Five Common Questions About Credit and Bankruptcy

Many of you first time bankruptcy filers have common questions about how filing a bankruptcy can affect your credit history. Here are some possible answers to five questions you commonly ask:

  1. How do you get phone service after declaring bankruptcy?

    You most likely should have no problem getting a utility in your name, but you might expect to have to pay a larger deposit when they find out you have a bankruptcy on your record. A bankruptcy on your credit report might also limit what type of phone service may be available.

    An alternative to a standard phone service might be either a prepaid service or an internet phone service. These options are usually free of large deposits.

  2. If you filed for bankruptcy ten years ago, what is the date that this should be removed from your credit report?

    The rule is 10 years from the date filed. Some credit agencies will remove a Chapter 13 from their report as soon as 7 years from the date filed, but they are not required to remove the bankruptcy until the 10 year period is over.

  3. Ten years after a bankruptcy, are all included accounts removed from your credit report?

    Technically, accounts should drop off your credit reports no later than after seven years or the date of the statute of limitations for your state and that particular debt. All accounts that have been discharged through a bankruptcy should drop off your credit report the moment your bankruptcy discharges the debts, and the discharges are reported to the agencies.

    You will need to dispute any account that has not been dropped from your credit report within the time frame it should have. The accounts should at least show no more than “discharged through bankruptcy.”

  4. How do you get a credit card debt that was included in a bankruptcy removed from your credit report?

    Write a letter of dispute to each credit agency and send the letters certified. For identification purposes, provide your driver’s license number, your social security number, your address, and the state in which you live. You also might want to provide your telephone number, but that is optional.

    Enclose within the letter a copy of your bankruptcy document showing the referenced account. Ask the credit reporting agency to remove all but the “discharged through bankruptcy” notations from your report. Give the agencies time to correct their error and then request a free credit report to check for the correction.

  5. Can bankruptcy be removed from your credit report if you filed but did not complete the proceedings?

    Once you file for bankruptcy, the filing can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, even if the bankruptcy was dismissed. Filing bankruptcy is a serious matter and much thought should go into the process before you file.

Bankruptcy laws and associated credit issues can be complicated, and common sense indicates you might need a bankruptcy lawyer in order to help you understand how these complex laws and issues may apply in your particular situation.

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