How to Write a Goodwill Letter for a Late Payment - NerdWallet (2024)

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Late payments on a credit card or loan can have a widespread financial impact beyond triggering late fees and higher interest rates. Payments made more than 30 days past due can ding your credit score, making it harder to qualify for future loans and get good rates.

One possible solution: You may be able to remove late payments on your credit reports and start to improve your credit with a “goodwill letter.”

What is a goodwill letter or late payment removal letter?

In a goodwill letter, sometimes called a late payment removal letter, you ask the creditor that reported your late payments to remove the derogatory mark from your credit reports. Without the "goodwill" of a creditor to remove those marks, they remain on your credit report for seven years — though the impact on your score fades with time.

Your goal is to explain why you missed your payments and why the creditor should wipe them from the report.

Do goodwill letters work?

Certain banks like Chase and Bank of America state that they will not honor a late payment removal letter because they are legally obligated to report a complete history of your financial behavior to each of the credit bureaus. But some consumers have reported success when they've sent a goodwill letter.

How to write a late payment removal letter

A strong late payment removal letter asks the creditor to empathize with you. It’s pleasant and courteous. It shows that you take responsibility for your missed payments and demonstrates that you’ll stay current on your bills in the future.

It helps if you can point to a specific circ*mstance, or if you can show a recent track record of on-time payments. Keep it short and sweet.

You might consider writing a goodwill letter if you missed one or more payments due to a medical emergency, a divorce, job loss, or a natural disaster. An issue with mail delivery due to a move could be another valid reason to write a goodwill letter.

Once you’ve written the letter, send it to your creditor using the address listed on its website or on your credit report. You might have to contact the creditor multiple times or follow up with a phone call. Persistence may help persuade the creditor.

Goodwill letter template

Here’s a sample goodwill letter for missed payments on a credit card:

[your name]

[your address]

Account Number: [your account number]


To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I’m writing because I noticed that my most recent credit report contains [a late payment/payments] reported on [date/dates] for my [name of account] account.

I want you to know that I understand my financial obligations, and if it weren’t for [circ*mstance that caused you to miss a payment], I’d have an excellent repayment record. I made a mistake in falling behind, but since then, [description of how your circ*mstances have changed or how you’ve improved your money management]. Since then, I’ve had a spotless record of on-time payments.

I’m planning to apply for [a mortgage/auto loan/etc.], and it’s come to my attention that the missed payment on my record could hurt my ability to qualify. I truly believe that it doesn’t reflect my creditworthiness and commitment to repaying my debts. It would help me immensely if you could give me a second chance and make a goodwill adjustment to remove the late [payment/payments] on [date/dates].

Thank you for your consideration, and I hope you’ll approve my request.


[your name]

Goodwill letter vs. credit dispute letter

A goodwill letter is different from a credit dispute letter. A dispute letter asks the credit bureaus to correct a mistake that was made on your credit reports. These mistakes could include a wrong account number, an account you don’t recognize or a payment reported late when it wasn’t. A goodwill letter asks the original creditor for forgiveness for a mistake you actually made, like missing a payment.

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How to Write a Goodwill Letter for a Late Payment - NerdWallet (2)

Tips for avoiding late payments

Writing a goodwill letter may or may not successfully remove a late payment from your reports. Regardless of the outcome, following a few best practices can help you avoid missed payments in the future and protect your credit.

  • Keep track of payment due dates. Check your statements or log in to your online accounts to verify when payments are due each cycle. Some creditors allow you to change your payment due date, so if yours is inconvenient, ask about making a switch. Consider setting calendar reminders on your phone or computer to alert you as the date approaches.

  • Make frequent payments. Getting in the habit of making smaller, recurring payments throughout the month can help you knock out your balance before your due date. Carrying a smaller balance also lowers your credit utilization, which is a good way to build your score.

  • Schedule automatic payments. You can set up regular transfers from your bank account to ensure you pay your bills on time. Aim for at least the minimum payment amount.

