Remove Late Payments: An Example “Goodwill Letter” for Credit Card Accounts

One of the most successful blog posts I’ve ever written on this personal finance site is the one about removing late payments from your credit reports by using a goodwill letter.

Goodwill letters are nothing more than a plea to an institution (banks, credit card companies, automotive companies, hospitals, utilities, etc.) to remove any late payments you may have had from your three major credit reports (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax).

In that initial post I provided an example goodwill letter template that readers could copy and amend for their specific situation. To date the letter has been downloaded over one thousand times and I’ve received many thankful emails from readers who have used the sample goodwill letter to remove late payments from their files and enjoyed an immediate boost to their FICO Scores.

Today I am releasing a completely new goodwill letter aimed at credit card companies to help you get those unsightly late payments removed from your credit report. Besides, if too many people continue to use the original goodwill letter template those “evil” financial institutions may start to get suspicious!

A text version of the letter is listed below or you can download a MS Word Template here. Good luck and happy credit repairing!!!

Your Name
Your Address

Date

Company’s Name
Company’s Address

Late payment removal request regarding account # XXXXXXX

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been a loyal card member of Capital One for 7 (change to the # of years you’ve been a card member) years and couldn’t be happier with my decision to join the Capital One Family. You’ve always offered some of the most competitive rates and rewards programs, and even beat a competitor’s lowest interest rate when I inquired about transferring my balance to their card (replace this sentence with a description of a time the company went “above and beyond’ to help you).

Unfortunately, in December of 2010 (replace this with the date of your late payment(s) here) I took advantage of our relationship and failed to submit my monthly payment on time. It was an exceptionally busy time and my life as I was balancing the birth of our first child while taking night classes to fulfill one of my long standing career goals (replace this sentence with a POSITIVE life event that may have contributed to you missing the payment). Now that I have found a prosperous balance in my life I honestly cannot associate with the person that let this payment obligation go unattended to. I fully respect my obligations with Capital One and have worked diligently to amend my relationship with you by regaining your trust. A brief look at my account will reveal I have successfully made 12 on time payments since my unfortunate lapse of judgment.

Recently, I have begun search for a more financially rewarding career in business and it has come to my attention that my late payment(s) with Capital One may negatively affect my chances of obtaining a career in the field I am pursing. As you may know, FICO scores are being used more and more in the selection of prospective job applicants.

In light of my renewed focus and demonstrated commitment to rebuilding my trust with your company, I am requesting that you give me a second chance at a positive credit rating by revising the late payment(s) as reported on my three major credit bureau files (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax). I sincerely hope Capital Ones believes in their customers and I humbly request your consideration to allow me to pursue the career of my dreams. I appreciate your time and look forward to receiving a favorable decision from you department soon.

Regards,

Your Name Here

Related Articles:
Sample Debt Validation Letter: How the Debt Valdiation Process Works

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28 thoughts on “Remove Late Payments: An Example “Goodwill Letter” for Credit Card Accounts”

  1. Hey Ben,
    First of all thanks for all the info on your site, everything is extremely helpful.
    Recently, I have been trying to make my credit score a little better and that is how I landed on your site.
    I only have on question:
    To what address should we mail our goodwill letters? Their main address or some other department?
    I have a Bank of America Visa card as well as a Capital One card.
    Hope you can help me out with this!
    Thanks for all your info!
    -Chris
    Ps. sorry about the confusion, you can delete my last comment :)

  2. Thanks for the question Chris. The address to the credit reporting department of all your creditors can be found on your credit report. If you don’t have access to a recent copy of your credit report, you can follow my guide here on how to get your free annual credit reports from the three major credit bureaus as required under federal law. You can also try doing an internet search for the address.

    Another great resource for finding information about goodwill letters, account verifcations, etc. can be found on the Credit Boards Forums here.

  3. Thank you for this great template, but there are a couple of misspellings and I urge anyone to spell check this before they hit send, or before they lick the envelope.

    :)

  4. Thanks Curt! I wish I could say I intentially botched a few of the word spellings to add a level of humanity to the template, but I didn’t! I’m quite certain that almost everyone of my 300+ articles have some sort of grammatical error in them.

