A big part of credit repair involves getting items removed from your credit report. The credit report dispute process works well when there is negative information on your credit report that shouldn’t be there, e.g. accounts that aren’t yours or items that are past the credit reporting time limit. A goodwill letter is a strategy to use for negative accounts that you’ve already paid.
What is a Goodwill Letter?
A goodwill letter is a letter you send to your creditors asking them to have compassion and remove or stop reporting negative information from your credit report. Creditors aren’t obligated to remove accurate information from your credit report. However, if you have some isolated late payments in the midst of an otherwise good credit history, some creditors will be nice and remove (or stop reporting) the late payments.
Like all letters you send to creditors, collectors, and the credit bureau, you should keep your goodwill letter short and simple. State which account you’d like to have updated, mention your positive payment history, briefly describe what caused you to miss those payments, and ask that your credit report be updated as a courtesy.
Send your goodwill letter to the creditor’s address listed on your credit report. If there is no address on the credit report, or if you don’t receive a response in about 7 to 10 business days, look for another address on the creditor’s website.
After receiving your goodwill letter, some creditors will update your credit report. Others will say they cannot legally remove information from your credit report. Most of the successful goodwill letters posted on myFICO forums don’t specifically ask creditors to remove negative information from the consumer’s credit report. Instead, the letters request a “goodwill adjustment” be made.
Letter vs. Phone Call
You can also make a goodwill request by phone instead of sending a letter, but more often than not, the customer service representatives who answer the phone don’t have the authority to make these types of changes to your account. If you can get a phone call to someone higher-up in the company, you’re more likely (but not 100%) to get your request granted.