How does bankruptcy affect your credit score? Behm Law Group Ltd. explains.
It should go without saying that filing for bankruptcy can carry with it certain consequences. While bankruptcy protections are in place to relieve many of the burdens of crushing, intolerable debt, filing for bankruptcy can impact your life in many ways over the next several years.
Perhaps most notably is the impact bankruptcy will have on your credit score. Following a bankruptcy, it’s still possible to obtain credit cards and loans. However, creditors will sometimes ask that you have a co-signer (someone with good credit who will assume responsibility for the debt with you). People who file bankruptcy will have the bankruptcy reflected on their credit histories anywhere from 1 to 7 years, irrespective of whether one files a chapter 13 bankruptcy or a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Both types of bankruptcy will reflect the same on credit histories. Sometimes people who have filed for bankruptcy relief or who have gone through a foreclosure will have to wait 3 years after the bankruptcy or foreclosure to qualify for a home mortgage through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
While bankruptcy can negatively impact your credit history—which may not have been too great to begin with—you can start to repair your credit history almost as soon as you complete your bankruptcy process. Be sure to accurately and honestly reflect your bankruptcy situation. Potential creditors will want that information noted up-front so they can assess your credit risk. To most creditors, a bankruptcy filing simply represents a point in time. To them, the time predating the bankruptcy filing represents a time full of economic chaos and incredible financial uncertainty. The time after a bankruptcy filing represents financial order and economic balance. Most creditors will work with you following a bankruptcy because they know that they will not have to compete with pre-existing bankruptcy creditors for your payments because those creditors will have been discharged; they know that they will be first in line. Also, they will know that you will not be able to file for bankruptcy relief again for several years. They know that they could pursue collection action against you for several years if you do not pay them.
Unsecured credit after bankruptcy can be obtained. However, to improve your credit, you should look to secured credit, if possible, by placing money in the bank that’s equal to or more than the credit limit you’re looking to secure. Putting money away for a secured loan or credit can be challenging, particularly following bankruptcy, but the goal is to repair your credit history as much as possible and getting a secured line of credit is a good way to do it.
Any student loans you have will likely not be discharged through bankruptcy, so those debts will remain and they can be a ticking time bomb to your credit history if they go unpaid. Pay them on time, and pay over the minimum payment when possible, because that will likewise improve your damaged credit history.
There are companies that specialize in repairing credit history and credit scores, but they can be very expensive, and they’re not all reputable. In fact, some even engage other people who voluntarily allow the companies to “ghost” credit histories. The companies do not engage in identity theft. However, some people with good credit will, for a fee, allow credit repair companies to use their good credit standings and “ghost” those good credit standings for people with poor credit histories. Do your research before approaching a credit repair outfit but the best course may be to just stay away from them.
The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group Ltd. are experts at advising how best to rebuild your credit history following bankruptcy, and we’re happy to guide you accordingly. If you’re facing a bankruptcy situation of your own, Behm Law Group Ltd. can provide expertise in guiding you through the process and explaining what you can expect following filing for bankruptcy. We proudly serve Mankato, MN, and all of Southern Minnesota. We stand ready to help you through your stressful financial ordeal. Give Behm Law Group Ltd. a call today!