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Article updated by Mia Taylor May 21, 2018

Filing for bankruptcy in order to deal with overwhelming debts can be a frightening and confusing prospect.

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    But if you’re among those who have opted to use this approach in order to turn a troublesome financial picture around, you’re probably wondering what the next step should be. And more importantly, how long it takes to get that bankruptcy removed from your credit reports.

    The good news is, bankruptcy filings don’t mean the end of obtaining credit and in fact you can try to speed up the removal process, while also rebuilding your financial profile quite successfully.

    The Two Types of Bankruptcy

    To begin with, it’s important to understand that there are two types of bankruptcy.

    Chapter 7 bankruptcy is full liquidation of your assets and it does not involve filing a repayment plan. Instead assets are sold and the proceeds are used to cover the debts. It takes 10 years (from the date of filing) for this type of bankruptcy to come off your credit report.

    Chapter 13 bankruptcy on the other hand allows individuals to develop a plan to repay some or all of their debts over the course of three to five years. The bankruptcy itself will automatically be deleted from your report seven years from its filing date.

    Can You Speed up the Removal Process?

    Under some circumstances it may actually be possible to get a bankruptcy removed from your credit report sooner than expected.

    “There is a big misconception that bankruptcy cannot be removed from a credit report and that you have to sit out seven to 10 years,” says Ash Exantus, director of financial education and a financial empowerment coach at BankMobile.The truth of the law or the way law is written, there’s a maximum amount of time a bankruptcy can remain on your report, but there is no minimum amount of time.”

    In other words, there’s nothing stopping you from getting that bankruptcy removed before seven to ten years.

    How do you do that exactly? File a dispute with the three credit bureaus.

    Review your bankruptcy filing and the items related to your bankruptcy that appear on your credit report carefully, advised Exantus. If you find any incorrect information, you can file a dispute.

    “If there is anything that’s inaccurate on a credit report, it must be removed,” Exantus continued. “The bankruptcy has to be reported correctly. You want to make sure that’s the case. Names, social security numbers, personal information, must all be reported correctly. Any error in the way it was reported is grounds for having it removed from your credit report.”

    In addition, when you file a dispute with the credit bureau it must be verified and validated in order for it to remain on your credit report. If the items you are disputing were not verified properly or if they are not verified within 30 days of your dispute by the credit bureaus, they must be removed from the report and this includes bankruptcies.

    Turning Your Financial Picture Around

    Before you start thinking about when you might be able to get that next credit card or line of credit again, it’s important to make sure you correct whatever behaviors got you into trouble in the first place.

    “First and foremost, and most people don’t realize this, before getting back into the credit game or applying for anything, make sure your financial habits are fixed,” said Exantus. “Whatever you did that required filing bankruptcies, you now need to establish good financial habits. That includes things like paying yourself first, saving money, creating an emergency fund. All of these things are so directly tied to credit and the ability to manage credit and money.”

    When Can You Get a Line of Credit Again?

    Once you’ve established good financial habits, the best way to start rebuilding your credit profile and score is to obtain a secured loan of some type. This includes secured credit cards from a bank or a line of credit.

    “Most banks will approve you for an approved secured credit card a few years after filing bankruptcy. That should be the next step someone takes,” Exantus said.

    In addition, don’t be surprised if you start receiving credit card offers during the seven to 10 years that a bankruptcy remains on your report. Credit card companies make more from customers who have low credit scores or bankruptcies.

    “You are a prime candidate for credit because most credit card companies know that a person has filed for bankruptcy and that they are going to want to get credit again. And they know they can charge you a higher interest rate because you have a lower credit score,” Exantus added.

    Filing Bankruptcy is Not the End of the World

    While bankruptcies may be a somewhat unpopular topic or continue to carry a stigma socially, there can be a silver lining to going down this road.

    “From credit perspective, it’s a master reset on your credit, you are starting from scratch,” said Exantus. “And I’ve personally seen people who have filed for bankruptcy and in a couple of years their scores are in the high 700 or 800 range – because they have established better financial habits.”

