How Long will a Bankruptcy Stay on my Credit Report?

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  • Last Modified Date: 29 July 2018
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In general, a bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for ten years. This report is the simple method for determining your credit worthiness, and it can even have an impact on whether or not you can be hired for certain jobs when you file a straightforward Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you file for Chapter 13, agreeing to pay certain amounts of debt over a period of time, the bankruptcy usually stays on your credit report for seven years.

It has become increasingly more popular to screen potential employees by looking at their financial records. This is particularly the case when the employee might be handling large sums of money, but it may also hold true for other types of jobs. Though it may not be fair, bankruptcy can follow you for a long time.

This does not mean that you cannot get a job, purchase a home, rent an apartment, or even get a credit card within a few years of bankruptcy, but financial experts warn those who are newly bankrupt to be very cautious about obtaining or using any new credit cards. In fact, it's often best to pay in cash as much as possible for a few years.


Any new credit cards that are offered to you are likely to have very high interest and high yearly fees, so they may not be worth having. In fact, people who do get credit cards after a bankruptcy are very high credit risk and are more likely to miss payments or have trouble paying new loans. Missed payments can further damage your credit, since they indicate that you have not corrected your financial behavior.

A person who has declared bankruptcy and then contracted additional debt is likely to face challenges finding work, renting a house, or buying a car on credit. This is because the person continues to establish a dubious financial record. It is essential that any new debt be contracted only with a great deal of thought, and only when you are able to repay debt.

It can be necessary to declare bankruptcy for many reasons, and they are certainly not all the fault of the person who borrowed money in the first place. Unemployment, sudden grievous illness in the family, or a personal illness could all make repaying debt very challenging. Once you have been able to recover financially from these setbacks, you may find it helpful to tell relevant people what happened. Most employers, for example, can relate to a person’s struggle to find work in a difficult job market or the need to take care of an ill spouse.

Being upfront about the issue and why it occurred can also score some points with people who are analyzing your ability to be a good tenant. It can help to have letters from former landlords detailing a good payment schedule on past rents. Some people are faithful with their rent, but had difficulty meeting other debts.

For some creditors, however, bankruptcy may have occurred for viable reasons, but it is still treated as a tremendous mark against your credit. It also does not matter to them when or why the bankruptcy occurred — it may have happened five or six years ago and still prove a factor. Legally, it can be considered until ten years later.


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Post 34

Circumstances put me in a position where I had no other option. My Chapter 7 was filed in 99, came off in 09 and my credit score is now over 800. Bad things happen to good people and if you get back on track, the credit report will follow and reflect that you have.

Post 32

Does anybody know what is a secondary credit number? Has anyone ever dealt with it.

Post 31

@anon149984: Can you please tell me the law firm you used? I have been paying two different credit repair companies for two years after my bankruptcy six years ago and so far only two items have been removed.

Post 30

If you want to help you credit, get a secured credit card. With a secured card, you give the credit card company the amount of money you want the card to be worth (example: $300-$5000). This would then be your credit limit. You can also increase the credit limit on your card at any time by sending the credit card company additional money for that purpose. Even though you have given the credit card company the money for your credit limit, you still have to pay them back for any and all purchases make on the card. When you close the card, you get the whole amount that you paid to secure the card.

A good credit card company for this is Public Savings Bank. They report to the credit reporting agencies every month and it is not reported as a secured card.

Post 29

My bankruptcy was discharged over nine years ago. My lawyer told me to establish credit as soon as it is discharged which I did. I, with the help of a family member, financed a car. The family member was only to be used as a co-signer, when in fact the paperwork was made out in the family member's name.

I made all the payments for five years, only to discover that nothing appeared on my credit report and I mean nothing! There is no history of anything on my report! Now I can't get any type of credit, whether it be to rent an apartment, buy furniture, or a car. I can't even buy a house.

No financial institution is willing to give you a chance to rebuild your credit. Believe me, I tried.

Post 28

i removed mine after six years from transunion, by writing letters every week. i removed lots of bed credits same way. I write letters every week and send to three creditors, that it's not mine. Four months ago i hired a law firm and they already remove 26 bad credits from my report. it's kind of the same thing I did, but more professional. if you have $80 to pay every month, it will help a lot to clean your credit.

Post 27

It's the fault of the unemployed people that Unemployment is so high, too!

Post 26

If it were up to the Republicans it would stay on your record permanently. Like a criminal record even though they were the ones that have caused people to go into financial hardship anyway.

Post 24

Because of the economic crisis, I believe the president should pass a bill where bankruptcy will only remain on one's report for five years or so (instead of 10), if they were forced to file due to job loss.

