How to Write an Extension Letter

To avoid negative credit ratings and costly overdue payments try writing an extension letter to creditors.

Today's stumbling economy requires careful budgeting and financial adjustments. This may require you to write an extension letter allowing you to delay a payment or two until financial improvements are made. An extension letter allows creditors to know that you did not just skip a payment, but rather require a bit of time to get caught up on financial matters. It provides justification to a creditor and can be helpful in avoiding negative credit reporting and overdue fees.

Write an Extension Letter

Step 1

Identify who to write the letter to. Creditors often refer overdue accounts and extension letters to collections departments. Some of these may not be located at the same address where you mail monthly payments. You can save effort and time by calling the creditor and asking where to mail an extension letter. Failing to do so could result in extended time for processing and overdue charges or interest could continue to incur.

Step 2

Determine why you need an extension. Before writing the letter, be sure you identify the true reason for the extension request. If you are having a difficult time paying bills due to an unforeseen emergency, share the details of that emergency with the creditor. Be prepared to demonstrate in your letter exactly how this emergency caused a financial hardship.

Step 3

Write the first draft of the letter. The first draft is a sketch of the final letter. When writing any important document, it is best to wait a day or two before taking it to the mailbox for delivery. The first draft should consist of three parts: the introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction tells who you are and the reason for the letter. The body shows how the financial hardship occurred and the plan to fix the situation. The conclusion thanks the collector for their consideration and offers your direct contact information.

Step 4

Proofread the letter and expand on necessary issues. Proofreading is the process of checking a document for errors in grammar, spelling and content. Identify areas that need expanded explanation. Consider carefully whether or not you are putting too much information in the body of the letter. Mark the areas on the letter that you feel need changes.

Step 5

Write a second draft of the letter. This usually goes much quicker than the writing of the first draft and should be a refinement of the overall letter. Take the time to consider the errors identified when proofreading, and if you are adding or taking away information be sure to re-read for flow of content.

Step 6

Finalize your letter and prepare it for mailing. Sometimes you may find it necessary to write a third or fourth draft repeating steps 3 and 4 several times. This letter is considered a sensitive and important document, so take the time to ensure that your finalized copy states everything you feel is appropriate to support your request for an extension. Be careful when preparing the letter for mailing. Check the paper for cleanliness and stains. If using a computer, print a duplicate copy for your own records.


Using a computer and word processing software makes writing an extension letter easier. Be sure to frequently save your document.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer

  • Word processing software

  • Printer

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