How to Write a Goodwill Letter for a Late Payment - NerdWallet (2024)


How to Write a Goodwill Letter for a Late Payment - NerdWallet? ›

I truly believe that it doesn't reflect my creditworthiness and commitment to repaying my debts. It would help me immensely if you could give me a second chance and make a goodwill adjustment to remove the late [payment/payments] on [date/dates]. Thank you for your consideration, and I hope you'll approve my request.

How do you ask for late payment forgiveness? ›

The process is easy: simply write a letter to your creditor explaining why you paid late. Ask them to forgive the late payment and assure them it won't happen again. If they do agree to forgive the late payment, your creditor should adjust your credit report accordingly.

How successful are goodwill letters? ›

There's no guarantee that a goodwill letter will work, and there's no officially approved formula to follow in order to give yourself the best chance of success. Keep in mind that because creditors aren't required to consider your request, you may get no response at all.

How do I write a late payment explanation letter? ›

This letter should include a sincere apology for the delay, a brief explanation of the reason for the delay, and a clear timeline for when the payment will be made.

How do you convince a creditor to remove late payments? ›

Missed a Payment? Try Writing a Goodwill Letter to Remove It From Credit Reports. A goodwill letter explains why you had a late payment and asks the creditor to take it off your credit reports.

What is an example of a goodwill message? ›

An example of a goodwill message is a company sending a season's greetings message to its employees. This type of message expresses appreciation for the work that the employees have done throughout the year and makes them feel valued.

What is a good explanation for late payments? ›

When explaining a delay in payment, honesty and transparency are key. Begin by acknowledging the missed deadline and express your commitment to resolving the situation. Clearly state the reason for the delay, whether it's a financial discrepancy, processing error, or unforeseen circ*mstances.

How do I professionally ask for a late payment? ›

Include as many details as you can regarding the payment, such as the invoice number and amount. As always, continue reminding them of when the due date was, and how overdue they are. However, remain helpful—you never know what they could be going through, or if there was some sort of mix-up.

How to politely apologize for late payments? ›

I am sincerely sorry for the delay in payment on {loan type}. I apologize for any inconvenience or frustration this caused you. The delay was caused by {reason}. While I take full responsibility for my mistake, I would like to assure you that this was a one-time error on my part.

What is an example of a Goodwill letter? ›

I've enjoyed my relationship with [Creditor name] since [Year account was opened]. I'm writing because I noticed your company reported a late payment in [Date of late payment] on my credit reports. I am requesting a goodwill adjustment to remove this late payment from my TransUnion, Experian and Equifax credit reports.

What is a 609 letter to remove late payments? ›

Section 609 gives consumers the right to request information related to debts listed on their credit reports. Examples of information that you may want to dispute include: Accounts opened due to identity theft. Late payments that were paid on time.

How to dispute a late payment? ›

To get an incorrect late payment removed from your credit report, you need to file a dispute with the credit bureau that issued the report containing the error.

Do goodwill letters work for late payments? ›

The more recent the late payment, the more it will impact your credit score. A Goodwill letter might affect your credit score less if you missed a payment long ago. Instead, a Goodwill letter might be more effective in removing a payment you missed last month and impacting your credit score.

How to reply for late payment professionally template? ›

Dear [Contact Name], I would like to apologize regarding the delayed payment for invoice [Insert Invoice Number]. We experienced a [payment processing error, administrative issue, etc.] that resulted in a delay in processing this payment.

How do I write a late payment notice? ›

The invoice was due on [Due Date], and payment is now overdue by [Number of Days Overdue]. Be advised that late payment interest may be applied if we do not receive payment within 30 days. Let us know when we can expect to receive payment for the outstanding invoice.

What is an example of a goodwill letter? ›

At present, I intend to buy a house. But, due to the negative listings from my past late payments, I am not being able to get a reasonable mortgage rate. So, I humbly request that you remove this negative item from my credit report as a gesture of goodwill. I would sincerely appreciate if you consider my request.

What is a 609 letter? ›

A Section 609 dispute letter allows consumers to request verification of accounts on their credit reports. If the disputed information cannot be verified within 30 to 45 days, the credit bureaus must remove it from your credit history.


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