While bankruptcy provides immense relief to those who are in over their head in debt, the record of said bankruptcy on a credit report often brings new financial hurdles to overcome. Depending on the type of bankruptcy filed, a bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years and drastically lower your credit score. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait 10 years to start rebuilding credit. By following these three simple steps, you can begin to see improvement your credit score right away:
1. Stay on top of your credit report
After filing for bankruptcy, you should get in the habit of checking your credit report regularly to monitor for inaccuracies. Individuals should ensure their bankruptcy filing date is accurate and that all debts discharged by the bankruptcy process are showing up as removed on their report. Legally, you can obtain free credit reports annually from each of the three major credit bureaus.
2. Explore alternatives for rebuilding credit
Bankruptcy can hurt your ability to qualify for traditional, unsecured credit cards. However, there are still certain types of credit that may be available to you, even with a bankruptcy on your credit report. Retail or gas credit cards, for example, usually have looser requirements to qualify for a card – though they may have much higher interest rates than traditional credit cards. Alternatively, secured credit cards require an upfront deposit that protects the lender if you cannot make your payments.
3. Become an authorized user
If you have a trusted friend or relative with excellent or excellent credit history, you could consider asking to become an authorized user on one of their credit card accounts. As an authorized user, you’ll reap the benefits of their on-time payments and positive account history without hurting their credit history score. You also aren’t responsible for paying off the card – you just have to make sure you choose someone accountable with their credit.
Getting your finances back on track after filing for bankruptcy isn’t an easy journey. However, by working to steer your credit score in the right direction and staying on top of your payments, you can begin to improve your credit score immediately.