How Long Does a Chapter 7 Stay on Your Credit?

How long does a Chapter 7 bankruptcy stay on your credit report? 7 years from the date it is filed.

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How long does a Chapter 7 bankruptcy stay on your credit report?

Chapter 7 bankruptcies stay on your credit report for 10 years from the date they are filed. This can make it difficult to get approved for new credit, although there are some lenders who are willing to work with people who have recently filed for bankruptcy.

How can you improve your credit score after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

It’s no secret that filing for bankruptcy can be tough on your credit score. In fact, according to FICO, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can cause your score to drop anywhere from 130 to240 points. And the effects can last for years — a full seven to 10 years, in fact. But just because your score takes a hit after bankruptcy doesn’t mean you’re destined to have bad credit forever. In fact, there are steps you can take to start rebuilding your credit as soon as your bankruptcy is discharged.

1. Check your credit report for errors
One of the first things you should do after your bankruptcy is discharged is to order a copy of your credit report from all three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You’re entitled to one free report from each bureau every 12 months, and you can order them online at Once you have your reports in hand, go through them carefully and look for any errors or outdated information. If you find anything that’s inaccurate, dispute it with the credit bureau in question.

2. Get a secured credit card
If you have trouble getting approved for a traditional credit card after bankruptcy, a secured card might be a good option for you. With a secured card, you have to put down a cash deposit — typically $200-$500 — which acts as collateral in case you don’t make your payments. Because they require collateral, most secured cards are easier to get approved for than traditional cards. And if used responsibly, they can help you rebuild your credit by reporting your payments to the major credit bureaus each month. Just make sure to shop around before you apply — not all secured cards are created equal. Look for one with low fees and high limits that reports to all three major bureaus so you can maximize its impact on your score.

3. Get a co-signer
If you’re having trouble getting approved for any type of loan or line of credit after bankruptcy — even with a cosigner — look into offered by the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund). CDFIs are private financial institutions that work specifically with underbanked and underserved populations, including people who have filed for bankruptcy. They offer loans and lines of credit with more flexible terms than what’s typically available from banks and other traditional lenders. So if you’ve been turned down elsewhere, CDFIs might be worth looking into.

What are some other ways to improve your credit score?

There are a few other things you can do to help improve your credit score:

-Keep your balances low. High balances can hurt your credit score, even if you make all of your payments on time. Try to keep your balances below 30% of your credit limit.

-Pay off your debts as soon as possible. The sooner you can pay off your debts, the better for your credit score.

-Be patient. It takes time to build up a good credit history and improve your credit score. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a few mishaps along the way. Just keep working at it and eventually you’ll see results.

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