After bankruptcy discharge: Getting back to good credit
Posted by Robert Weed / in After Bankruptcy / 166 comments
After bankruptcy discharge: Getting back to good credit
About two months and two weeks after your bankruptcy trustee hearing, you should get your bankruptcy discharge.
When you get the discharge, it’s time to go to work on your after bankruptcy good credit.
To get back to good credit, you need to get a credit card.
Most people get a couple credit card offers in the mail. You may have to pay $139.00 application fee to get a $300.00 credit card.
A $300.00 credit card can get you something that you really need–good credit after bankruptcy. Charge gasoline, or something you have to buy anyway, every month. Pay it in full every month.
After about six months, you’ll start getting pre-approved $1000.00 credit cards. I recommend you get three or four. (It helps your credit score to have higher credit limits–as long as you don’t use those high limits.)
Each week, drive around with a different credit card in your pocket and use it to charge that week’s gas. Each month when the bills come, pay them in full. (You are NOT trying to get back in debt.)
Three years of doing that and you’ll be back to good credit again.
What if I don’t get any after bankruptcy credit card offers?
Here’s the credit card page at bankrate.com. At the drop down window, search for “cards for bad credit.” They show about 40 cards.
Look for a card that tells you they report to the three credit bureaus. I see Orchard Bank Mastercard and Visa, the Capital One secured Mastercard, the Public Savings Bank secured Visa, and the Applied Bank Visa Gold card. Try one or two of those.
Is there anything else to improve my after bankruptcy credit?
Here’s a trick that works wonders if it applies to you. If there’s a credit union where you work, and you didn’t owe them any money in your bankruptcy, they might help you with a loan secured by your share savings account.
Here’s how that works. You put $200 in a savings account at the credit union. The credit union then lends you $200 until the next payday. You make a direct deposit that pays off the loan out of each paycheck. Then you borrow the money again.
This means you are paying interest on your own money. But it does wonders for your credit score. An example of what I mean is the Apple Federal Credit Union “Share Secured Loan.”
Does paying my car loan help my after bankruptcy credit?
One question people often ask me: Since I am paying my car loan, doesn’t that help me get back to good credit? The answer to that is, No. Unless you reaffirm your car loan–which I really do NOT recommend–you car is going to show on your credit as “discharged in bankruptcy.” That’s even if you continue to pay.
Here’s the reason for that. Even if you didn’t want to “include” your car in the bankruptcy, you can change your mind at any time. All you have to do is stop paying. They can–and will–repossess your car. But they cannot come after you for the money. They also cannot legally hit you with a repossession on your credit report. The bankruptcy protects you.
That’s why the credit bureaus show “discharged in bankruptcy” on your car loan–even if you are (now) still paying.
How important is my after bankruptcy credit?
Many people right after bankruptcy get offers from a car dealer. Within a few months, you’ll be able to get approved for a car loan–at about 29%!! You do not want to do that.
At 29% interest, you pay $18,000 in interest over five years on a $20,000 car.
If you work hard to rebuild your credit over three years, you should be able to get a car loan at less than 8%. (People in my after bankruptcy happiness survey reported 6.9% and 5.9% can loans. Some people, like Alice, are able to do a lot better.) At 8% over five years you pay $4000 in interest on a $20,000 car. That’s a difference of $14,000!
Each month that you do what I say–charge three tanks of gas and pay your cards on time–you knock almost $400 off what that car will cost you in interest! So please. Spend the next three years building back to good credit. And do not buy a car–if you have any way at all to get to work–until you’ve worked for three years rebuilding your after bankruptcy credit.
Getting your after bankruptcy credit report right.
A judge in California gave the credit bureaus have two months from your discharge to get your credit report right. (So there’s no need for you to pull your credit report before that two months is over.) The credit bureaus do get your credit report right most of the time. But not all of the time.
That’s why my office is ready to check your and fight for you if they are not right. We’ll check your credit report, but you have to get them to us. (Over the years I’ve tried various strategies to get them for you–but they have eventually outsmarted me on all of them.)
Here’s what to do. Three months from your discharge, please download your own credit reports and send them to us.
Please go to: annualcreditreport.com. (And please AVOID freecreditreport.com.) You can get one free credit report each year from each of the three bureaus at annualcreditreport.com.
Another way to get the credit reports, is to call the 800 numbers of each of the three credit bureaus.
Trans Union 1-800-888-4213
Please make a copy and mail them to us. Or print them to pdf and email to: [email protected]
One more thing–these credit reports are evidence. (At least if there’s something wrong and we sue, they are evidence.) For them to be evidence, we have to get them from the credit bureaus at one of the places they have designated.
Not from 3 in 1 resellers. Not from someone like freecreditreport.com. Anything that’s in a three column format won’t be good evidence.
Each credit bureau sells all three–and makes money doing it–but those aren’t good evidence. What Experian sells you as an Equifax report isn’t evidence of what Equifax is really saying.
You may subscribe to a service that alerts you when bad stuff hit’s your credit. Those services can be a good thing. But we can’t use those “third party” credit reports for either a dispute, or a legal action. I explain more, here.
Also, please don’t write on them. If you have some comments or questions, please email them or send them on another sheet of paper. Thanks.
Getting your after bankruptcy credit report right could save you hundreds of dollars, or even thousands, when you are ready to buy a car after bankruptcy. So please get back in touch with us.
PS Our promise to help you with bankruptcy errors on your credit report is good for five years. We’re starting to see errors pop up years after bankruptcy.
Jeff had a house got to foreclosure in 2008; and filed bankrutpcy with me in 2009. Suddenly, without warning, Ocwen started hitting his credit with 180 days late in December 2010. Jeff did a dispute, and, as back up, we filed papers in front of the bankruptcy court. By March it was fixed. (Since the dispute fixed it, we weren’t able to get any money for Jeff.)
Chris filed bankruptcy with us in 2011–and in the summer of 2013–Green Tree started hitting his credit report. Green Tree started calling, too. We complained to the bankruptcy judge about that double violation–and Green Tree made it right.
My bankruptcy was in 2007. After 3 years, I got a $300 credit card. I have used and paid it in full every month since…perfect record there. I also have a car loan that I am a co-borrower on with my husband. We’ve paid that perfectly for the past year and a half.
I decided it was time to apply for a new credit card. My score is around 699. Capital One sent the offer in the mail and then denied me. How can I ever get around this bankruptcy and get a decent credit card to use for travel, etc.?
Don’t know why you waited three years to get your first credit card. Your lawyer should have told you to get one back in 2007; you’d have great credit by now.
My chapter 7 discharge just took place on November 7.. I am very eager to now do whatever it takes to make sure the bureau’s have reported the information correctly after the discharge, and that I start to re establish in any way possible..
I had two vehicle repossessions on my bankruptcy. Is that going to affect me more than someone who filed bankruptcy with no reposessions? I am not planning on financing any vehicles anytime soon, but in 2 or 3 years when I am ready, does this mean that the interest may still be sky high?
Also, I was told that it may help if I was added as a card holder or authorized user on someone’s credit cards. Is that true? It’s too soon to start receiving letters for credit cards, but I am just trying to prepare.
Your after bankruptcy credit score does depend a little on how your credit was before your bankruptcy. To get back to good credit fastest, you want to go straight from current to bankruptcy. (Although hardly anyone ever does.) So those repossessions do hurt you a little.
Still if you rebuild carefully, three years after your discharge you should be way below ten percent on your interest rates for a car loan.
I am planning on filing for bankruptcy in a few months. I talked to a few attorneys who said to stop paying minimum payments on credit cards and stop paying the mortgage because it’s just like throwing money away at this point (I don’t plan to keep the house). If I do this, will my credit be affected more because of the late payments I had before filing as opposed to if I stayed current?
Your credit does recover faster if you go straight from current to bankruptcy, without having some months of late. For most of my clients, accumulating a little cash is more important–and most people come to see me because they can’t keep them current anyway. But yes, if you could afford to go straight from current to bankruptcy, the damage to your credit would be less.
Hello, I wanted to make sure that after my bankruptcy I keep my credit in order. You mentioned credit cards, and I am applying for those right now. Can you give any other tips to transitioning back to great credit (by the way my discharge was finalized 12/2011). Thanks so much I found your website very helpful.
