Credit reporting errors are quite common and may lower your credit score. It’s a good idea to get a copy of your free credit reports at least once a year and check them for any inaccurate information in your files. All three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, allow you to dispute inaccuracies by mail or online.

Sending credit repair letters to dispute inaccuracies helps you prevent dips in your credit score, which could make it difficult to qualify for loans or credit cards. You can use the template in this article to write and send the letters yourself or hire a credit repair company to send them on your behalf.

What Are Credit Repair Letters?

A credit repair letter is a letter that allows you to dispute outdated or inaccurate information on your credit report or request a collection agency or lender to remove a negative mark. A credit dispute letter can be sent to the credit bureau that issued the report, while a goodwill letter can be sent to the collection agency or lender that reported it.

There are no limits on how many times you can send a credit dispute or goodwill letter. Sending a letter will not impact your credit score. It’s free, and if the error or negative mark is removed, you may see a bump in your credit score.   

“Monitoring your credit for errors is very important for your financial health,” says Teresa Dodson, debt expert and founder of Greenbacks Consulting. “Errors happen more than you think,” Dodson adds.

Dodson recommends enrolling in credit monitoring. “This service tracks activity monthly and is money well spent,” she explains.

Can a Repair Letter Improve Your Credit Score?

If you notice inaccurate information on your credit report, such as identity theft, debt reported after the statute of limitations has passed, or wrong debt amount, it may damage your score. This makes it harder to secure credit at an affordable rate.

Writing a credit repair letter doesn’t cost you much other than a little time. If you have documentation to support your case, the effort can be worth it. When the credit bureau corrects the error, your credit score will be accurate, and it’ll be easier for you to qualify for the best credit.

A credit repair letter doesn’t automatically repair your credit, and there are no guarantees that a credit reporting agency will remove the information. This is especially true when you don’t have documentation to prove it’s an error. However, it’s a first and often very effective step in your credit repair journey.

Two Types of Credit Repair Letters

There are two types of credit repair letters: letters to dispute errors and inaccuracies on your credit report and goodwill letters to request creditors to remove a negative item. Each of these is used for different purposes.

Dispute Letters for Credit Repair

Credit dispute letters can be sent to credit bureaus to dispute items such as late payments, collections, foreclosures, and bankruptcies that haven’t been removed after 7 to 10 years. There are four different types of credit dispute letters to choose from.

General Dispute Letter

This is a basic type of letter where you can specify the errors on your credit report and offer supporting evidence to back it up. It can be used to request credit reporting agencies to remove the inaccurate information from your credit report.

609 Credit Dispute Letter

If you’re unsure of any information on your credit report, you can challenge it using a 609 credit dispute letter. Section 609 in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) outlines your rights as a consumer to request all information on your credit report along with their sources. 609 letters will provide you with the detailed information you need, which you can then use to send a follow-up letter to dispute any errors.

611 Credit Dispute Letter

A 611 credit dispute letter is a follow-up letter that you can send once the credit agency has confirmed that the information in your 609 letter is verified. The letter requests the credit agency to provide information about the verification method, referring to section 611 of the FCRA.

623 Credit Dispute Letter

After sending 609 and 611 letters, you can then send a 623 credit dispute letter requesting the credit agency to offer evidence validating the debt. 623 letters are also known as debt validation letters and can be used when there’s a disagreement involving debt collection.

Goodwill Letters in Credit Repair

A goodwill letter in credit repair is requesting a collection agency or creditor to remove a negative item on your credit report. While this may not always work, in some cases, a creditor may consider removing the item if it happened due to a technical error or personal emergency.

For example, if you have a good track record of strong credit history and timely payments but missed a utility bill or payment for a consumer credit product due to a medical crisis or job loss, you can send a goodwill letter to your creditor explaining your situation and requesting them to remove it.

5 Tips To Write an Effective Credit Repair Letter

There are many credit repair templates available online if you want to dispute a late payment, charge-off, or collection or if you want to send a goodwill letter. 

If you’re using a dispute letter template, it’s important only to use it as a guide and personalize the template to get the best results.

Alternatively, if you have a lot of dispute items or a complex credit history, you can also hire a credit repair company to send the letters on your behalf. If writing the letter yourself, follow these five tips to get a better response.

1. Include All Your Identifying Information

Make it easier for the credit bureaus to find your reports by signing the letter and including the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Date of birth
  • Current address
  • Account number for a debt
  • Social Security number

If you’re not using professional credit repair services, you may also want to send a copy of your identification, such as your driver’s license, with the letter.

2. Clearly Explain Why an Item Should Be Deleted

Highlight the inaccurate item on a copy of your credit report to make it easy to spot. Explain what is wrong with the incorrect item and explain why it should be deleted. Be clear and concise so as to make it easier for the credit bureaus to understand the reason for deletion.

3. Provide Evidence To Support Your Claims

Provide documentation and evidence to support your claims along with the letter. You may include court documents, payment records, or bank statement copies in enclosures to provide evidence that makes it easy for the credit reporting company to determine if the item should be removed from your credit report.

4. Request a Correction or Deletion

In your credit repair letter, specifically ask the credit bureau to correct or delete the incorrect information. Don’t assume the credit bureau will know what to do when you highlight an inaccuracy on your credit report. Be specific in your requests.

5. Send the Letter by Certified Mail

While filing an online dispute is possible, it’s always better to send it by certified mail with a return receipt so you can prove the credit bureau received it on a certain date. Keep a copy of the letter and maintain a record of all your communications with the original creditor, debt collector, and credit bureaus.

Should You Use a Professional for Your Letter?

Identifying errors on your credit reports, writing credit repair letters, and following up on them can be tedious and time-consuming. If you only have one or two inaccuracies, it’s easier to send the letters yourself, but if there are multiple credit report disputes requiring correction, you may consider hiring a professional to do it on your behalf.

Many credit repair companies offer packages with unlimited credit disputes and follow-ups that may help those with complex cases. However, it’s important to research the company you plan to work with to make sure they are reputable, have good reviews, and have a positive track record of helping their clients.

Why Use Credit Repair Letters

A well-crafted credit repair letter can help you address credit disputes and ensure your credit report is accurate. Before sending a letter, take the time to understand the different types of letters, the format for each, and the essential details you must include in each of them.

Explain the issue, use clear language to explain dispute information, and request correction or deletion of the item. Provide strong evidence to make your case stronger and follow up to resolve the issue.