Do You Know How Long Bankruptcy Stays on Your Credit Report?

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Before filing for bankruptcy, it’s essential to gather information about how it might affect your credit history. One common question is, how long does bankruptcy stay on your credit report? This article answers this question and presents helpful tips on how to rebuild your credit score.

How Long Does Bankruptcy Stay on Your Credit Report?

How long the bankruptcy filing stays on your credit report depends on the type of bankruptcy you file. Consider the two main types of personal bankruptcies: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 is known as liquidation bankruptcy (straight bankruptcy). This consumer bankruptcy is the most common form and is typically completed within three to six months.

If you file for Chapter 7, you’ll no longer be required to pay back unsecured debts, such as credit cards, personal loans, and medical expenses (loans issued only on creditworthiness). You might, however, need to sell some of your assets to settle secured loans. So how long does Chapter 7 stay on your credit report? Typically, such a bankruptcy remains on your report for 10 years from the filing date.

  • Chapter 13  Bankruptcy: This bankruptcy is also referred to as the wage earner’s bankruptcy—a filing offered for those consumers who have the income to repay debts but haven’t done so on time. If you file for Chapter 13, you still must pay back your debts over three to five years, and it will stay on your credit report for seven years from your filing date.

Lenders may prefer Chapter 13 bankruptcy over Chapter 7 because, with Chapter 13 bankruptcy, clients typically agree to repay at least some of their debts.

How Often Can You File for Bankruptcy

You can file for bankruptcy protection as many times as you need. But there are time limits between filing dates determined by the US Bankruptcy Code, based on what Chapter you file under. The time starts on the date you filed the bankruptcy case. For example, consider the following time differences between the following Chapters.

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcyChapter 7 bankruptcy: Eight years

This bankruptcy has the most extended amount of time required by the Bankruptcy Code. But Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers the fastest form of debt relief via bankruptcy filing. And it doesn’t need the consumer to complete a repayment plan before getting their bankruptcy discharged.

  • Chapter 13 bankruptcyChapter 7 bankruptcy: Six years

You may ask, how long does bankruptcy stay on the credit report? There’s a possibility to waive the waiting period earlier. For example, if you paid back 100%—or in some cases at least 70%—of your total debts to the unsecured creditors in your Chapter 13 plan, the waiting period can be waived. Moreover, since the repayment plan of Chapter 13 can take up to five years to complete before becoming discharged, there’s a possibility to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy about one year after you receive your Chapter 13 discharge.

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcyChapter 13 bankruptcy: Four years

How often can you file for bankruptcy? There’s a possibility to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy soon after you receive a Chapter 7 discharge. But you won’t be eligible to get a Chapter 13 discharge. So if you have successfully discharged your unsecured debt via Chapter 7, you’ll be able to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to pay off tax debts or other debts that survived the previous case.

  • Chapter 13 bankruptcyChapter 13 bankruptcy: Two years

What if you had previously filed a Chapter 13 and received a discharge and are looking to file for Chapter 13 again? When will bankruptcy be removed from your credit report?  It will be removed after two years from the filing date of the first case. But this rarely happens.

The minimum repayment plan for Chapter 13 is three years. It’s possible to receive a discharge before completing the three-year program, only if an unpredicted hardship makes completing the plan impossible.

When you intend to file for bankruptcy, keep in mind that you need to prepare such documentation as bank statements, paycheck stubs, tax returns, debt statements, and all your credit cards—even those with a zero balance.

NOTE: Personal bankruptcy statistics reveal that 64% of people who file for bankruptcy are married.

How Does Bankruptcy Affect Your Credit Score?

Bankruptcy can acutely affect your credit score. Even though not all bankruptcies cause a significant drop in your score, filing for bankruptcy appears on your credit score for several years afterward, sending a red flag to potential lenders. Additionally, in some cases, creditors immediately deny an application when they see a bankruptcy listed on a credit report. So, ultimately, you may end up asking how to remove bankruptcies from your credit report.

Your FICO credit score typically determines if you receive credit and at what interest rates, as well as the amount of credit. A high credit score will help you to borrow more at a lower rate. On the other hand, filing bankruptcy can cause your credit score to drop significantly. Even if a lender accepts your credit application—even with a low score—it’s likely to be on less favorable terms.