I’ve written down all my thoughts on my blog here. Maybe i should come back to it some time and add more.
My ex husband and I filed for bankruptcy back in 2010 while we were still married. It was discharged in 11/2010. We signed a reaffermation letter to keep a travel trailer and the house in which he was supp to get in his own name 6 months after the divorce was final (divorce final in 12/10), which he was unable to due since his credit went down. I am now remarried and afraid to get joint banking accounts in fear that if he does not pay for the house (which he hasn’t since 8/10 and still lives there while it sits in foreclosure) and the travel trailer that they can come after my husbands income. Is this true or since everything was discharged will we be safe?
Are you sure that your lawyer let you sign a reaffirmation on the trailer and the house???? And you already were separating? Have you gone back to your lawyer to sure sure? You are an example of why that was a terrible idea? Really, did your bankruptcy lawyer know you were splitting up? I hope that you are just remembering this wrong.
(And what about your divorce lawyer? How did your divorce lawyer think your husband would be able to refi the house just in his name–if you were in the middle of a bankruptcy. For that matter, how did YOU think your husband was going to refinance the house when you were in the middle of the bankruptcy. How dumb was that!)
Let me try to calm down and answer your question. If you did reaffirm those debts, then they are NOT discharged. That’s what reaffirm means. Reaffirm means that NOT everything is discharged. So, can they come after your new husband’s income? No. But could they go after a joint bank account? Yes, at least in Virginia where I am. And, you now have after bankruptcy terrible credit–maybe for a long, long time.
They way you tell it, you had two lawyers who really were not thinking.
I became divorced in 2009, filed Chapter 7 in 2010 and now I need to refinance my mortgage at the top of 2013. I have been able to get credit cards that I have paid them off in recent months and I have done the credit union pay day loans and have paid that off. My questions is should I reaffirm my mortgage loan in order to refinance by the top of 2013 to release my ex husband from the mortgage loan?
I think you can’t. The law is clear to me, and most judges, you can’t go back and reaffirm a debt once your bankruptcy case is over. Maybe your judge sees it differently, but very few do.
Just rec’d discharge from Chp 7 on 3-5-12. Should I wait several months for the credit bureau to get the reports correct before applying for a cred card?
Jerry, no. Don’t wait. You can probably get approved for a credit card now and so you should get started getting back to good credit.
Married. Filed Chapter 13 in 2008. My husband didn’t file. I paid 100% on the credit cards in my bankruptcy–not late on house or car. Only one creditor didn’t respond, so they weren’t included in the bankruptcy as required to pay. That was the only account that had my husband’s name on it. Can that acct come after my husband after my discharge in a month? Is my husband’s credit ruined because of me? Will it be on his credit report–the bankruptcy? Everytime he calls the bank on the house loan they tell him he’s in bankruptcy, but he didnt file. I think my lawyer didn’t do me any favors–should of sent me to credit counseling. My debt was only credit cards.
I agree with what you are saying. I try to avoid 100% Chapter 13’s. They rarely get the payment down much lower than the legit credit counselling people can do–damage to your credit is worse, and so is the confusion. (Only makes sense when the debt have already gone on to lawyers and debt collectors and its too late for the credit counselors to put the genie back in the bottle.) By legit credit counselors I mean people like http://www.moneymanagement.org/ or someone certified by http://www.nfcc.org/.
Now you say the one card that didn’t file to be paid also had your husband as a cosigner. You wonder if that affected your husband’s credit? I would guess that his credit is showing BK on that account. It shouldn’t, but I’d guess it is. You should get credit reports from each of the three, and see. One good place to go is annualcreditreport.com. (Do NOT go to freecreditreport.com.)
Can they come after him? Well, they may be barred by statute of limitations. They left him alone for too long and now they are too late. (There’s an argument that they are not–your chapter 13 blocked them, unless they got permission from the BK court which they could easily have gotten. How would a judge rule on that? I have no idea.)
Most likely though they coded it for whatever reason as a joint BK and they probably have no record of it any more. So you are probably home free.
Back to the credit reports. Assuming they are reporting BK for him, that’s wrong. You need to do disputes and he should say that he never filed BK. a judge in Charleston SC about ten years ago really smacked the credit bureaus for reporting BK on cosigners who did NOT file BK. So they are usually very quick to fix it when you point out the mistake.
My wife and I just filed, our hearing is in a month. I’m trying to decide if it is in my best interest to reaffirm my car loan, i only owe a little over 3000 dollars on it, I’ve never been late on it. After the bankruptcy is discharged, even if I ran into trouble (which i really cant see happening unless i get fired, which is very doubtful) I think i could afford the payments. As far as rebuilding credit, will it help alot if I reaffirm it? I’d ask my attorney but I hate the guy, he’s like a used car salesman, but what can i say, his price was right. I know that its usually not a good idea to reaffirm anything because of the aftereffects that could happen if you don’t pay the loan. but I’m positive i won’t default. Also, I kept a credit card that I didn’t report to the trusty, I applied for it just before filing, and have a 0 dollar balance on it. When should I start using that? (if the credit card company doesn’t close it of course)
Your own lawyer has a more complete picture of your finances than I do. If you were my client, I would still discourage it–but it would help your credit some. I just don’t like the downside risks of reaffirming a car.
On your question about the zero balance credit card. Maybe a month after your hearing, see if it will let you charge a takn of gas. Have money in your pocket in case it doesn’t work.
Me and my husband filed BK on March 15th, the best thing we could of ever done for our finances. however we also bought a car from a buy here pay here car lot on March 7th, I want to know if i don’t sign the reaffirm agreement can they come pick up the car? also we have been receiving pre-approval notices in the mail for cars is a good idea to go with one of these car dealerships that help with getting a new or used car that will report to your credit bureau?
It depends on what your choices are. Three years from now you can get a car loan at maybe 5.9%. (If you carefully rebuild your credit.) The dealers who are mailing you now are probably at 29.9%. The buy her pay here is maybe 150%. You need to STOP getting into stupid loans.
But, can you stop now? Do you have any way to get a junker car that will get you three years until you get back to good credit. Borrow a car from a family member? Somebody you know at work? have an 02 Pontiac they don’t need? Have you already spent your tax refund?
You need to STOP getting into bad loans. BUT, you also need to have a way to get to work.
PS Most of us, me included, are not very good at calculating what interest rates do to you. So here’s an example. If you buy a $20,000 at 6.9% for a five year loan you pay about $3000 interest. If you buy that $20,000 car at 29% five year loan you pay $13,000. The difference is TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.
If you have any way to get to work (and that may be a big IF), you need to dump that buy here, pay here, and you need to NOT finance car until three years after your bankruptcy.
Don’t want to nit pic since you do such a wonderful service helping people, but you must have had your mind on other things for this one. on a five year loan for $20,000 at 6.9%, you pay a little over $3,700.00. On a 5 year $20,000 loan at 29%, you pay a little over $18,000.00. That’s over $14,000.00 difference. I know it was just a distraction because you had it right in an earlier comment. Just want to be sure readers don’t minimize the difference, an extra $4,000.00 is quite substantial in my broke existence.
Hi I just filed on the 14th and I actually just had simeone do the paperwork for me. I am not getting my tax refund until after my discharge so I wanted to finance a car. Should I just buy buy a used car. My car is really junk.
Also, I fear I may have missed some creditors. When mt papers are sent , lets say to a hospital I owe, do they wipe all my debts or those listed only? Im afraid I may have forgottem some
Depending on what state you are in–and the “someone” who did the paperwork for you–you might not get that refund at all. If you are in Virginia, you will probably lose it to the bankruptcy court. (The process of protecting your refund form the bankruptcy court can be tricky–especially here in Virginia where I am.)
Hoping that you do get, I recommend to my clients getting a junker to get through two or three years until your are back to good credit. The LAST thing you want to do is to get into a bad payment car loan right after bankruptcy, get behind, and get yourself some after bankruptcy bad credit.
I have a question that I can’t really seem to find an answer to:
Our mortgage was discharged in our chapter 7 bankruptcy in January of 2008, four years later the mortgage company is still reporting every two months or so on this, the account says that its discharged and closed, however, I am assuming that since they still report this every two months this is harmful to my credit score. Also, if I have an old cell phone bill from about 5 years ago…are they allowed to, five years later, have collections put it on my credit report. And does paying it really change the credit score if I decide to do that?
