Many considerations go into play when one considers bankruptcy as an option for getting out from under the oppressive weight of debt. One of the biggest considerations is how it affects credit scores, because your score has never been more important than it is today.
Credit scores can determine the cost of future purchases. For instance, lenders and insurance agents will look at your score and determine what they can offer you, and if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, you’re not going to get the kind of deal a person with better credit scores can achieve. Credit scores are important when buying a house, obviously, but they also matter to property management as you apply to live in an apartment or condominium. Finally, credit scores can even come into play when you apply for a job, particularly if the position is in finance.
If you’re considering bankruptcy as an option but don't want the stigma attached, think about what you’ll do to your score if you continue to make late payments (or no payments) on your overdue credit cards and other debts. The result could be the same or worse compared to what happens when you declare bankruptcy. Seeking counsel on the matter is advised.
- There is no way around it – bankruptcy will hurt your FICO® score. FICO® takes into account the scores from three credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Every case is different, so there isn’t a blanket answer for how much your credit scores will drop after bankruptcy.
The impact that bankruptcy has on your score depends on several factors, but your entire credit profile will be taken into account to determine how much the score falls. For instance, if you had a high score before going bankrupt, you’ll see a dramatic drop, perhaps more than 220 points. If your score was already low due to months and months of late payments, the drop will be less dramatic. Furthermore, people who have a long list of accounts on the bankruptcy filing will see more of an impact on their score than those with only a few accounts listed.
- Chapters 7 and 11 bankruptcies will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. Chapter 13 bankruptcies will remain for seven years, but in some cases can last as long as 10 years.
There are ways to help offset the damage a bankruptcy does to your score, including adding positive credit, like secured credit cards and installment loans. Car loans can assist in repairing credit, but only if you stay current on your payments. Finally, if you can get a credit card through your preferred retailers, this can also boost your score. Be mindful of the higher interest rates on these cards as they are usually above and beyond the traditional credit cards offered through the big banks.
- You might see an influx of credit card offers after bankruptcy, but be aware that these often come with low limits and high interest rates. Many of these credit card companies will target you with products that have high annual fees. Be sure to review the terms of the offer carefully before you submit.
Bankruptcy isn’t something you should handle on your own. Get the advice from legal experts who know how to assist you. Szabo Law Group can help guide you through the process and provide options that can assist in repairing your credit score.