Individuals contemplating filing for bankruptcy often express concern about its potential impact on their credit score. While it is accurate that a bankruptcy can persist on a filer’s credit report for a maximum of ten years and considerably lower their score, disregarding bankruptcy in favor of allowing debts to be sent to collections can yield an equally detrimental credit effect. Hence, while credit impact alone should not solely determine the decision to file for bankruptcy, it unquestionably warrants careful consideration.
The impact of bankruptcy on one’s credit score depends on whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed. Usually, filing either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy results in a credit score decrease of approximately 160 to 220 points. This reduction significantly affects one’s credit and can make it challenging to qualify for loans, given that financial institutions often base lending decisions on credit scores.
However, with the passage of time, the impact of bankruptcy-related items on the credit report diminishes. Thus, filing for bankruptcy may be preferable to letting debts go into collections. Additionally, there are various measures that bankruptcy filers can take to improve their credit scores. For instance, making consistent post-petition payments on new credit accounts and reaffirmed debt can help in raising the credit score and quickly reestablishing creditworthiness.
Regarding credit report issues, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stay on a debtor’s credit report for up to ten years. However, since most debts associated with Chapter 7 bankruptcy are discharged within a few months of the case’s conclusion, they are generally removed from the credit report several years before the bankruptcy itself is removed. Discharged debts are typically eliminated from the credit report after 7 years.
On the other hand, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can remain on a debtor’s credit report for up to seven years. Discharged debts under Chapter 13, unlike those under Chapter 7, stay on the credit report for up to seven years after the discharge. Moreover, since many debts remain active in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy until the creditors are fully repaid as per the repayment plan’s terms, discharged Chapter 13 debts might remain on the credit report longer than the actual bankruptcy.