Christine: Your mortgage should show Discharged in Bankruptcy January 2008. Are you telling me they keep moving the date forward? If they are, you need to dispute that.
About that cell phone bill, was it included in your bankruptcy, or did you forget? If you forgot, you painted yourself into a corner. It should fall off your credit after seven years–seven years from when it went bad, not from when it hit your credit. Paying it will move that forward to seven years form when you paid. You’re right that some people say that’s worse; some don’t. I don’t know.
Hi, we are discharged from chapter 13 for two months. I tried applying to my own bank that holds our mortgage (was not in plan, paid on time 19 years never late) have checking/savings with them. they turned us down for a secured card.
However I was able to buy a car two years old at an interest rate of 3.9 FIXED at our Lincoln dealership.
The goal here is to refinance the mortgage from 8.6 and second mortgage of 12.9 to one mortgage with a lower rate. I was told i had to wait one year for FHA and two years for conventional.
If the bankruptcy comes off in 7 years (next year) will all that matter.
Wow Just a couple months out of Chapter 13 and you got a car loan at 3.9. That’s amazing!
As to your question–I don’t think that old Chapter 7 is affecting you much. But ti does NOT come off after 7 years. The debts in the Chapter 7 come off after seven years; but the Chapter 7 itself stays for ten.
Your own bank turned you down for a secured card. Who are they? They also have you with mortgages of 8.6 and 12.9. They don’t sound like nice people at all.
yes I was amazed 3.9 percent…I pray a lot, perhaps it was from the hand of God all I know is that I had my car for 16 years and everything was going on it. I got a car 2 years old and the payments are less than the trustee payment i made each month for 5 years.
Bank of America is my bank for 25 years. they hold both mortgages and my checking and savings account.
they turned me and my husband down for a secured card. we wanted separate cards $300 each in a security deposit. we have well over that in savings. no they would not. I wrote them a letter but heard nothing back.
I had the loans with countrywide but b of a bought them out. my original mortgage was with chase at 7 percent back in 93 but i had cancer and needed a second mortgage and even though we paid all our bills on time we had too high of a debt to income ratio so we had to do a 8.6 and 12.5 and then b of a has it now.
I’m very disappointed in b of a.
of course they told me to go out and establish credit like a car loan or credit card and i asked them how was i to do that when my own bank wouldn’t help me after 25 years of devotion.
now i don’t care, i have the car loan and it’s already being reported on both our credit reports , i just got the notification that they added the new accounts to the reports.
I filed a chapter 13, not a chapter 7
I am finally done with my Chapter 13, I haven’t received my discharge papers yet but I am looking to buy a brand new car and trade in the car that I financed during my 13 2 years ago come June, my balance is at $4500. I have never been late and my interest rate is 18%, I am wondering will I be able to get a lesser APR, since I had a Chapter 7 in 2005 with my exhusband. My score is only at 550. Also if I am not mistaken, I have to wait for the discharge papers to come before I can get approved for a new loan correct?
Shop carefully. You will find big differences in the kinds of loans you can get right out of bankruptcy. You should start with the bank or credit union where you keep your checking account–they know you. If you can’t get a good deal–then wait. Your credit score should improve every month the bankruptcy is over. You need to get a couple small credit cards–use them every month and pay them off every month.
(You are right that most lenders will want to see those discharge papers before they consider you.)
I filed Chapter 7 in 1995. One of the unsecured creditors was Bank 1 which has been bought out by Chase Bank. I was told at the time the Chapter 7 was discharged that if I ever opened an account with Bank 1 that they could seize the money in of my account. Is this true? If so, can Chase Bank do the same thing if I open an account with them?
No, What you were told at the time was wrong, too. If you have a loan with a bank and you have money in that bank, they can take what you have on the day you file bankruptcy. But they can’t take money you put there later.
I live in Texas and will be filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy on a non-consumer secured debt. My attorney advise me to reaffirm my mortgage. I would like to know if I should. If i decide not to affirm and continue to make payment and after 5 years, sell the property, will I have any trouble selling it? Can I improve my credit by keeping up with my mortgage without signing the reaffirmation letter? What happen if the mortgage stop sending monthly statement or refuse online payment? thanks dianna
Dianna: Your credit will be better if you reaffirm. Otherwise the payments won’t show. If you went over with your lawyer and are sure you can afford the house, and sure that the value won’t drop below what you owe, then it would make sense. It sounds like that’s what your lawyer went over with you–so listen to your lawyer.
(We almost never reaffirm around here, because values have dropped far below what people owe. In Texas you can file bankruptcy and not worry even if you have equity in your property. So the way things balance out there is a lot different than it is here.)
I will be having my chapter 13 BK discharged in a few days. My recent Equifax score is 698. I’ve had 3 low limit unsecured credit cards during the BK, which all have zero balances, but two of them are First Premiere, which charges me $7/month fee, while Orchard Bank doesn’t charge any. My total credit limit among the 3 cards is $2275.00. The only debt I have, not including my normal utility biils, is my car loan, which I owe roughly $14,000 on a 4 year note. Would it be wise to apply for a credit card thru Chase or another big name credit card issuer to increase my credit line? I’m worried about getting denied and then my credit score taking a hit, due to the hard inquiry. Do you have any suggestions on what card issuers usually approve credit cards to people out of BK?
Also, I purchased the used car in Aug 2011, but would like to purchase a newer car at a lower interest rate from what I’m paying now. I think I’m paying roughly 19%(give or take). Even though I’ve been paying a little more than the required monthly payment for the past 8 months, I’m still a little upside down if I was to trade it in versus what I still owe. Should I wait to pay off the car in a few years before deciding to purchase a newer car, or would it be ok to try to purchase one in the upcoming months?
Thanks for your great advice!!!
By the way, I live in Texas.
Well these are just guesses. But the first place I’d apply for a credit card to get a higher balance is your own bank; or a credit union you are eligible for.
For the car, same answer. Go to your own bank and see if they would finance you for a car–and at what interest rate. Then go shopping for a car, and trade the one you have, IF you have approval for a car loan already in your pocket.
I filed Chapter 13 in March of 2007. I am done and was told by my attorney that my case is being closed. Now I am just waiting for my discharge papers. When I was filing my attorney said that I did not have to include my car but at the hearing the Trustee said it had to be included and it was. I received the title to the car about 2 months ago. It’s about time to get a new car and now I am worried that since the car was included I am going to have a hard time getting a good rate. I got 4 credit cards right after I filed in 2007 and have been using them and paying them off for 5 years. My credit sore is a now 695. Since the car was included they had to modify the payments from 6 years down to 5 to fit in with the bankruptcy.
I heard that most chapter 13 cases do not get completed and get a dissmissal. I have been paying $900 a month for 5 years. I know that this does not show up on the credit reports but I would imagine that this would have to count for something.
I agree with you that making Chapter 13 payments on time should “have to count for something.” The Consumer Data Industry Association–the people who write the credit reporting instructions for the credit bureaus and the credit card companies–they also agree with you and me. So does Judge Sue Kelly, a bankruptcy judge out in Wisconsin.
My bankruptcy judge, Brian Kenney, does NOT see it that way. So I haven’t been able so far to help my clients with that. I’m still trying to figure something out.
I’m encouraged that your score is 695. Maybe the creditors you have are following the CDIA Credit Reporting Resources Guide. Some do, some don’t.
I’d guess that once you get your discharge–and your credit score hold up–you should be able to get a car at a good rate. I also suspect that you’ll get a wide variety of offers. Some people will tell you that so soon after the bankruptcy you should not be able to get a loan but they will do you a “favor” by putting you into something terrible. So shop carefully.
Shop for the car loan, BEFORE you shop for the car. Start with your own bank or credit union.
I want to thank you for your website….. I am here in Chicago and I think your insight and recommendations are really great….. I am awaiting my discharge currently (last day for creditors to challenge is May 4th)….. I wish you were my lawyer for my cause because I believe you helped me understand the post bankruptcy things to do far better than my “factory” style law firm I went with.