Post 23

Most bankruptcy experts will tell you that you need to rebuild your credit bank as soon as possible. From going through a government run financial course, it is advised to do this is to ask your bank (and if they turn you down, ask other banks) for a loan of at least $500 and place that money in a separate account that you do not use.

Let the bank withdraw the monthly payment from that account, leaving you with a small balance and finance charge to pay at the end. This will start the process of showing that you have changed your habits and are on the road to recovery.

It even goes on to say, during the time of

that loan, acquire a department store credit card with a minimum allowed balance. Do not charge more than you can afford to pay off in six months time.

And again, open one more. Three accounts at the same time, showing you have not been late and paid them in full before the due date shows that you are responsible and have made a "change" in the creditors' eyes. I hope this helps.

Post 22

@anon95498: I could go into many reasons that someone has to file bankruptcy, but all i can say is you are ill informed. We are not in an economy crap hole because there are some who had to file bankruptcy.

Post 21

anon95498: Just wait until you lose your job and have to have surgery with no health insurance because you just lost all your benefits, and have creditors that have no mercy on your situation.

This happened to me and I'm sure to other people. Be thankful for what you have because tomorrow it can all be taken away, and treat and talk to people as you would want to if you ever fell on hard times.

Post 20

When I filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2002, my attorney informed me that it would remain for seven years but now I'm being told that it would remain for 10 years. Listening to others' stories, I know that I didn't mistakenly hear that information wrong and to the person who left the anonymous post saying that those of us who filed bankruptcy deserve to have it remain on our files for life, karma is something else.

Everyone is not irresponsible. Until tragedy hit my family, I paid all of my bills and on time, so be careful what you say because one day you could walk in those same shoes.

Post 19

Yep. Donald Trump and others have filed bankruptcy two or three times. He is not irresponsible, etc. He is doing okay. My business was incorporated.In 2000 I filed Chap.7. Jerks took my house (almost new house} and a lot of personal items like my car, etc. Even though it was an incorporated business entity! Now it is September 2010, and my BR was in 2000. And it still keeps us from financing anything. Come on, there has got to be some reality here.

Post 18

I filed chapter 7 in 1999 after consulting with financial advisers and finding this the very best option. Now I am applying for a state insurance license. I am told that I must tell them if I ever filed bankruptcy no matter how long ago!

So the 10 years and it goes off your record does not matter. It means nothing to the State of California! They do not follow that law; they want to dig into your past and want to know it all! And they have access to all the files.

They want me to write an explanation of why I had to file the bankruptcy and will add this to my file! I am a marked person! Don't believe that a Chapter 7 ever goes off your record!

Post 17

Our forefathers allowed for things like bankruptcy, because one of the reasons for leaving their country was because you could be put into prison for not being able to pay a debt. how are you supposed to pay a debt if you cannot work it off. meanwhile your family is without you.

My husband's employer was dependent on the economy, and his million dollar company went downhill, my husband was injured and after surgery could have worked light duty but they were having trouble finding work for those who didn't have restrictions.

We lost our insurance due to lack of hours and I ended up in the emergency room for an extended illness when i could not work and could

not get continuing medical care.

The mortgage company that originally was working with us for a forbearance said they were understaffed and two months behind because of the housing crisis. after four months, my husband's job no longer had work for him. we had to move from our home, into a fifth wheel trailer out of town with our then four year old, behind my husband's house so i could get better and he could be rehabilitated and re-trained.

Now we had had a proper amount of savings, health insurance, life insurance, Aflac, we both had an education, a good mortgage with interest rate (we didn't fall because of bad loan choices), little debt.

We had first dated three years, then waited three years and had our first daughter, bought our house and were waiting to space out our next child. All I'm trying to say is you can do everything right and still end up upside down and having to start over so do not judge unless you want to find yourself in a situation where you will be made to understand how it can happen.

Do not judge people or see them as less than yourself. i bet you can't imagine their life story.

Post 16

Anon95498: You are quick to judge, quick to anger and slow to understand. Not everyone who files BK is irresponsible. It's not like everyone who files BK just racked up as much debt as possible and walked away.

There is always a story behind the problem. I agree that there are a lot of deadbeats who have no idea how to manage their finances.

But there are also people who have had serious medical illnesses or job loss and their creditors are not willing to work with them at all.

Don't be so quick to assume anyone who is going through a rough time is not a responsible person.

Post 15

Filing bankruptcy is turning your back on your responsibilities. It should remain on your credit report so that other creditors will be aware of your irresponsible behaviors and not lend to you. Your credit report is your "credit history." It is a snapshot of your repayment behaviors. Hello, you bankrupt people are the reason our economy has gone to crap!

Post 14

A Chapter 7 can remain on your credit report for 10 years from the date of filing. I would advise you to send each credit reporting agency a copy of your report of filed claims and a copy of your discharge papers as soon as you get them. That way, they can no longer show the old debts as open with balances.

