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The State of Your Credit Report Seven Years After Bankruptcy

Written by Diane Moogalian on September 16, 2015 in Credit  |   14 comments

The Great Recession started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. Though it officially lasted only 19 months, it decimated millions of consumers’ financial lives. There were more than 8 million jobs lost, and in 2008 alone more than 1 million Americans filed for…

SevenYearsAfterBankruptcyThe Great Recession started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. Though it officially lasted only 19 months, it decimated millions of consumers’ financial lives. There were more than 8 million jobs lost, and in 2008 alone more than 1 million Americans filed for bankruptcy. Those bankruptcies appeared on consumers’ credit reports and impacted their credit scores.

Now, more than seven years after the beginning of the Great Recession, some consumers who filed for bankruptcy may begin seeing changes to their credit reports.

There are different types of bankruptcy, but the most common are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Both types help consumers get a handle on their debt, but they each do it in a different way.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must establish a repayment plan to pay back some of your debts. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for as long as 10 years. If the bankruptcy is completed or discharged, it is generally removed after seven years. If you’re one of the millions of people who filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy early in the Recession and whose debts were discharged, you may soon see the bankruptcy fall off your credit report.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, on the other hand, will only fall off your report after 10 years. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is no repayment plan and generally a majority of your debts are discharged as the bankruptcy is completed.

What to expect seven years after bankruptcy

While the public record of the bankruptcy may remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, the individual accounts included in bankruptcy remain on your credit report for less time—seven years from the original delinquency date that led to the bankruptcy status.

If one of these items does not fall off your credit report after the time allotted by law, you can file a dispute with one or more of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies (CRAs).

While a bankruptcy remains on your credit report, you may find it difficult to get approved for new credit. In fact, while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is pending, you must first seek court approval before applying for new credit. If you are approved, you may find that you are required to pay higher interest rates and fees.

Steps to consider after bankruptcy

After bankruptcy, it’s important to maintain a solid credit history. You may also want to pull a copy of your credit report and ensure that the applicable debts reflect that they were included in your bankruptcy. Consumers are entitled to one free annual credit report from each of the three CRAs through AnnualCreditReport.com. Continually monitoring your credit report can be one good way to help ensure that negative information falls off on time and that your positive credit behavior is being reported to the CRAs.

While you are waiting for negative information to fall off your credit report, you might want to consider writing a personal statement explaining the bankruptcy or any late payments. While this statement won’t impact your credit score, it does give you an opportunity to explain your adverse circumstances.

Diane Moogalian is vice president of operations for Equifax Personal Information Solutions. Prior to joining Equifax in 2007, Diane held several strategic roles with leading financial services companies.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. Nancy M. says:

    I filed for bankruptcy on 4/1/13. A few of the trade lines reported delinquencies in months following the bankruptcy filing, which I understood they should not have done under the “automatic stay”, butthey did so anyway. I tried disputing this several times and Equifax kept replying with “the information is confirmed as accurate”. Just recently, I pulled a new Equifax credit report and several trade lines have all of a sudden changed the first delinquency date to 3/2013, which was not on previous credit reports. I was not late in 3/2013. Why did Equifax allow this to happen? What can I do? I no longer have access to those accounts on-line since I used the internet to receive my statements and pay the amounts due, which were always done timely.

  2. William A. says:

    I filed Bankruptcy due to being overcome with colon cancer and was in a position out of state to where I could not run my business because of the immediate attention I had to give to the cancer I had. I had to make a choice of my life or my company and so I was forced to file chapter 7. I was treated from 2010 to 2011 and since, I have paid on time any credit I still possess. It has been a hard road to start over when so much is still burdening my credit. Paying my bill’s on time has helped, but not enough to jump start a company back up. I could be in the happy hunting ground before my credit is worthy of a Bank to consider me not a risk. I will still keep trying.

  3. Ryan T says:

    I have two public records on my credit reports because of my incompetent attorney. One was dismissed and one was discharged. Why should I have to wait 10 years for a mistake by my attorney? I was not the one who reviewed the file or asked for the bankruptcy to be discharged. Now, our credit scores will be impacted for another 5 years because of a mistake that was out of our control. Our bankruptcy was because of poor lending practices and prepayment penalties.

  4. Patricia says:

    My name is Patricia and my question is who can I talk to about my Bankruptcy is there a Phone number of steps to take after my Bankruptcy thanks

  5. John M. P. says:

    In 2007 my business was affected when the Insurance company I used to reinsure our products went bankrupt. I was literally wiped out overnight. In 2006 I had a serious fall in Boston while calling on an account. I had several operations starting in 2006 thru 2010. Because these events took place almost simultaneously I was unable to work and had no choice but to file for Bankruptcy even though all my accounts were current my attorney advised I might be liable for claims incurred by the businesses who sold my insurance products since Virginia Surety was no longer insuring those claims. My house payment at the time was almost $5000.00 and I could not keep up. I became disabled and was on SSDI which was a fraction of my previous earnings per month. I have tried to maintain my obligations to the best of my ability since.

  6. April says:

    Thaink you! Equifax is the only bureau that now gives the consumer tips instead of the creditors! Thank you this should be taught in high schools as no one knows this coming into adulthood on their own! Student loans are also a huge deal could you help the generation after the baby boomers as student loans play a huge impact and we were never told and majority paid for their own tuition! Thanks!

  7. Kathy L says:

    So the real question that is never clear – is it 10 years for a Chapter 7 and 7 years for a Chapter 13 from the date of filing or from the date of discharge?

  8. Tldrknhdsome says:

    What if the credit bureau will not remove a debt that was included in a chapter 13. Also, how long does the credit bureau have to verify information before they have to remove it, 30 days?

  9. KLM says:

    Great story. The BK stays for 10 years but the accounts are only allowed for 7 years. Never knew that.

  10. EFX Moderator says:

    Thanks for the comment, KLM. Glad the information was useful to you.

  11. luis says:

    Id like to report even after a BK and several foreclosures, I have been able to refi several of my rental properties. Iam a landlord with 40 properties lost 5 or six of them but slowly climbing back up. I think the banks realize that more entrepreneur investor types are needed in this environment. You have to keep pushing work hard and don’t give up.

  12. Asia says:

    How to remove discharged chapter 7 public record statement from my credit report?
    TransUnion has removed it, however, Equifax and Experian are refusing to removing. I know there are particular items that must appear in order for this record to exist, I just do not know what they are.

  13. Maria says:

    I filed for Chapter 13 5/2009. The bankruptcy information has fallen off but I seem to be going back and forth with Equifax to remove the bankruptcy information from the creditors. Although I have disputed they are coming back that the information is accurate, as a matter of fact one of the creditors came back stating included in Chapter 7, which never occurred. Is there someone I can contact who will understand the issue? There seems to be a disconnect when explaining what should be reported.

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