In this article, we’re going to discuss what a “Goodwill Adjustment Letter” is and how it will help you to negotiate the removal of late payments from your credit report.
A Goodwill letter is a written explanation to your creditor for negotiating the removal of a late payment on a delinquent credit account. It can be used for your student loan, mortgage, credit cards, a line of credit, an auto loan, or even a fixed loan. It will also work if the account/loan is with a big bank like Bank Of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, Capital One, or Discover. And many smaller community banks or Credit Unions.
Below, we’ll review how Goodwill Letters work and what information it needs to contain to be effective.
Lastly, I show you an example of an actual Goodwill Letter that you can customize for your own unique situation.
How Goodwill Adjustment Letters Work
A goodwill letter is a written request to a creditor/lender for the removal of a late payment from your account. If the lender is willing to work with you and they honor the request, they will report an update to the credit bureaus which will clear the negative mark from your credit record.
With the credit account in good standing, your credit score will go up again. The entire process can take anywhere from 15 to 60 days. Unfortunately, it does not happen overnight.
What Should A Goodwill Letter Contain?
The beautiful thing about writing to your lender (instead of calling on the phone) is that you can control what you’re going to say. You can take your time presenting a statement of facts, which is a significant advantage over giving them a phone call.
A well-written letter will be taken seriously by your lender. Follow the below tips for writing an effective letter.
A strong goodwill letter will have the following:
- Your name, address, and the date.
- The collector’s name/address, with the account number.
- It will ask the creditor to empathize with you.
- Its written in a professional style that is pleasant and courteous.
- It shows that you take responsibility for your missed payments.
- It demonstrates that you’ll stay current on your bills in the future.
- It helps if you can point to a particular circumstance (for example, you lost your job but have since found a new one) that caused you to slip, and you can show a recent track record of on-time payments.
- And most of all, keep it short and sweet!
A Goodwill Adjust Letter Sample Template
the beginning of the sample letter template
Account Number: [your account number]
[collector/lender name and address]
To Whom It May Concern,
I hope you’re having a terrific day. I’m writing to you because of the following late payments that recently reported on my credit report:
- [Credit Account Name & Account Number] [Amount of payment] [due date]
- [add more lines here if required, a separate line for each payment.]
My intention to make on-time payments to all of my creditors are good and my number one priority. If it weren’t for my [reasons that you missed the payment should be explained here], I would not have missed the payment due date.
I made a huge mistake having the payment late, but since then [describe here what got better and changed in your favor], things have improved, I now have a spotless payment history.
It would help me greatly if you could make a goodwill adjustment to remove the late payment on my account above. I’m planning to apply for a new [home/car loan/etc.] soon, and it’s come to my attention that this late payment is hurting my chances of being qualified.
Thank you very much for your consideration, and I hope you’ll approve my request.
end of the sample letter template
Be sure to include your e-mail address and any other documents or bank statements required to prove your case.
Send it certified mail too, because that will make it look important!
After you send the letter in, expect the bank/lender/creditor to send you back a letter of response.
AND REMEMBER, once everything is in writing, it stays that way!
What Happens Next?
If it’s clear without a doubt a bank error, they’ll have no problem removing it.
If the late payment was because you made it late, they will still most likely remove it. Then report it back to the bureaus as being deleted.
If you get a written response back, that says “sorry we cannot remove it!” You’ll need to get a bit more crafty in your writing and respond to any additional information they require. Depending on the lender, this will be easier or harder. If you don’t have a good standing with the bank, you may not get anywhere, even if you escalate it.
Depending on your time and resources you may not get anywhere at all, which then you’ll need to dispute it directly with the credit bureaus. Here’s an article I’ve written for checking your credit report and disputing errors with the credit bureaus.