If you had to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, chances are you know it will affect your credit. Though some of your outstanding balances reduce to zero, those debts are technically unpaid, and your credit is still affected. The bankruptcy itself stays on your credit report for ten years after filing.
But there are ways to repair your credit after filing for bankruptcy. Taking steps to start the rebuilding process is vital to moving forward financially.
Monitor your credit
Make sure your score accurately reflects your new situation. Major credit reporting bureau Experian recommends checking your credit score a couple of months after the bankruptcy discharge. Companies like Experian grant consumers one free credit score report per year.
There are some alternative ways to keep an eye on your credit score, too. Some newer services allow you to monitor weekly changes to your report for free. Having an up-to-date record of changes can help you rebuild your confidence as you rebuild your credit.
Be aware, however, that these services may not always have entirely accurate score information. If you are planning to apply for any new loans or lines of credit, consider accessing your report the traditional way.
Add a new source
You may not be ready to open a new credit card yet, but there are ways to start rebuilding right away. You might consider applying for a credit builder loan. Alternatively, ask a family member with good credit card habits to add you as an authorized user on their account without giving you a card. His or her payment history can add a positive record to your account.