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    Image: iStockphoto

    This article has been updated. This article was originally published April 18, 2013.

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    • http://coinpayoff.me Jaime Pagan

      wow good deal mikeh

    • TerryE58

      Question? In 2008 I had to file bankrupcy due Multiple Scelosis,lost my job,had to use up my credit cards,savings,using a lawyer and so on…Fast forward now to 2016,Had my credit fixed I thought,but its messed up again due to having to fixed my car over 8,000,lent I thought was a friend 5,800 was “suppose to pay me back” but never did,then this past year the state of Connecticut decided to cut things for the disablec ie (me)! So I had to buy food with my credit cards so on….
      Anyway,I am about 19,000 in debt! Can I apply for bankrupcy again? I am losing sleep, migraines,2 flareups because of this! I know I wont lend to no one ever AGAIN! I just thought,they would!
      I am on social security now,back in 2008,I had just started…I have no choice but to, Any Ideas or Answers No rude remarks please, Thank You!

    • tmcc

      can you build up your credit score with a bankruptcy listed on the report..I have establised my credit once again but still have a bankruptcy listed on the report.. I can’t get credit with any so call major companies but i still have good credit.

    • tmcc

      can you still build up your credit score with a bankruptcy on the report. I mean can you still gain a high score?

      • Jeanine Skowronski

        Hi, Tmcc,

        The effects of the bankruptcy will lessen as you get further away from it, but it will take up to ten years to age off of your report completely. In the meantime, you can help mitigate the damage by making on-time payments, avoiding unnecessary credit inquiries and keeping credit card balances low (below at least 30, but ideally 10 percent of their limits.)

        Thank you,


    • Ruth

      I believe it is time the American government reviews the bankruptcy/credit matter. The government does not have your/our personal life issues that brought an individual/couple to file bankruptcy. The government perceives we are reckless individuals re managing our finances. For us and many others, bankruptcy was due to medical. To support my statement on medical, I will give you two examples: Example (1).Daughter diagnosed dyslexia who needed to be rehabilitated in language. Public school system was not able to provide the appropriate education, even with an IEP. School system’s special education director politically tied into the state government. Hmm. Read between the lines! Unfortunately, we exhausted all educational mediation options, so we had no other choice, but to hire legal counsel. (Husband was in business with 2 partners at this time. We opted to have our partnership bought out, because we needed the immediate cash to pay the professional team advocating for our daughter.) The local educational school system and the state special educational department were changing their strategy every day to try and break us and my daughter so, there would be no case. If, the school system had serviced our daughter as required under Fed Law and State Law, then we would not have been in a position needing to file bankruptcy. The school system knew she needed this special teaching method, Orton Gillingham, at age 5, but did nothing!) The school system’s plan was to socially promote her, as school systems have and are doing across this country. Example (2) I fell and broke my wrist. Eight weeks later, when the doctor took the external fixator and cast off, I could not move my shoulder to my hand. My hand was shaped and locked in a lobster claw shape. Multiple medical errors. Permanently disabled with a hand contracture. I had a solid malpractice case, but because American Tort Law is obsolete, doctors prevail 95% and patient 5%. Since very difficult to prevail on that percentage, we had to
      accept there would be no compensation for the doctor’s negligence. No compensation received from the negligent doctor. Meanwhile, I went through 2 more surgeries and 3 years PT (Total time including at PT institution 3x/week. Total per day PT = 19Hrs./24Hrs.) Malpractice doctor is still out practicing, today, meanwhile he admitted I was one of 4, that he made medical errors on! We had medical insurance, but much was not covered by the insurance. Only, a wealthy person could have paid the outrageous medical bills. So, we were left with no other alternative, other then to file bankruptcy. Consequently, like many of you, we are now marked for years with 2 bankruptcies on our credit report. If, only the government knew how devastating it is to have to decide to file bankruptcy, especially when we did nothing wrong! The educational and medical systems are in the wrong, but we have been penalized emotionally and on credit reports/public records! Thank you for reading. I wish you all the best.