Thanks. I originally started this blog just t help my own clients–so they could go back and re-read things I tell them. But it has gotten national readership–and I’m glad you and others also find it helpful.
like to inform all i field chapter 7 in 2009 and am discharged i do have now 2 car loans first loan in 2011 is a leas with interest of 0.04 factor the 2nd car is financed with gm financial 0.9 percent since 2009 i have 11 credit card paid on time my credit is now excellent thank you all just work hard your credit will get better
Thanks for that great encouraging post. So many people have “heard” from people who don’t know that you have to wait seven or ten years to get back to good credit. People who have done it, and worked to reestablish, know that it is much, much quicker.
Hi Robert, my wife and I just got discharge from chapter 7 bankrupty 4/24/2012 we need a car dont have one, my question is should we get a car we’re in a rental now and thats not working need your advise to this matter, also should and can we get a secured bank card together or should we get one each. By the way our credit scores are 475 hers and 440 mine have not received credit report yet. Thank you for your input. Bruce and Mary
I tell people, if you have any way at all to get to work, do NOT buy a car UNTIL three years after your bankruptcy. People who filed bankruptcy are reporting car loans at 6.9 and 5.9 and even 4.9. You need to exhaust all other alternatives before you go out and buy a car.
Do you have a uncle with a 2002 Pontiac he doesn’t need? Do you have a friend a work who’s got on ’04 Honda and will trust you to pay $200 per month? Can mom co-sign? Can you get together $2000 in cash to buy a junker? Think of EVERYTHING else that might work before you go out and finance a car.
Secured credit cards? I think each of you should have your own cards. But for the first one, the application fee will be pretty high; so maybe you get a joint card for that ONE. then as you start to get a new credit history and offers for new cards come in–get those separately. And when you each have a couple, cancel that joint card.
My chptr 7 was discharged feb 23, 3012. I pulled a copy of my cbr on april 24th. The majority of everything has been removed except for my student loans (of course) and my accounts that were in good standings. I had a secured visa with my credit union and paid it well before I filed bk. Now Im trying to reestablish my credit and they said I have to wait 18months to get another SECURED card from them, so I went to WellsFargo and was approved for a $300 secured card. Here’s the question: some of my student loans show 60 days late from june and july 2011 but i was never late i was in an in-school deferment. If they correct that will i see a significant change in my score? I know you lose the most points during the beginning stages of delinquences. Also in about 2 months Im going to need to get a new car, any recommendations on the best places to go for a decent rate?
First, I don’t know how much improvement you will see in your score if you get those “lates” corrected–but I think you should dispute it. (And see a Fair Credit Reporting lawyer if they won’t fix it.)
Second, I tell my clients if there is any way at all to get to work, do NOT finance a car until three years after your bankruptcy. If you have to buy a car now, shop carefully, but if there’s any other way to get around, do not buy a car right out of bankruptcy. They will rob you blind. This is my blog where I say that!
How long after discharge and rebuilding with the cards always paying them off every month, can you actually purchase a home? I am in Kansas
As I understand the regs, you COULD get approved two years after the bankruptcy–as long as you didn’t own any real estate that would trigger a longer wait. Whether YOU can get your loan approved–based on income, credit, down payment, cost of the house, appraisal, all that–I don’t know. I’m guessing that it takes most people longer than two years to get all that together, but I’m a lawyer, not a lender.
Help! my car is in bad shape need a new engine file bk in sept 2011, i dnt think i can wait three years, What to do?
See if you have an uncle who has a 2005 Pontiac he doesn’t need. See if a friend where you work or at church has a junker sitting around that they’d sell to you on payments of $100 per month. Call mom and see if she can cosign for you.
Keep trying. Good luck.
I just finished my last Chapter 13 Trustee payment. My lawyer says it will be a few months for the court date and my discharge. My score was in the low 700’s and I paid everything on time right up to the day I filed for bankruptcy. No repossessions, but I did lose a house. I still have a mortgage payment, and a car payment. I have no credit cards. Do I (or rather, should I) wait until the discharge to actually apply for one of those secure type cards? It is May, and I am betting my discharge will be in by August…
Can’t hurt to apply. I recommend people apply for small credit cards while the C13 is on going.
I may have missed the question…I went through all of the comments.
I filed CH BK pro se in Florida. I am literally 2 weeks from discharge.
My credit was HORRIBLE for 10 years prior to bankruptcy…I kept thinking I could pay my out and it just didn’t work.
How soon should I apply or not apply for credit?
Also, I reaffirmed my car which I purchased in December (filed in Early April). You’re not the first blog that says I shouldn’t have. Should I just give the keys back to the lender? They aren’t requiring me to make payments but I am.
I gotta comment–you spent YEARS thinking you could dig your way out of your problems without help–and only got in deeper.
Then you decided to file bankruptcy WITHOUT HELP. I see a pattern here that you haven’t totally gotten out of. How much better off you would have been taking a few thousand of the however much you spent fending off creditors all those years, gotten a good lawyer, and been in and out the other side and already back to good credit.
Now, you tell me you reaffirmed the car. Until you are DISCHARGED you can revoke the reaffirmation. Just giving back the car keys would be a disaster–you need to revoke the reaffirmation. Of course you need to figure out how you care going to get around.
When you get the discharge you’ll get some credit card offers. Get one, charge gasoline, pay it in full–and start building credit from there.
Now maybe your pre-bankruptcy credit is SO BAD that you don’t get offers. (Sounds like that might be you–years avoiding bankruptcy, thinking you are protecting your good credit–and really just piling up more BAD CREDIT.) Go to bankrate.com cards for bad credit and apply there. http://www.bankrate.com/funnel/credit-cards/credit-card-results.aspx?classificationuid=10&childcategoryid=120&childcategory=Cards+for+Bad+Credit&classtypeuid=1&classtypedesc=Card%20Type&ec_id=&af=&ac=&ic_id=CR_searchCreditCards_credit_cards_CardsforBadCredit
Great advice!Thank for this interesting post and sharing with us.
Well, thank you for your kind words!
Prior to filing Chapter 7, I had approx. a 640 credit score. I had a huge amount of debt (for me) that was eating up a huge amount of my take home pay. How long after I get the discharge papers should I try to get a credit card and how easy/difficult will it be? By the way, I did not sign the reaffirmation on my car loan. My continuing to make car payments will not help me?
Thanks for your advise.
Most people whose before bankruptcy credit score was pretty good, like yours, get credit card offers about the time of their discharge.
Here’s a link for “credit cards for bad credit” at bankrate.com http://www.bankrate.com/funnel/credit-cards/credit-card-results.aspx?classificationuid=10&childcategoryid=120&childcategory=Cards+for+Bad+Credit&classtypeuid=1&classtypedesc=Card%20Type&ec_id=&af=&ac=&ic_id=CR_searchCreditCards_credit_cards_CardsforBadCredit.
On the car, right–if you don’t reaffirm (and I almost always think you should NOT REAFFIRM), then your car payments after bankruptcy don’t help your credit score. So you need to get some cards. The purpose of the car payment is to keep the car.
I filed chapter 7 at the end of 2003. I didn’t want to start using credit cards again so I’ve never gotten one since. It’s been years since I even applied for one. Now that it’s almost nine years later, what should I do about getting one? Does the long period of time not having a credit card work for me in any way, or am I going to have to start with as limited a card as if I’d applied in the first year after bankruptcy?
Thanks so much.
I don’t know for sure because I’ve never heard of anyone going nine years after bankruptcy before applying for a card. The good news is that all the debts that were cleaned up by the bankruptcy should be off your credit report after seven years. The bankruptcy itself stays for ten years. So I’d think you could rebuild fairly quickly once you go out and get that first credit card and start a new credit history.
How long will it take before my credit score goes up after my Chapter 13 is officially discharged? Will there be a noticeable score increase?
Thank you so much for this wonderful service, Mr. Weed. I have a question, but I’ll give you a short background first. My husband and I filed a pro se Chapter 7 Petition after a failed small business venture, and we received our discharge in March, 2010. We did not reaffirm our auto loan, so as you mentioned, those payments are not showing on either of our credit reports. Unfortunately, neither is our mortgage, on which we have been (and always were) current. We currently have a Capital One secured card, and an Applied Bank secured card, both of which are reporting to the bureaus. At this point, two and half years out, our middle FICO scores are 666 (my husband) and 699 (mine). We would like to refinance our current mortgage, as it is an adjustable rate, and it is currently at 6%. We have a local bank willing to give us an exception to the 4 year rule for conventional mortgages, which will eliminate the 1.75% upfront PIM we would otherwise have to pay for an FHA loan. (The exception is due to a combination of our OK credit scores, our banking history with this particular bank, and the fact that we have a bit over a hundred thousand dollars in liquid reserves [saved up post-discharge, of course].)