 Key Takeaways

How long does bankruptcy stay on a credit report? It depends on the kind of bankruptcy filed.
The two most prominent types of bankruptcy include Chapters 7 and 13.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation bankruptcy) stays on the consumer’s report for 10 years from the filing date.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy—known as wage earner’s bankruptcy—stays on the consumer’s report for seven years from the filing date.
Bankruptcy is a public record that can be filed as many times as you need. But there are time limits between filing dates, which the US Bankruptcy Code determines.

How to Rebuild Credit After Bankruptcy

Even though bankruptcy remains on your credit report for seven to 10 years, that doesn’t mean you cannot improve your credit score during that time. You can take the following positive measures to improve your credit report.

  • Monitor Credit Report

It’s crucial to monitor your credit report and credit score frequently and find errors and inaccurate data. In this way, you can keep track of your progress and find information needed to address potential problems that might further harm your credit score. Be mindful, however, that only the AnnualCreditReport.com website is authorized to fill orders for the annual credit report, which is free.

In understanding how to rebuild credit after bankruptcy, be mindful that federal law gives you the right to obtain one free copy of your credit report every 12 months. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the three credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) have extended free weekly credit reports for another year.

  • Pay Bills on Time

Paying your bills on time should be your priority. You cannot allow even one date of delinquency. Keep in mind that your payment history is the most influential credit score determiner.

  • Use Credit Responsibly

How does bankruptcy affect your credit score? You should first consider maintaining a good credit score by keeping your credit utilization ratio low. For example, your credit utilization rate shouldn’t exceed 30%. Financial experts advise that you shouldn’t go above 10% to obtain an excellent credit score.

  • Obtain a Secured Credit Card

Secured cards function similarly to traditional credit cards but require a security deposit as collateral for the credit line. Use your card regularly and keep the balance low relative to the credit limit. It’s then essential to pay your bill each month on time to establish a positive history report.

  • Authorized User on Another Card

When will bankruptcy be removed from your credit report? Preceding this question, you can ask to become an authorized user on someone else’s card, which is a tall order, but it can help rebuild your credit history. To be an authorized user in this situation means that you can obtain a  card in your name from a credit card issuer, but it will be linked to the account of another borrower.

You can use this card to shop, and the payments will show up on your credit report. If you make these payments on time and have a low credit utilization rate, you’ll improve your score over time.

NOTE: As of September 2020, 470 companies have gone bankrupt. Consider what happens when companies file for bankruptcy.

How to Remove Bankruptcy From Credit Score

If the bankruptcy on your report is inaccurate, untrue, misreported, or disproved, you can easily remove it from your credit report by a legal process. But if the bankruptcy is legitimate, it will remain on your record for 10 years if you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or seven years if you filed for Chapter 13. After these periods, they will automatically be removed.

Most consumers are concerned about how to remove bankruptcy from their credit score. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) claims that these timelines are the maximum time for a bankruptcy filing that can stay on your credit report. But they could be on your credit history for less time, depending on the type of bankruptcy filing.

Conclusion

Even though bankruptcy doesn’t affect your credit score in a good way, there are several approaches to rebuild better scores and remove that derogatory mark from your credit history. And though you may spend several years improving your score, don’t be tempted to resort to bankruptcy fraud.

FAQ

Can bankruptcy be removed from credit report early?

Bankruptcy can be removed from a credit report early only if it’s proven misreported, unsubstantiated, or inaccurate.

How long does it take to rebuild credit after bankruptcy?

The amount of time can vary, depending on the borrower. In some cases, it can take only two months and in others up to two years. Therefore, it’s crucial to build responsible credit habits and stick to them.

How long does a Chapter 7 bankruptcy stay on your credit report?

How long does bankruptcy stay on your credit report depends on the type of bankruptcy you file. For example, Chapter 7 stays on your credit report for 10 years from the filing date.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I learned a lot about finance after working for a digital marketing company specializing in investing and trading stocks, forex, etc. After that, I got exposed to other verticals such as wealth management and personal finance, which further improved my understanding of the financial world.

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