How long the bankruptcy filing information will stay on your credit reports?

Credit Report

The length of time that a bankruptcy filing stays on your credit report is governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA allows credit bureaus (also known as “credit reporting agencies”) to display bankruptcies on your credit report for 10 years.

Notwithstanding the FCRA, the big credit reporting agencies have their own policies of reporting the bankruptcy filings. Customarily, Chapter 7 bankruptcies remain on one’s credit report for 10 years from the date the case was filed. By contrast, Chapter 13 bankruptcies typically remain on the credit report 7 years from the date the case was filed.  To add clarity, if you complete, for instance, a 5-year Chapter 13 Plan, that means that the record of your bankruptcy case would stay on your credit report for only two more years after the completion of your case.

Also keep in mind that federal court records may include older history of case filings. Your credit report will include a notation about bankruptcy filing regardless of whether the bankruptcy is discharged (completed successfully); thus, a non-discharged or dismissed bankruptcy will also remain on your credit report 7 to 10 years. The bankruptcy laws are complex and continuously evolving, understanding them can prove difficult, and the number of procedural steps can also be exceedingly   complicated. A competent attorney who understands these complexities can give you advice and counsel based on your unique situation, and prepare your case right the first time, while making sure it all works for you.

Nevertheless, just because the bankruptcy filing stays on your credit report, certainly does not mean you cannot take steps in the interim to improve your credit score: Keep an eye on your credit reports by routinely monitoring them (I recommend getting a copy of your credit reports every 6 months). Make sure all items that have been discharged in the bankruptcy are deleted, and there are no further mistakes. In addition to these, obtaining one or more secured credit cards and continually making all payments on time will help your credit score rebound significantly faster. Similarly, many lenders will still want to do business with you and extend you new credit lines, as soon as within a period of less than a year. This is because the discharge obtained in bankruptcy case leaves all future earnings free from the past creditors. Some creditors essentially see you as less of a risk because you cannot file another bankruptcy for several years, which in return, reduces the risk of their credits being eliminated in a bankruptcy discharge.

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Gokhan Yazici

Gokhan Yazici is an experienced attorney and counsellor practicing in the state of New York. He is specialized in U.S. Immigration Law, Corporate & Business Law, Business Transactions, Commercial Litigation, International Trade & U.S. Customs Law. Mr. Yazici holds an LL.B. degree from Istanbul University Law School and an LL.M. degree from Temple University James Beasley School of Law.