832489.
Five hundred seventy-five dollars was owed on my account due October 8, 2016. It was paid in full on November 12, 2016—just over 30 days later. On October 6th of the same year, we had an electrical fire and my house burned down.
In the ensuing chaos, I struggled to keep on top of due dates as we found a new place to live and replaced all our worldly possessions while dealing cooperatively with our renters’ insurance company. I deeply regret that I was so late with my payment, as I am financially responsible and have never been late with a payment since we started our business relationship. My family and I are considering purchasing a new home, but are worried about applying for credit now that this new negative line item is included. I am kindly hoping that Western Pony Bank will consider removing this collection from my credit report as a gesture of goodwill. This gesture would merit our upmost gratitude as we rebuild our lives.
This article originally went live on July 6, 2012.
Interesting! I didn’t even know these are possible. I don’t have any blemishes on my credit report that I know of, but I’d definitely try this if I did!
Neither did I! Was so glad Personally Find Nancys wrote about it so I could try it out.
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.
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.
I had no idea you could do this, what a great idea. I’m sure this bit of info will help quite a few people.
I hope so!
I have never heard about goodwill letters before. What a great way to improve your credit history a bit. 🙂
Absolutely. I was thrilled to find out that while they don’t always work, sometimes they do.
this is awesome
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.
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.
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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Thanks for the tip… I didn’t even know that was a thing.