So, now to my question. It is going to be a month or two before we are ready for the appraisal, because we are in the process of re-doing our deck and installing a pool, and we can’t have the appraiser come out before the work is done. Would it help or hurt our credit score for us to either ask for a credit line increase with our current card (Capital One recently offered us one without an additional deposit) or apply for another credit card? I know that actually having those would be good for our score, but my fear is that the inquiry involved in the application process might hurt our scores.
Again, thank you so much for your time and your attention. This is an incredible service you provide. If I hear of anyone in your area who needs legal help in your field, I would certainly recommend that they inquire about you.
Wow! First of all I have to say wow because you have a hundred thousand in savings since a March 2010 bankruptcy. You have really made the best of your new start in life.
As to your question, I don’t know. If you had some more credit plus a history of paying it on time, that WOULD help your score. But applying and getting more credit wihtout time to use it–does that help or hurt? I don’t know. That’s outside of the area where I can claim that I know much.
Thank you! Yes, we have really been trying to make a new start in life (not easy in middle age with three children!).
I appreciate your candor and the time you took to answer my post. I suppose I could ask the local bank with whom I’m planning the refinance and see if they have an suggestion. They may tell me to leave well enough alone, since we qualify for the exception as it stands now. Perhaps I shouldn’t take a chance with new credit until after the refinance.
Thanks again for your service.
Both my husband and I have HORRIBLE credit . We have been very irresponsible over the past 10 years or so and we have accumulated ALOT of debt . We are in the process of looklng into filing a Chapter 7. We dont own a home and we really have no savings and no property . Just a truck that we are paying on ( late ) . I guess all the years of being irresponsible have really caught up with us . I have heard talk of credit counseling and programs of credit repair , but I dont know what good that would do us because we are totally broke. I understand that we are both in desparate need of some type of financial management courses . Do you think that bankruptcy is our only option at this point ?I really hate the fact that it took us this long to ” grow up” .We are both middle aged with 5 children under 12 years old . If we keep going at this rate , we will never be able to afford college . Please , any advice would be much appreciated ! Thanks, Patty
Sounds like you definitely need to file bankruptcy. Your credit may be so BAD that no one is bothering you. But even so, you want to get back to good credit and filing bankruptcy is the way to do that. If you slowly rebuild on your own, as your score improves, all your creditors will hear aobut it and pounce on you.
What’s holding you back? You explained your need for filing bankruptcy. What’s the hold up?
Hi Mr. Weed, lots of food for thought which raises many questions about auto reaffirming. I’ve received my discharge from ch 7 BK just over two weeks ago but I’ve heard nothing about reaffirming my car from Wells Fargo or from my attorney. I’m current on payments and have never been behind with my auto loan. Is it at risk of being repossessed now that my case has been discharged with no reaffirmation submitted? Thanks in advance.
Always a risk. don’t know what state you are in. But unless some state law protects you, they can repo a current car after filing bankruptcy. I’ve never seen Wells Fargo do it. Maybe your lawyer didn’t bring it up because you are in a state where they can’t.
I was discharged from Chapter 7 on Feb 2012. I saw your blog and got 3 secured credit cards on May 2012. After a couple of months I received increases on two of those. I would like to apply for a retailer credit card, do you recommend doing that now, or should I wait more time?
I think you should be good to get a retailer card…..glad to know my blog has been helpful to you!
Do you take clients outside of Virginia for Credit Reporting violations? It seems like I can’t find a lawyer in PA to help me sue the Credit Bureaus.
Sorry I can only be a lawyer in Virginia. Go to the National Association of Consumer Advocates and look for a lawyer there who does credit report law.
I reside in New Mexico
I opened a secured credit card based on my certificate of deposit on or around August of 2012. I just filed my no asset chapter 7 bankruptcy today do I continue to pay on my secured credit card or do I close my credit card and re open a new credit card using the same CD? Oh and another thing I was going to ask if I should finance a vehicle post discharge but I think I will pass I’m pretty sure my uncle has an 02 Pontiac lying around in the garage somewhere haha
I’m guessing that you will need to close that card and open a new one. But if they let you keep it, then I don’t see any reason to change.
I know that most people don’t have an uncle who has a Pontiac he does not need. But financing a car right after the bankruptcy so often leads to a terrible car loan and then an after bankruptcy repossession and then seven more years of bad credit. So if you have any way at all to get around, please do not finance a car until three years after your bankruptcy.
Thank you for being non biased and equally informative as well as expressing compassion for the credit challenged individuals and families! When I look at the amount of rent I pay per month compared to that of someone with traditional mortgage financing, I come to the conclusion that those are the consequences I paid for having bad credit
Thanks for you kind words about my blog.
I have a question. I’m three years out of Chapter 7 as of Dec 2012. My current income is $2380/month with a $534 mortgage and $38k of deferred student loans. My current credit scores are 686/666/663. My mom made me an authorized user on her credit card, but i’d really like to start fresh with one of my own. Given the above data, should I even bother trying to get a card?
Yes, you are way overdue for getting some cards in your own name.
Dear Mr. Weed:
I trust my e mail finds you well
I was discharged from bankruptcy in 1996 in dallas,Tx,and since that time i am living abroad and soon i will travel back to the US,please tell me what would be the best and easiest way to rebuilding my credit
I’d start by going to bankrate.com for credit cards–look at credit cards for bad credit. Get a couple and start rebuilding your credit by using them to buy gasoline and paying in full each month. Good luck.
AFTER FILING CHAPTER7 BANKRUPTCY IN OCT 10/2008 WHEN ITEMS ARE DISCHARGED IN BANKRUPTCY ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT ARE THEY ALSO STILL LISTED AS NEGATIVE AND NOT IN GOOD STANDING?
Yes they are still listed as negative. What its gets you is that they are negative back in 2008 and don’t (legally) update–so as they get old they have almost no impact on your score–if you are developing new good credit.
September, 2012 I filed C7 and everything was discharged January, 2013. I applied for credit card at my bank and was denied because of the bankruptcy. I have not received any credit card offers and do not know what credit cards to apply for to re-establish my credit. Any suggestions??
Go to bankrate.com credit cards and look at cards for bad credit. http://www.bankrate.com/credit-cards.aspx
I am filing chapter seven. I have several credit cards that I am filing on, but one is in good standings with a $1000 dollar balance. Should I pay off this card and cancel it in the hopes that the bank will re-open it after my bankruptcy is final?
Two things. There’s no guarantee they will let you keep the card. So “in the hopes” is right. Beyond that, it depends in part on how much money $1000 is to you. My personal cutoff is to argue with clients who want to pay off more than $350.
How long after filing Ch. 7, should I wait to apply for gas cards, secure cards, etc.? I have not been discharged. Also, what are the benefits to not reaffirming my car?
My blog here explains why I don’t like to reaffirm debts. It talks mainly about mortgages but the thinking on cars is the same. (Except that Ford Motor Credit will repo the car even if you are current if you don’t reaffirm.)
Usually you start to get offers of credit cards about the time od the discharge. Good luck!
The C7 discharge was just last week. I understand that I have to be a really, really good boy for a period of time to refinance my mortgages. I’ve been in my home for 7 years and have never nor will I ever miss or be late on payments. I am currently being raped by the lenders with a 6.75% 1st and 11.65% on the second and both are an ARM. Regarding the most aggressive way to build up credit scoring to make myself as attractive as possible to lenders when the time comes, your blog has given me some hope. If you note the time (late hour) of this message you’ll see how I spend my nights worrying. I will certainly go for the cards and am intrigued by the loaning myself money method at the credit unions. I am a truck driver and there is not a credit union through my work. I’ve heard that most credit unions or even banks will not work with people with BK’s on report. Your thoughts or do you know of any CU’s that do?
Credit Unions tend to be local, so I don’t have any suggestions on a credit union you might be eligible for. Sorry.
Have you checked to see if your first mortgage is eligible for HARP. http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/lower-rates/Pages/harp.aspx. Since you are current you might be. And have you tried to get a loan mod through HAMP? To be eligible for HARP you have to be current. Ordinarily you have to be late to get a HAMP, but if you have a bankruptcy then you don’t need to be late. Look at both of those.
