How to Use Your Credit Report to Rebuild Your Credit After Bankruptcy
If you’re nervous about filing bankruptcy because of what it can do to your credit, have no fear. As a Memphis bankruptcy firm, we’ve helped our clients prove it time and again: you absolutely can rebuild credit after bankruptcy. And your credit report will be a key tool in the process.
Will Bankruptcy Ruin Your Credit?
A lot of people are scared of bankruptcy because of what it can do to your credit. We always remind folks that by the time you’re considering bankruptcy, your credit is probably not very good to begin with.
But a bankruptcy does show up on your credit report (seven years for Chapter 13 and ten years for Chapter 7) and usually will impact your score. So it’s important to know how to rebuild it as quickly as possible.
With the right tools in hand and with some dedication, you absolutely can rebuild your credit. We’ve helped our clients rebuild their credit to an A rating, even after bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy isn’t the end of your financial future, and if you play your cards right, it will just be the beginning.
Getting a Copy of Your Credit Reports
Start by obtaining copies of your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You’re entitled to one free credit report from each bureau annually through AnnualCreditReport.com.
They are also a number of apps that can help you monitor your credit. These programs inform you of when and why your credit score changes. They also can detect signs of fraud. These aren’t the same as having access to your full credit report, but they can keep you advised as things change.
One other benefit of these apps is that as your credit improves, you’ll get alerts to let you know. It can be extremely encouraging to know your efforts are making a difference.
Check for Errors and Inaccuracies
Scrutinize your credit reports for any errors or inaccuracies. Common errors include:
- accounts incorrectly marked as delinquent
- accounts that don’t belong to you
- wrong addresses
- identifying you as someone else with the same name
- and more
Pay close attention to the bankruptcy entry to ensure it is accurately reported, including the filing date and status.
Dispute Inaccurate Information
If you identify errors or inaccuracies in your credit reports, take immediate action to dispute them. This can typically be done online through the credit bureaus’ websites. If by some chance that doesn’t work for you, you can also send a dispute letter to the credit bureaus directly.
Provide supporting documentation, like bankruptcy discharge papers or payment receipts. This can help strengthen your claim and speed up the process.
Monitor Your Progress
Regularly monitor your credit reports to track the progress of your disputes. The credit monitoring apps may be helpful for this.
Credit bureaus are required to investigate disputes within 30 days, and corrections should be reflected on your reports. The corrections usually fall under three categories: updated, deleted, or remains.
If you disagree with their decision, resubmit your dispute with stronger evidence to support your claim, if at all possible.
Rebuild Credit Responsibly
While technically monitoring your credit reports won’t increase your credit score, it’s a critical step to rebuilding your credit. It can keep you from being penalized for no reason or having a longer wait before your credit improves.
Other tools to rebuild your credit include:
- Getting a secured credit card and using small, on-time payments
- Creating a budget that allows you to live within your means
- Applying for a credit-builder loan
- Becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account
An Attorney to Help You Rebuild Credit After Bankruptcy
Our Memphis bankruptcy firm is dedicated to helping our clients rebuild their lives after a bankruptcy. We’re available at any time to answer your questions and help you through this process.
In fact, we’ve helped hundreds of clients get back to an A rating after bankruptcy. And we’ve published a free report called Life After Bankruptcy to help you with all the frequently asked questions that might come up.
Avoid credit repair companies that promise quick fixes for a fee. There are a lot of scams in the credit repair industry.
It will take time and focus. But with the right effort and a team of people who care about you on your side, you can absolutely rebuild credit after bankruptcy and get the fresh start you’ve wanted and needed for so long.
To get started on the process of filing bankruptcy with attorneys who will help you rebuild your credit, contact us today for a free appointment. You can reach us online or give us a call at 901-327-2100.