When you declare bankruptcy, you are able to eliminate or diminish your debt, but it does leave its mark. Any credit cards you have when you file for bankruptcy will be unavailable to you, and the bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 7 to 10 years. That doesn’t mean that you are doomed to live without any credit resources or loans for that entire time. Bankruptcy is often the wisest choice, and there are steps you can take in the short and longer term to rebuild your credit. In this blog, we’ll explore some practical ways to do that.
Adhere to Bankruptcy Agreements
Whether you declare Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you have entered into a legally binding agreement. In Chapter 13, that means that a court-appointed trustee takes control of all of your disposable income and pays your creditors with it. This situation usually lasts from three to five years. It is imperative that you inform the court of any changes to your disposable income during this period. If you have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, that eliminates all your unsecured debt. However, you may have entered into a Reaffirmation Agreement with your auto lender in order to keep your car. If so, you must prioritize making those monthly payments.
New Credit Cards
Although your current credit cards will be unavailable to you once you declare bankruptcy, there are credit cards specifically designed for those working to re-establish creditworthiness. These credit cards often have low credit limits and higher interest rates to begin with; those elements switch as time passes and you use the card wisely. Once you demonstrate your ability to make monthly credit card payments, other institutions will begin to offer you credit cards as well.
Understanding Your Credit Report
Bankruptcy will almost certainly lower your credit score, but it you have had delinquent accounts and history of late payments, you may be surprised to find that your credit score does not plummet. Rebuilding your credit score depends on understanding how your credit score is calculated. Not every action has the same impact. For instance, one of the most important factors is the amount owed. Declaring bankruptcy actually makes your amount owed negligible. The most important factor, though, is payment history. While you cannot change your past, you can certainly control what your payment history becomes.
Credit Report – Time Frame
Your credit report is not a static document. Your credit score changes all the time, and actions that have lowered your credit score do disappear from your credit report. The time frame varies from two to ten years. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy usually remains on your report for 10 years, while a Chapter 13 one stays on for 7. Crucially, the severity of the impact diminishes with time, too. So a bankruptcy five years ago will matter less than when freshly filed, especially if it appears with five years’ worth of on-time payments.
Credit Report – Repair
Declaring bankruptcy does not have to be devastating to your ability to get credit, and it can be mitigated. The experts at Burr Law can guide you in re-establishing your credit in ways that meet your particular situation. Remembering that payment history is crucial, and that many accounts do not typically report on-time payments, you can work to have your timely payments noted. While auto loans, mortgages, credit cards and some others are typically reported, other things like utilities, phone payments, and even streaming services can be reported. If you have a monthly expense that isn’t being reported and you want those timely payments to count, Burr Law can help.
Rebuilding credit after bankruptcy is certainly possible. The experts at Burr Law can advise you on that as part of your bankruptcy service.