  5. Hi Ben,
    Thanks for the info. I recently sent out a few goodwill letters to remove some late payment posts from my record. To my surprise, I received a call yesterday from the Office of the CEO for Bank of America Card Services. We spoke directly for several minutes in regards to my letter. The woman told me that they can no longer do goodwill removals of late payments. She said there were new guidelines in place and that they could be audited. And if they were audited, they would see my letter and they could get in trouble. She sounded sincere but at the same time it sounded like BS. Have you heard of any new rules, restrictions or potential audits in regards to removing reported late payments? It seems to me it would still be at the discretion of the company, that although what they report has to be accurate, they don’t necessarily have to report everything. Just curious if you have any information on “new” guidelines.
    Thanks much, Julie in Seattle

  6. Hi Julie, I know of know recent changes that would affect a financial institution’s ability to stop reporting a derogatory information on any one of your credit reports. However, I will dig into this a little further and see what I can find out for you. Perhaps someone else on this board has a little more insight! thanks for sharing your story! BofA is traditionally one of the more stubborn creditors in this area!!!

  7. Hey Ben,
    This is such a great help! I have another problem though. Back in 2005 I had a tax lien issued for non payment of some old taxes. I was young and broke and just couldn’t pay them at the time, but as soon as I could (2007) I paid them off. Well now 5 years later they still show on my report. I went to the records dept and made 3 Copies of the paid in full letter and had them certified while there. Any advise as what to do now? I was hoping a really sincere goodwill letter might help but Ive been told it is harder to get tax liens off your report. Do you know how true this is? Any advise is appreciated!
    Thanks, Adam from Ga.

  8. Thanks Adam! Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with removing old tax liens, etc. from credit reports! I wish I could be more help, but I’ll be the first to admit when I just don’t know. I’ll try to research this a little more, but in the meantime you might be able to find some help on http://www.creditboards.com. They are a great resources for a lot of obscure credit reporting issues.

    Good luck and sorry I couldn’t be more help!

  9. does anyone have an email address for credit one bank. Im trying this gw on a 30 day late. its my only one. fingers crossed.

  10. Hi Ben,

    Great site, I really appreciate the information here. I’m going to attempt a goodwill letter to fix up one late payment (FEB 2012) and I was wondering if it is too soon since I’ve only had one subsequent timely payment (March 2012). Please advise.

    Thanks in advance for any information you can share!

    -DA

  11. Ben:

    I am a mortgage broker and have experience cleaning up credit reports. You wrote a very nice template. I have experience getting items removed and have yet to test the goodwill letter method, but I have one in play as I type. What has worked for me most of the time is just asking them to remove the item from my credit report and providing necessary information without sugarcoating it. I was surprised but many times they were removed immediately without any need for reasoning.

    Thanks,

    Andrew

  12. Hi i only have 3 things on my credit report because i am just starting my career.. I have a capital one credit card for 13 months, never late, An auto loan for 3 years and never been late and i have one Jc penny/ge money charge card that i used to by a suit for a wedding in 2010. Due to being young and not very experienced i fell behind on it and forgot about it, They reported the lates as suck , 30, 60, 90, 90, 90 and then when i realized i brought it current and have been paying it on time for months now just paying down the late charges but they are now reporting it as pay as agreed, (was late 90 day) due to not having much credit it hurt me bad and dropped me to a 589 credit score when i believe i was in the high 600′s. What shoud i do? Im thinking your template would be a good idea..

  13. I was in default on a student loan and a year ago I made a repayment plan with an agreement that no collection status was ever placed on the account and that it would show paying as agreed. Well, they held up their end of the bargain, but in Nov of 2011 I was reported as being 30 days late. (I think I was actually late, I was snail-mailing the payments in, but November, the holidays……..etc…etc…) This is the only thing holding me up from getting a mortgage. I have this student loan with Texas Guaranteed. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions that might help me get them to reverse the 30 day late on my credit report???

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Martin

  14. Hi Martin,

    Have you tried submitting a goodwill letter to them yet using the goodwill letter template provided on this site?

  15. Thanks Andrew! You’re right! There is something to be said for being upfront and humble during the process of goodwill! Thanks for reading my personal finance blog!

  16. I wrote a goodwill letter to The National Bank (Quebec) and they wrote back:

    In response to your email, we wish to inform you that we are unfortunately unable to make the requested modifications to your file.
    The modifications can be carried out in the following months, but in your case, it has been too long. We no longer have access to your credit history from 2009.

    I responded back
    and they wrote something saying I have a late payment in may 2011 (which I am not aware of) also mentionning I have good credit with them and that :

    Moreover, please note that the only time we will request the correction of a late payment to a credit file is when National Bank MasterCard make an administrative error and that no late payment should have been registered on the MasterCard file.