(Is your lender HFC? I hate them.) Is there equity that the second mortgage is attached to? https://robertweed.com/blog/chapter-7-bankruptcy/after-bankruptcy-what-if-i-dont-pay-my-second-mortgage/. Can you just try nerves of steel on the second.
I don’t know your life goals or your overall picture, or how fast they can foreclose in your state, but I’d wonder if you really want to keep this house if they won’t work with you.
Hi Robert, I am three weeks past my trustee 341b meeting (California) and I am awaiting a hearing for approval of my reaffirmation on my car. It’s been two months since I made a payment…WellsFargoDealerServices hijaked the payment by $300 for lack of insurance…my question is this. I know you said reaff is no good, but I have no choice 3 kids and I leave in remote area so I am stuck. I did the reaff in a hopes to get a lower payment..once the judge approves the affirmation will I have to make the 2 back payments or will the judge allow me to request those payment on the back end of the loan and start fresh with them. Based on there calulations I have about 15 mth left on the loan.
“I did a reaffirmation in the hopes to get a lower payment.” “It’s been two months since I made a payment.”
You are setting yourself up to get an after bankruptcy repossession. Followed by an after-bankruptcy garnishment. I don’t know what you should be doing, but I can see you are NOT thinking clearly.
I just had my chapter 7 discharge letter this month and I got credit card offer after a week. I called them and asked them is this real…..because I thought I’ll not get approved for loan in two years. The lady told me I can rebuild my credit and allowed me to apply. I did and they approved my application on 3.26.13. I am suprised and worried at the same time. Is this a good idea to apply credit card after a week of your bankcruptcy discharge?
Yes, it’s a good idea to apply for a credit card the week after your bankruptcy discharge. That’s exactly what I say you should do in my blog.
Hello Mr. Robert
I and my husband just had our hearing for our 7 to be dis-charged, and we should get the dis- charge in 2 months. We have a 2008 car and we have about 3 years left in payments should we keep it since we will have to buy a new one anyways, my job is 10 miles out and I have to be there at 4 am and a cab one way is 30 bucks so i’m looking at a lot of cab fare, so I was thinking of paying the car off because I will be blowing money anyways. never been late on a payment
Makes sense to me. That’s the kind fo decision you need to make, after your lawyer helps you understand your choices.
I was searching the internet for ways to rebuild my credit after filing a chapter 7 bk. and came across your blog. You answered my questions before I even asked! I will be filing this Wednesday in Maryland for the first time ever. My concern is, after my discharge, I will have to move out of my apartment by the 30th of April. My property manager sent a termination letter and vacate and quit notice. I am going to put the two months rent plus court filings on the bk and let them keep the the security deposit to pay down most of the bill. I have already went to landlord tenant court and a writ will be sent to the police to evict me. My court date was April the first, the letter from the property was sent on March 31, 2013, giving me until the 30th. I am moving on the 28th of April, ( planning on anyway ) Can they evict me before the 30 days notice if I put the property and balance on the bk?? And also, after the discharge is approved, I will be taking the steps you advise in re-building my credit. I was thinking about renting at a smaller complex on a short term lease, say 3 to 6 mths, to show the landlords that I’m worthy of renting again after I save some money. Is that wise??
My most biggest concern is, . . .After this is all over with, I plan on starting a small business, not nothing that I will have to take out a loan or nothing like that. It will come directly out of my earnings and all expenses will be on me. ( a crafting hobby ) I probably will start out very slow, and then gain later. I am doing this to increase my income to be able to qualify for a nice mortgage next year. I want to know, when I get my EIN number and start to sell my products, and receive monies, would this affect my bankruptcy after the effect??
When you have already had a court date with your landlord, bankruptcy does not slow down the eviction process very much since 2005. But it does NOT speed it up, which is your concern. So if your state law gave you 30 days from April 1 to move out, filing bankruptcy won’t make that any shorter.
You have big plans going forward, and I want to encourage that. The purpose of bankruptcy is a new opportunity in life and a clear field for thefuture. http://virginiabankruptcylaw.net/. So if your business does well, after your chapter 7 bankruptcy, that’s great! They can’t take that away from you.
Good Afternoon I have recently filed pro se in VA and was discharged. I have gotten two dredit cards one secured and one unsecured. I refure to charge more then $100 on either of them. but my question is 1. I was told I should have 3 one from visa, Mastercard and one from either AX or Discover. is that true? also I need a car bad. the one I have is 25 yrs old and it is holding on but it wont pass inspection so at least once a week I get a ticket for exp inspectin sticker. should I just keep getting tickets or should I go and buy a car? I really dont have the money to buy a as is car. and if I buy a car i could only give about 1500 down. what are your thoughts
I recommend people get three–I care less what kinds–but only one at first and wait until you devleope soem credit before you get the others. I think people should avoud paying big application fees on more than one card–that’s why.
You will get robbed if you finance a car sooner than three years after the BK. Do you have a family member who has an 2002 Pontiac they are not using. a friend at work who would let you buy an old car from them at $200 a month for a year. Do you have a friend who knows enough about cars that you could pick out and pay $1500 cash for a junker that will get you through a couple years. ANYTHING rather than buy a car a few months out of the BK.
I have just been discharged from Ch 7, and applied for an appartment. I did not keep the lease on my old apartment, and did not owe any money at the time that I filed. I filled in a forwarding address and handed back the keys. On the verification of rental history form, they are stating that I owed them money, $2,900 and that I paid rent late and left without notice – implying that I skipped. They refuse to ge me the ledger that shows when I last paid, which was after filing and I left before discharge. They said I could pick a statement that shows what I owed and the penalty fees. They said that because I signed to allow them to verify rental history, they can say that I owe them money. What can I do about this discharge violation?
That’s a close one. I think it’s a discharge violation–and I think it’s stronger if you pick up the written statement showing that you owe. But they can argue that it’s just a fact that you broke the lease, and not an attempt to collect.
If you were my client, I’d fight, because I fight the borderline cases just so people know where the border is. What you need to do is talk to your lawyer and see what he thinks.
Hi I filed Ch 7 in March and received my discharge on 7/18! I am a realtor in Michigan when the market crashed and I had several rental properties and lines of credit and even more non-paying tenants. I had over 500,000 worth of debt in my BK and about 100k of them were with my mother. I was advised that my private student loans would be dischargeable because they were paid directly to me and not to my school. I have a few questions… 1) I listed all of my debt on my BK, how do I know what was discharged and what wasn’t. 2) I have tried to convince my mother to file BK, she has two rentals that she owns free and clear jointly with a nonrelated partner (both are VERY low in value) and her primary home that she has a mortgage on. She is retired so she gets a pension and social security, most of her retirement is in her 401k but she does have a few IRA’s and mutual funds. The creditors have already started coming after her for the lines of credits and they are reporting the student loans as credit cards as well.
BTW I decided to write you because I enjoy your candor, humor and honesty!
Thanks for contacting me.
1. The issue of whether the student loans are “student loans” can be raised by either you or the lender at any time. In other words, so far there’s no decision. If they contact you and try to collect, you can go back to the bankrutpcy judge and ask him to decide whther they are allowed to–because student loans are not discharged–or they are not, because there were not student loans.
I’m sure you don’t like that uncertainty, but there it is.
2. I don’t know whether your mom need to file bankrutpcy–I have a 37 page form and a two hour consultation to decide that with my clients. But I CAN tell you she needs to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. Especially if she needs to but maybe can’t, you need to figure out what you and she are going to do. The sooner, the better.
A loan broker told me there were problems with my credit cards on my credit report, showing the wrong bankruptcy date. I’m seeing they say BANKRUPTCY CH 7 11/12 (which I assume means Chapter 7 11/12, not a date). The RPTD date is years after the bankruptcy was discharged. Does that RPTD date matter on my credit report? Do I have to get that date amended or am I receiving bad information? Thanks so much for your help!
Bad credit has less and less impact on you the older it is. So if the reported date moves the bankruptcy much closer to now, it really hurts you. So, yes, you want to dispute that with the credit bureaus to get that fixed.
