Bankruptcy will cause a significant decrease in your credit score. It can be a scary time for anyone. The good news is bankruptcy will automatically be removed from your credit report after seven to 10 years. So you don’t have to do anything about removing dismissed bankruptcies on a credit report.
But what if you didn’t have a bankruptcy and you still see one on your credit report? You can get it off your credit report sooner than the normal seven to 10 years if it was a mistake. In that case, you’ll need to take steps to remove bankruptcies from a credit report, including contact information for all three credit bureaus.
How long does bankruptcy stay on a credit report?
Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for seven to 10 years. Whether it stays for seven or 10 years will depend on the chapter you file. Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be deleted seven years after the filing date and requires at least partial repayment of the debts owed. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is only deleted 10 years after the filing date because none of the debt is repaid.
Early removal of bankruptcy from your credit report
You can only remove bankruptcy from your credit report if it’s inaccurate. This can be if you never filed for bankruptcy but it’s showing on your credit report. It can also be if the credit report is showing Chapter 7 bankruptcy when you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
How to dispute bankruptcy errors on your credit report
How do you get bankruptcy off a credit report early? That’s only possible if it’s there in error. If the bankruptcy is an error on your credit report, you have the right to dispute it, as you would with all other incorrect information on your credit report. Here are the steps to take to remove bankruptcies from your credit report.
Review your credit report
Obtain your credit report and review the debt to ensure it’s a mistake. You can obtain a copy of all three credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion at Annual Credit Reports. You can also request your credit reports by phone at 877-322-8228 or by mail. You can download the form here and mail in your request.
Be sure to check your credit report for any other inaccuracies in addition to the bankruptcy before disputing all issues at once.
Gather relevant information
You’ll need to prove your case. For that, you’ll want to gather pay stubs, information on credit card payment history, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and any other debt. You’ll need to demonstrate that you never filed for bankruptcy. For the initial dispute, you’ll only need basic information like your name and Social Security number as well as information about the disputed entry as it’s stated on the credit report.
Contact a credit reporting agency
You can then call each of the three main credit bureaus and explain why the information is incorrect. Sometimes, that is enough to remove inaccurate information and an answer to the question of how to get bankruptcy off credit report early.
Here are the phone numbers:
- Experian: 888-397-3742
- Equifax: 888-378-4329
- TransUnion: 888-909-8872
At a minimum, they will put a note in your file that you will be disputing incorrect information.
File a dispute
To file a dispute to remove bankruptcies from your credit report if they are there in error, you can start by filling out a simple form provided by each of the credit bureaus. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides detailed guidance on how to dispute incorrect information to each of the three credit bureaus, including online forms, mail-in addresses, and phone numbers.
Wait until the information falls off your credit report
You can always wait until the information falls off your credit report. Credit bureaus will automatically remove bankruptcies from a credit report after seven or 10 years. For that, you don’t have to do anything. If, after the appropriate time, the bankruptcy is still on your credit bureau, you can call and ask when it will be removed. It may be that it is already in process.
How to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy
While there is only so much you can do to remove the bankruptcy from your credit report before either seven or 10 years, there are several steps you can take to rebuild your credit score.
Adopt a debt repayment strategy
If you have additional debt, now is the time to focus on clearing it. You can use whichever debt repayment strategy makes the most sense for you. The two most common are the snowball or avalanche methods.
In the snowball method, you focus on clearing the smallest debts first, working toward large debt. That means that if you have debt on three credit cards in the amounts of $500, $5,000, and $9,000, you’ll pay off the credit card with $500 in debt before moving on to the $5,000 debt and finally tackling the $9,000.
In the avalanche method, you focus on paying off the loans with the highest interest rates first. In the example above, if the same three cards had interest rates of 18%, 22%, and 27% respectively, you’d focus on the one with the 27% interest rate first. Even if that card has $9,000 in debt, in the long run, you’ll save more on interest by paying off that card first.
You can choose either method or another strategy. It’s more important to choose a debt repayment method you’ll stick with and build on than to worry too much about the strategy.
Make timely payments
On-time payments will build your credit score even after bankruptcy. On-time payments still make up 35% of your total credit score. Start building your credit score from Day 1 after bankruptcy with on-time payments.
Apply for a secured credit card
With a secured credit card, you pay a cash deposit upfront, which is used to guarantee your credit line. Secured credit cards can be an important first step to rebuilding credit after bankruptcy.
Consider a credit-builder loan
A credit-builder loan is a way to build your credit score. With a credit-building loan, you make fixed payments to the lender and get access to the funds at the end of the loan’s terms. This type of loan is specifically designed to help people with low credit scores to build up creditworthiness. Even if you don’t think you’ll need a loan in the near future, it’s worth taking a credit-builder loan specifically to start building your credit score.
Become an authorized user
Becoming an authorized user is one of the fastest ways to build your credit score. If you have a friend or family member with a high credit score or good credit history, you can ask them whether they are willing to add you as an authorized user. When they do this, they can choose whether they even give you access to the credit card in your name. They may choose to hold onto it, so you can’t make charges.
As long as they have added you as an authorized user, the credit-boosting effect is the same. You’ll benefit from their years of credit history, on-time payments, and good credit scores.
Final thoughts on how to remove bankruptcy from your credit report
Bankruptcy won’t ruin your credit score forever. Whether it appears on the report by mistake or it is a legitimate record, there are steps you can take to rebuild your credit starting today. With the steps above, you can be on your way to a better credit report — and less debt — this year.
When can you remove bankruptcies from your credit report?
You can’t remove bankruptcies from your credit report unless they are inaccurate. Bankruptcies will automatically be removed from your credit report after seven or 10 years.
How many points does your credit score go up when a bankruptcy drops off?
How many points your credit score goes up after a bankruptcy drops off varies, but it’s typical for your credit score to go up by 30 to 100 points after bankruptcy is removed.
Can you rebuild your credit score after bankruptcy?
Yes, you can rebuild your credit score after bankruptcy. With the tips above, you can start rebuilding your credit score from Day 1.