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How Can I Rebuild My Credit After Bankruptcy?  

 

Bankruptcy has a long-lasting impact on a person's credit rating, and on his or her ability to obtain credit in the future. The impact is not entirely negative. In some cases, filing bankruptcy may actually improve a bad credit rating. In addition, there are a number of steps a person can take to improve his or her credit after bankruptcy. 

 

Most of the debtors who consider filing bankruptcy already have poor credit histories. Their credit ratings have suffered because of slow payments, late payments, repossessions, extended credit, charge-offs, foreclosures or judgments. After their bankruptcy, however, the discharged debts will no longer count against their income, so their credit may be better after the discharge than it was before. In addition, while a bankruptcy case will remain on an individual's credit report for up to ten years; late payments stay on for up to seven years, so the effects are similar. Bankruptcy, however, gives consumers a chance to improve their credit faster because they will have an improved debt-to-income ratio after discharge. 

 

In some cases, individuals may be able to keep one of their credit cards even after bankruptcy. They may retain a card that they already have but that has no debt on it, or they may reaffirm a debt on a card, which means that they sign a contract with the credit card company after filing bankruptcy that says the debt will be paid anyway if the holder is allowed to keep the card. Some companies are willing to agree to this arrangement because they will be paid for the debt, whereas without reaffirming the entire debt could be discharged in the bankruptcy proceeding.

 

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