Hi I’ve been in debt since 2008 for about 45 000. Im from new york .I stopped making payments in the same year. I have 5 kids under 10 and im considering for bankruptcy and start to rebuild credit again. What is my best option chapter 7 or 13 I have no property no car nothing I live paycheck to paycheck thank you
For most people Chapter 7 is best most of the time. But you and your lawyer need to have a complete picture of your situation to decide that. I make my clients fill out a 37! page form–so when we talk we really know what we are talking about.
Hello, I am currently in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan. I have surrendered a car in this plan. However, the company will not come and get the car, and also will not release the title to me. They have said it is not worth their time to come and get the car but are still not going to release title to me. The car was legally surrendered in my plan in a Judgment Entry. Now, the company has filed another claim, which I had to object to. What the heck is going on? Have you a client who had this problem? What ended up happening?
Yeah, it’s frustrating because you cannot make them come and get the car. I explain that here. https://robertweed.com/2013/03/05/but-i-surrendered-that-property-in-my-bankruptcy/
If you had known that would be a problem, your plan could have paid them for the car–say $250–and then the bankruptcy Judge would have made them send you the title. Don’t know how expensive it would be to change the plan now–or even if the judge will let you.
Does it run? Drive it.
If it doesn’t you’ll need to find a towing company or junkyard that will take it off your hands even though you don’t have the title. That will probably cost you several hundred dollars.
I filed for a Chapter 7 out here in CA. and it was discharged in 2011. I did not seek any new credit but kept my two amex cards out of the BK. I have paid on them and my two home loans 1st/2nd which were not re-affirmed. I was surprised recently when I went to get a higher limit on my Amex credit card that it was denied? I have only a 648 credit score from Experian. I figured since I had kept those two cards and they are reporting as paid on time, and never late my scores would be higher, any advice on getting my scores up. I will be wanting to buy a car in about a year and want to have much better credit for that event.
Thanks in advance for your help,
It takes about three years, so you have about a year to go. Usually I recommend getting three or four credit cards–not just the two you have. Charge one tank of gas each month on each and pay them. So maybe NOT applying for (and getting) additional credit has been a small mistake. But mainly it takes time.
Hello. I filed for Chap 7 Bankruptcy on 11/12/12. My bankruptcy discharge date was 2/12/13. My mortgage company, after years of having a foreclosure on my home, that they dismissed, finally released the deed on my home (stating it was paid in full). The bank didn’t feel that my home had any value to them because of the declining neighborhood where I live. I tried mortgage remodification, to no avail. The bank said that I didin’t make enough money to remodify. I ended up in this mess because I was displaced from my job in 2007. After trying for over a year to find work, I was finally hired by an organization but made almost less than half of what I had been making. Now I have this house which is in dire need of repair (Leaky roof). Do you think I would be able to get a loan from anyone to make this repair. I really want to sell the house but don’t feel that anyone would want it with a leaky roof. What do you think I should do?
I think your bankruptcy is still too new to get a loan, unless somebody really likes your house as collateral. And from what you say I doubt it. but I’m a lawyer not a lender. Can’t think of any reason not to try.
I have a lot of debt and am thinking about filing bankruptcy. Unfortunately, I have filed twice in the past which I am very embarrassed about. My concern is about keeping my car. It’s financed through a credit union plus I have a visa with the credit union and a personal loan and line-of-credit. I have heard that with a credit union, they can repossess your car even if you still pay regularly. Is bankruptcy a lost cause for me or should I attempt to go through with it? I cannot lose my car.
Most credit unions will allow you to reaffirm the car loan and will drop their claims to being cross collateralized. (In other words, agree to let you pay the car without paying the other stuff.)
Another approach would be a Chapter 13, where the court can set up a payment to pay the car and not the other stuff. To do that you need to do a budget that shows the car is all you can pay.
You need to make an appointment to talk to a good bankruptcy lawyer; stop stressing yourself.
My husband and I have about 4 months left to pay on our Chapter 13 Plan (5 Year Plan). Our credit scores have fluctuated between 640 – 675 for the last couple of years. We pay everything on time and we also pay our credit card balances in full each month. Once we make our final payment on our Chapter 13 Plan and receive our discharge paperwork will this help increase our credit scores? Do you know of anything else we can do to increase them?
Good question–but I’ve posted everything I know.
You were smart to get some small credit cards while you were in the Chapter 13, so you could be building credit as you go along.
Hello..I filled bk7 in Oct and got discharged on Jan 2014..but I left some creditors out that didn’t show on my cbr plus I had a baby right after I filed and the hospital isn’t accepting my insurance for the labor. Is it too late for an amendment? Or what should I do?
As a lawyer I always suggest that pregnant clients wait to file bankruptcy until AFTER the baby is born. Don’t know what to tell you now. Sorry.
I have a question – my husband and I had to file bankruptcy because we were out of work for almost a year and could not pay the bills. Anyway, we’ve gone through Chapter 7 and it has been discharged. We did not reaffirm the car loan; the bank said they were not interested in reaffirming and we did not want to because the car is worth much less than the amount left on the loan. I understand that we no longer owe that debt due to the discharge, but I am confused about what can and cannot be done. Can you answer these questions:
1) Is it likely the lender will repossess the car now that the discharge is final (they are in another state)?
We both now finally have found work, so we need a car for transportation. Since this car needs major repairs and is not fuel efficient, we would like to get a different one (and we do not have a friend or relative with an old one laying around or who can lend us money, so we would need to buy one).
2) Can we use this car as a trade in on another vehicle? I’m confused about having to “roll in” the amount of the old loan into a new one, since the old loan was discharged. How does that work?
3) If we cannot use it as a trade, do we just ask the lender to take it back and we try to completely finance another car (we don’t have anything to use as a down payment)?
Thank you for your help.
1. Depends on the lender and the value of the car. Sometimes a lender will ignore cars that aren’t worth picking up and trying to sell.
2. No, can’t trade it in. The lender is still on the title. they have to agree or you can’t transfer it.
3. Yes, you can ask them to come and get it but that doesn’t means they will.
I explain a little more about this here. https://robertweed.com/2013/03/05/but-i-surrendered-that-property-in-my-bankruptcy/
I co-signed on a note in 2011 and was repossessed 2013. The deficiency is 7300. I have a student loan that shows up default ( im in a recover plan as of now, in 3mo will re-open out of dedault). Along with the car note I have two collection accounts at 2500.. Should I file for chapt 7 even though the account is charged off as a loss? How will my low score of 475 be affected? Should I get a secured credit card now or after? Thank you for your time.
First, “charge off” doesn’t mean what you want it to mean. “Charge off” means they took a tax loss on it, but they will sell the debt to somebody who will then come after you. I explain that here. https://robertweed.com/2011/02/11/bankruptcy-discharge-or-charge-off-whats-the-difference/.
Right now your low score of 475 is protecting you. Your credit is so terrible that for now they are leaving you alone. Waiting until you start to do better and then have money they hope to squeeze out of you.
That’s why I recommend getting a secured card after bankruptcy, not before. If you start to build up better credit before bankruptcy, the car repo and the other two collection accounts will be all over you–“like a duck on a junebug” they say in Southwest Virginia.
If you file bankruptcy, all the bad credit is frozen–and then you can build back safely, and have good credit in maybe three years.
There’s no (legal) instant help for bad credit. But from where you are, bankruptcy is probably the way to go.
You should definitely talk to a lawyer, though, someone who has your complete picture; not just what you’ve told me.
Hello, I’m currently in a Ch. 13 bankruptcy…I should be finished by Aug. 1,2014(fingers crossed)…I’ve read and heard that the trustee sometimes continue to collect even though the balances are zero, what can I do now to ensure my check won’t continue to be garnished($925 bi-wkly) after the balances are zero? Also, I filed Feb2012 and have paid to date about 54k and I have just under 6k left to pay…do I apply for a small balanced credit card after my balances are zero or wait until I get discharge appears in order to start re-building my credit?
I’ve never had that problem, so I don’t know what you would do if it happened to you. Sorry.
You can probably get approved for some small balance credit cards now and start building your credit. Some courts won’t let you, but where I am you are allowed to as long as you keep it below $5000–and you’d want to stay way below that.
