How can I raise my credit score after bankruptcy?

Three steps to improving your credit score after bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for up to ten years, regardless of whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, despite the fact that the bankruptcy is noted on your report, that doesn't mean your credit will be terrible for the entire ten years. You can improve your credit after a bankruptcy by following these three main steps:

  1. Pay back any remaining debts regularly and on time. If you agreed to repay any debts like car loans or mortgage loans, or if you have debts that bankruptcy could not wipe out, such as student loans, you can use these debts to start rebuilding your credit. Make all your payments on these debts before the due date, and make the full minimum payment every time. Pay more than the minimum payment if you can. The creditors will report your diligence to the credit reporting agencies, and your credit score will increase the longer you maintain good repayment habits. (To learn more, see Improving Credit After Bankruptcy.)
  2. If you have no debt after your bankruptcy, obtain a low-limit or secured credit card. Some people get rid of all their debt in bankruptcy. You will need to obtain new credit if you want to build your credit score. Your score will be low and it may seem difficult to get new credit following a bankruptcy, but many banks will offer low-limit credit cards or secured credit cards to individuals who have just finished bankruptcy. If you use these cards and repay them every month on time, you can raise your credit score. (To learn more, see Rebuilding Credit by Getting New Credit.)
  3. Check your credit report for accuracy. Order a credit report from each of the credit reporting bureaus. They are all independent agencies, and they may all have different information. Review your report and make sure everything listed there is accurate, including how much you owe on each debt and whether you still owe on those debts. You can report any errors to the bureau, which will investigate and revise your report based on its investigation results. (To learn more, see Cleaning Up Your Credit Report.)

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