What is a goodwill letter?

What Is A Goodwill Letter?

An excellent credit score is like the love of your life; it’s hard to win back, and you don’t really know what you have until it’s gone. Letters have been used for centuries to win lovers back and beg for forgiveness, so maybe one can help you with your credit score today.

Goodwill letters are one way to scrub out the stain on your credit report of a missed payment. If you miss one of your bill payments for any credit account you have open, your credit score can take a severe hit.

Your credit report keeps track of the relationships you’ve had with creditors. Any time you’ve used a credit card, taken out a loan, or ran a credit check, it’s been recorded on your credit report. 

Credit reports are what tell creditors whether or not you’re a responsible borrower. Rather than reading through your entire credit history, potential creditors tend only to concern themselves with one number; your credit score.

Your credit score is calculated based on various factors pertaining to your experiences with credit. There are many different credit scoring models, but all of them consider your credit utilization, credit mix, length of credit history, credit applications, and most importantly, your on-time payment history.

Generally speaking, your on-time payment history accounts for about 35% of your credit score. Given the significance of your on-time payment history, if you’re going to prioritize one thing, it should be paying all of your bills on time. 

The negative mark of a missed payment can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. There aren’t many ways to come back from a missed payment, but one that’s often overlooked is a goodwill adjustment letter.

A goodwill letter is one way to remove late payments from your credit report. Goodwill letters can truly be life-changing if successful.

women contemplating

What Is A Goodwill Letter?

A goodwill letter is a letter that you write to a creditor in hopes that they’ll forgive your missed payment. Your creditor is the only one who can contact the credit bureaus and have your missed payment removed from your credit report.

If your letter wins over the heart of your creditor and your mistake is removed, you can see a pretty significant boost to your credit score. Going from a fair to good credit score or good to excellent credit score can help you unlock better credit opportunities, lower interest rates, and help you make some big financial moves.

So, how do you write a goodwill letter that gets the job done?

Your Goodwill Letter Template

What's in a Goodwill Letter?


To start off your letter, you should introduce yourself and state that you’re seeking a goodwill removal. You’ll want to give the recipient as much information as you can. By listing pertinent details, you’re making it easier for your creditor to find records of your relationship and make adjustments accordingly. 

Hand over helpful details like your account number, the amount of your missed payment, and any dates that could help clarify your history.


Next, you’ll want to give a brief synopsis of the situation you were in that prevented you from making your payments on time. Some humility and vulnerability are appropriate here. If you were navigating through student loans or the pandemic put a damper on your finances, a creditor is much more likely to sympathize with you. 


You can also garner sympathy by detailing how a late payment removal would change your life. 

Close out your letter by telling the creditor how greatly their help could impact your life. A repaired credit score might help you secure the mortgage loan you need to start raising a family, or it can help you send your little sister to college. More often than not, people understand the barriers to achieving big financial goals and don’t want to be one of them.

Make it clear to the creditor that you’ve learned from your mistake and are trying to move on. Add in a thank you for their understanding and the time they’re taking out of their day.

A goodwill credit letter isn’t always successful, but if it persuades your creditor, it can greatly impact your credit score. Credit repair is difficult and often requires patience, but a goodwill deletion can go a long way. Even if you don’t think a goodwill letter will work, take your chances; nothing bad can come from trying.

Women on bed on laptop

Next Steps

After sending a goodwill letter, you might hear back from your creditor, or you might not, even if they remove the late payment. Credit reports typically update every 30 to 45 days, so keep an eye on your credit report for any changes.

As your experiences have taught you, missing a payment isn’t something you want to let happen again. You can make two basic changes to ensure you’re not in this situation again; consolidate your personal finances and set up automatic payments.

Consolidating your finances is about getting rid of unnecessary bills and keeping a closer eye on your financial standing. Putting all of your subscriptions onto one card or closing accounts that aren’t serving you can help you avoid a future missed payment report.

Automatic payments are life-savers, or better yet – credit savers. If your finances aren’t all in one place, keeping track of your bills can get complicated. You should put your reoccurring bills on automatic payment schedules if you can. An automated payment can save your credit score, and if it’s attached to your Extra debit card, it can even help you build credit.

If you stay on top of every component that makes for an excellent credit score, you’ll never have to resolve another negative item on your credit report.

Stay in the loop