    • Barbara Goldfuss

      I filed for bankruptcy in oct.of 2005,10 yrs. ago. Will this bankruptcy automaticly fall off my credit report, or do I have to go through many exhausting head trips to get it off? I have my credit report coming ,from all 3 reporting companies, In 3 weeks.

      • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

        It should come off automatically (but you might want to give them 30 days . . .). If it does not, dispute it.

    • Lily Pie Molina

      Won’t happen

      • Ari

        I disagree. Please contact me as I know people that can help.

        • linda

          I would love to know who you know to get this removed

        • Cindy Step

          I am interested in who you know that can get bankruptcies removed..please contact me..

    • Tish J

      Billy Mac,

      I’m interested in knowing what your outcome was. I too, am experiencing the same dilemma. I filed Chapter 13 in 2008 and converted 2012 with almost 4 years of payment history. I have since mailed off a dispute to all 3 Credit Bureaus asking for a deletion due to the fact that I have made payments to the creditors. I have searched high and low looking for laws/rules that govern the deletion time frame for converting a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 and have found none. Considering that I read on one of Experian’s credit forum stating Chapter 13 will be deleted after 7 years for payments being to creditors and Chapter 7 10 years due to no payments being made at all, I am praying to God they will delete mine because I have made 4 years of payment via payroll deductions. When my results come back I will re post.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Have you disputed it? That’s your first step. Please read: A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      That’s a really interesting question. By law, bankruptcy can be reported for ten years from the filing date. The fact that the major credit reporting agencies remove Chapter 13 cases 7 years after filing is voluntary. So they aren’t under any legal obligation to remove it that I am aware of. However, the intent of that program is to give you “credit” so to speak for repaying some of your debt. You could try filing a complaint with the CFPB and see what happens…I’d be interested in the results.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I don’t know how to retrieve the passwords if you lost them. But you can create a new request – I just did that myself for my annual review and it worked fine.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Unfortunately if you file bankruptcy it will remain on your credit reports for ten years, even if you never went through with it. The filing is a matter of public record, and that is what is being reported. You may want to check with your attorney to see he or she has any suggestions.

    • mikeh

      Capital one issued me a credit card for $4,000 in less than a month after discharge and another about 5 months after discharge for an additional $3,000. High rate, but no fees…

    • Pingback: How Getting Out of Debt Can Hurt Your Credit | Best Credit Repair()

    • http://none Wendy dorr

      I have a low credit score, if anyone can recommend a credit card for a low credit score, let me know. also, what is a secured credit card? Thank you for your help

      • Credit.com

        A secured card is a card that you pay an up front cash deposit in order to obtain the card. The cash deposit acts as a sort of guarantee that the bank is covered if you default on the account. The credit limit is based on the amount of your deposit. Secured cards can be used to help you rebuild credit. Another option is to become an authorized user on a well-established credit card. If your scores are low and you’re having trouble qualifying for a credit card, these are both options to consider. At least until you’re able to rebuild and improve your credit scores enough to qualify for more traditional lending products. Here’s a little more information on how to rebuild your credit with secured cards, how authorized users work, and what to do before you apply for a credit card:

        Rebuilding Your Credit
        Becoming An Authorized User On Someone Else’s Credit Card to Improve Your Credit Score
        A Secured Card Can Help You Rebuild Your Credit
        The First Thing to Do Before Applying for a Credit Card 

        If your credit is poor and you’re trying to determine which card to apply for, you can use Credit.com’s credit card comparison feature for credit cards for poor credit here: http://www.credit.com/credit-cards/bad-credit/.

      • marilyn vp

        credit one is good but there is an annual fee, i cant really find a card without one at this point!

      • deejay

        capital one is surprisingly lienient.. try them… may be a low amount but use it and pay it off for 6 months and it will go up in credit

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