    What should be my next move? I’ve had 3 late payments in all(two in 2008) and one in 2009 – but only one with National Bank – and all of them were while I was a student and all the 3 payments were because I fell ill (overwhelmed, stressed – I also had mono which made it a burden for me to even ATTEND class). HELP!

  17. I paid off my husband’s credit card in full. We weren’t aware of that they are still charged interst for the next month. We went over the 30 days to pay it off and it got onto his credit report just right before we were closing on a house. We did not get the loan but I want to fix this so we can start all over. What sould I state in the goodwill letter? Since we paid off the balance we never used the card again but its still active.

  18. I had some late payments on a B of A credit card because of an address change and not careful enough book-keeping on my end–now the account is paid in full, but on my credit report it says that this account will go positive only in December of 2018. Is there any possible way to shorten the time and damage to my credit? Thanks!

  19. Hi Ben,
    I recently made a late payment on my Macys american express card.
    My payment was 62 days late. It was an honest mistake, i thought i had electronic payment set up but my husband recently changed it to manual.
    I called their credit department and explained everything but they did not help me and said my only chance is to send a gw letter to their presidential office.
    I just send them a letter. I have been their customer for 15 + years and never been late.
    If I don’t get a good response what are my other options.
    should i asked the 3 major creditors to remove the negative payment. since this is the only late payment i have in my life.
    Thanks
    Kahn

  20. Hi Kahn,

    The 3 credit bureaus will not remove the late payment from your account since their reports only reflect what the actual creditors (the business that have loaned you money)show in their files. They are an independent third party so it wouldn’t be legal or ethical for them to modify a credit report when both them and you know the information is accurate (albeit a mistake).

    Try writing a goodwill record and if that doesn’t work then try writing another one focusing on your 15 year patronage. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful but the goodwill letter method is typically the last line of defense when you’re not disputing actual facts on your credit report.

  21. USAA today told me that they are not able to remove negative credit items unless they are the result of a bank error. the supervisor I spoke with said that they were able to 10 or more years ago, but that federal regulations have changed and the rules are much stricter. then he tried to sell me a new loan and a credit monitoring service.

  22. I am in the process of getting a home loan but there are some late payments on my Credit Report. I am sending out the Debt Validation letter to Midland Funding for an acct that they bought. However that same acct was sold to another law firm and I contacted that firm (they are not on my credit report Midland Funding is) and made 1 payment to that firm. Should I send them a Deb Validation Letter as well. Also I have three closed accts that were closed by the Original Creditor (they went out of business.) They are paid with a zero balance with one late payment in 2008 (all three), should I request to have these accts removed from my credit reports or should I just send a good will requesting a removal of those late payments. Lastly I have an acct that had 4 late payments in 2011. The account is open and paymnets are made as agreed should I send them a goodwill letter. Thank you for this helpful site.

  23. Polly,I had a checking account at USAA and closed it. That same month someone stole my hubby’s ss number from UsAA conline checking and applied for a card. The only reason it was stopped was because they could not answer the security questions! I hate USAAbank. We have been trying to clean up his credit report this happens and now we have a fraud alert on his report!

    How can I get a paid judgement off my credit report? Apparently creditors don’t care to see that it was paid!

  24. UPDATE:
    Debt Validation letter worked, Midland Funding notified the CRA to remove such account information from my credit file and also sent me an update letter. Goodwill letters did not work the late payments remained. :(

  25. @ Brandy, I too had a Judgement on my credit file. I reached out to the law firm that filed the judgement against me. They sent me a letter stating that the judgement had been satisfied. I took that letter to the court house in which they filed the judgement against me. I also mailed a copy of the satisfied judgement letter to the credit reporting agency that had the judgement listed. In a couple of weeks the judgement was removed.

  26. Just mailed off 10 letters to creditors that pulled my husbands report all if which he did not authorize. From my understanding when you apply for a loan some banks use 3 different companies to get your reports. This had dropped his score drastically! I will let you know about the letters ASAP. Here is my other question. How can you get an account removed when the account numbers do not match up? In 2005 my husband defaulted on a line of credit. It was listed three times with different account numbers on all three credit bureaus. Since then a company we used was able to get it off the all three cb except one (experian). That has a totally different account number then what was even listed to begin with! How so I get that removed?

    Thank you
    Brandy

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