As soon as the 10 year period expires, pull your credit reports with each bureau and file discrepancy reports, explaining that the reporting is over 10 years old and should, therefore, be removed. This should do the trick.

Also, note that a creditor's refusal to change how it is reporting to the bureaus may violate the automatic stay and discharge order in your case. Contact the attorney who filed your case for help on this!

Post 13

Me and my husband filed chapter seven in 2000 and we have tried to have it removed but it is still there along with all the debts that we filed under the Chapter 7 and we can't get credit anywhere because we are sill being punished for all the old debt on our credit report.

The credit report companies Transunion, experian and equifax told us that after the Chapter 7 that the old debts would stay on our record forever unless we could convince the company of the debt to remove it from our report, but after 10 years they still won't take off the old debts of the Ch 7 from our report and it is killing our credit


We are trying again to do something but it seems

hopeless and seems as if we are doomed for life because of the advice of a lawyer who charged us 1200.00 for a chapter 7 that was suppose to help us build a fresh start! Don't believe what they tell you about bankruptcy: it is all a lie!

Post 12

My BK 7 was discharged in April of 2003 since then I have established new credit and gotten married. Now my husband is laid off and we lost our car to repo and all our credit cards are unpaid. When can I file BK again?

Post 11

I filed chapter 13 in 2006 and decided not to do it before everything was final. why is it still on my credit?

Post 9

i have also noticed that mine is still there also. I filed in 2001. Should i dispute this with transunion and friends or what?

Post 8

My bankruptcy should fall off my credit report in October of 2009, will it?

Post 7

For decades a Chapter 7 in the US has stayed on a report for 10 years. A Chapter 13 is supposed to stay for only seven. While a Bankruptcy stays on for 10, the individual creditors should only show negative (Late and Charge-offs) for seven years. i.e., The creditors and discharge show until 7 years. between 7 and 10 years just the bankruptcy discharge shows- after 10 years nothing related to the original bankruptcy should show. (The above does not include any new credit history after the bankruptcy is discharged.)

Post 6

It will be 10 years. this Oct 2009 that my Chpt 7 BR will fall off my credit report.

I'm confused now, since I talked with a banker. They told me that BR will affect my credit for life and will always be there. And I've noticed that credit forms always ask the question. "Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?" It doesn't imply within a certain number of years, so how do I answer that question?

Please help. This has been bothering me for a long time.

Post 5

Telling people to use cash and not accept credit cards after a bankruptcy is *bad advice*. If you have recently filed BK you need to reestablish your credit. The only way to do that is to obtain credit and prove that you can handle it. I have seen people 6 months out of bankruptcy that have 720 credit, I have also seen people who paid cash for everything after the BK with 400 credit scores or no credit score because they never reestablished.

Ensuring that you can repay any obligation you take on after you BK is crucial, delinquencies after a bankruptcy are a fate worse than death for your credit. One can lose 100pts+ for a 30 day late

after BK and multiple delinquencies after a bankruptcy will make you ineligible to purchase a home.

Just because you have a line of credit does not mean you have to use it. Take on new credit, 1-2 revolving accounts, just do not use them. Pay the annual fees, you are essentially buying your credit back.

6 months after your bankruptcy you should be sure to check your credit, make sure your former creditors are reporting to your creditors correctly, many do not.

If you reestablish your credit correctly, you may be eligible to buy a home (or refinance your existing home) as soon as 2 years after your Chapter 7 or in as little as 12 months of on time payments and permission from the court on a chapter 13.

Don't wait 7 years and then try to buy a house, you will be disappointed. Be proactive and show the credit world that you have learned from your previous wicked ways and that you have been rehabilitated.

Talk to a professional, ask them to help guide and plan your credit future. (do not pay them more than is reasonable for a few hours of work). The only professionals that I know that really know credit are Mortgage Professionals and not bank employees.

Mortgage Brokers look at credit on a daily basis and should have gone through some sort of sponsored training. Offer to pay them $50-150 to talk to you about it.

Post 3

I was wondering the same thing, 2001 I was hoping would be removed but not so.

I am trying to find answer but not much luck yet.

Post 2

i file for bankruptcy in 2002. mine is still on my reports.

Post 1

my bankruptcy was discharged in 2002 at the time the law was that it would stay on my credit for 7 years. it was years later that the bankruptcy laws were changed making it 10 years. as far as I knew I was grandfathered in under the original terms of my discharge, but when I checked my credit reports they were saying the estimated time of removal was 2012. this upsets me as I was expecting this to be removed this year.

am I correct that this should come off this year? it seems illegal to change my terms years after the discharge.

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