Hello, I enjoyed reading your response to all the questions. I hope mine doesn’t make you angry IF you’ve already answered it a thousand times, lol. I filed for chapter 13 Bankruptcy in 2013, it was discharge in January 2014. As of today (June 9th), I pulled my report and saw online that my debts were reported as discharged on the credit report. Should I go ahead and apply for credit cards? My credit score is already low, so will applying make it that much worse. Also, I’ve been getting tons of offers to purchase a new car, but none for credit cards. However, I have a old 1998 car that I plan to keep as long as possible. Not going to fall for the “New Car” trap. Thanks in advance for your response.
Yes you need to apply for credit cards–because you won’t get back to good credit until you build up some new credit. And Right! Do that by charging gasoline and paying it off every month. NOT by getting a car at a bad credit payment. That’s just a way to get an after bankruptcy repo.
You are on the right track.
Hello, this whole bankruptcy thing is brand new to me and I’m terrified, but almost certain that this is the only way I’m going to get back on my feet at this point. I have plenty of debt, but have racked up a significant amount in the past year due to obscene legal fees for a paternity suit. My ex is dragging his feet signing the papers so the charges just keep piling up and I know it will take me years to pay them off because on top of it, I have a ton of money in student loans that I’m paying on already. I realize that the student loans are exempt from any bankruptcy filings, but am I able to include my attorney’s fees for my paternity suit? Or does my lawyer have a chance at disputing and winning? If that’s the case, then it may not be worth it for me to file. I have so many questions but this one is probably the most important before I even consider actually pursuing additional information. Thanks!
To start with, your debt to your own lawyer is a dischargeable debt. It’s just a debt; no different from a credit card, loan or medical bill. (The wife’s lawyer is often considered child support, but that’s not what you are telling me here.) Whether he has a chance of disputing–well, most likely if he can persuade the bankruptcy court that you are lying about something. (There would be a legal ethics issue if your paternity lawyer used stuff he knew about you from being your lawyer against you, but once the cat was out of the bag, that might not help you.)
So you should go over everything with your bankruptcy lawyer very carefully and make sure you are not slipping up on anything. That’s always the case when you have what I call a personal grudge creditor–somebody who is mad and knows a lot about you.
Hi, I am recently being discharged for Ch. 13 bankruptcy after 5 years. I had a credit card that wasn’t included in the bankruptcy and I was able to use it throughout my entire bankruptcy. But just yesterday my credit card was all of a sudden closed. I called the bank and they said it was because I was filing for bankruptcy but I explained that I’m not filing but already was in bankruptcy and it just got discharged. Will I be expected to pay the balance back if they closed it? Why would they close it if I was using it through my entire bankruptcy? I’ve had the card since 2001 and had a high limit, so would my credit be lowered because of this even after bankruptcy is discharged? Can I reestablish the card and show that I’ve had the card since 2001 if they already closed it? Thank you for your help!
I’ve seen that happen before, but I have no sure answer to any of those questions.
I think they can cancel your card anytime they want for any reason. Since you used the card after the bankruptcy was filed, I think you owe all that money.
When you say it wasn’t “included in the bankruptcy” what do you mean? Do you mean it was at zero balance when the Chapter 13 was filed. Or do you mean you did owe money when the Chapter 13 was filed, but you didn’t tell the curt about it. That would be lying to the court (and to the credit card company, too.) So I hope that’s not what you mean.
Hi, I mean there was a zero balance when I filed Ch 13 so it wasn’t included. I was surprised I had the card and I even called the bank about it and they said it was fine to use even when I was in bankruptcy. But now that it’s being discharged they closed it and I still have a balance. I was about to pay for it when it just disappeared from my on-line banking accounts. I will try to go into the bank since when I call they said there is no number for that department and they said I could only write a letter to reestablish the card and explain what happened. It’s kind of weird. Thanks for your help!
It is weird. But acting weird is something banks do a lot, when you actually watch closely.
So i am a veteran who is diabled i live in MD had five major spine operations i receive 100% Veterans comp and also 80% SSDI Comp i have just filed for ch7 i just relized from reading a few of your post that i did not include my prepaid unsecured credit card on my bankruptcy paper work but ofcourse i am current on my payments should i inform my attorney about this account. also can my Veteran benefits be exempted also my SSDI benefits arent both those exempted ??? i also informed my lawyer that i want to surrender my car in the ch7 . and how long does it take for my ch7 to be discharged
Yes you should inform your attorney about all your debts. Your chapter 7 is usually discharged two months and two weeks after your “meeting of creditors” hearing date. About three months and two weeks after you filed your papers.
I filed bankruptcy chap 7 2 yrs ago in California. I kept paying a min. amount every month to Best Buy ever since. I never signed a reaffirmation agreement. What can best buy do to me if I stopped making payments? Should I inquire if my balance is going down? I haven’t received a statement since filing. It was included in the bk. Should I continue to make payments?
Depending on what you bought–and depending in California law (I know nothing about that–Best Buy may have the right to repossess the stuff if you stop paying. I NEVER see them actually do that here, so I doubt they will in California either, even if they can.
Why did your lawyer let you keep paying?
Honestly because I felt bad about charging washer/dryer. I’ve paid for over 2 yrs now and can’t get an answer on our status so I will stop paying. The bankruptcy was in desperation and I had awesome credit before then. No one was willing to work with me so I had to file. I will risk it then if best buy wants to repossess. They just take the stuff, right?
Thank you for this blog site. You are very informative and helpful.
It may vary by state or region, but I do NOT see Best Buy in this area repossessing two year old washers and driers. Thanks for your kind words. Glad my site is helpful to you.
After reading through all of the Q & A, I just wanted to say thanks for all of the information you provided. I have approx 23 days left for the end of my 60 day dispute waiting period. I was clicking around looking for rebuilding information. Although my employer is not a member of a credit union, if I were to try and join one myself, would I have more a difficult time?
Most credit unions now are not limited to one employer–they cover a wide area. At least the ones around here, do. You can probably find one you are eligible for.
I just been approved for an apartment with a credit score about 689,but I want to file for chapter 13 because of credit cards and personal loans. will this affect my apartment approval if I file chapter 13 about a month later?
I’d be sure to move in and have paid the first months rent before I filed the C13.
I Fillesd bankrupcy chapter 7 in 2012, I included all my debts and kept just my house.I did twice the modification, this year my husband was not working for couple months due to weather condirion and we got behind with mortagage, I applied again for modification but didn’t get approve becuase of lower income, they gave me only two options short sale or deed in lieu but I want to keep my house they gave me some time to think about that right now my hisband income increase three times more when I applied for mod. My question is can I do chapter 13but without my husband included in it, we have a jointly mortgage, also my bank filed foreclosure but know ia suspended because they are waiting on my deciaion, they also told me that after my file close I can reapply for any other assistance with my behind mortgage because my husband income increase (I’m unemployed I’m taking care of my disable daughter, what should I do reapply or chapter 13.please help
I definitely think you need to talk to a lawyer about Chapter 13. But the person who would need to file would be your husband, because YOU don’t have any income.
I have filed for chaptwr 13 due to my husbams behind in his child support we cpuldnt go theu with it so instead we filed 7 and my house amd car not Protecred so I made arragments with my car paymenta and now the house is going into.forclosure and house note not in our name but inlaws since they gift ed it with the deed . Thye passed away and now I have to do a chapter 13 again im kinda torn about this it going to take twoce as long to get my credit good right?
Doing a c13 will definitely make it a lot longer to get back to good credit. A lot. What you should do depends on how bad you want to keep that house.
If you declare CH 7 but do not reaffirm your auto loan and pay it off how can it be reported to Credit Bureau as discharged in Bankruptcy. You paid it off. It would be a lie on the lenders end. I do not understand how it can be called discharged when I made every payment, never late not once and I have the title. How can they legally report it as discharged? I have copies of every single payment. Please explain this to me. I would love to understand the logic behind this oxymoron..paid in full but discharged in bankruptcy. Also is there anything to be done on our end to have it not reported as discharged(since it wasn’t) to the credit bureau’s? Thank you for your help?
Good question. I explain it as best I can, here. https://robertweed.com/2011/05/16/after-bankruptcy-my-house-payments-dont-show-on-my-credit-report/.
I am in Virginia and filed bankruptcy at the end of April. I attended the 341 Meeting of the Creditors a couple of weeks ago and am currently waiting to receive my discharge papers. I got some advice directly after from my attorneys office to make sure to check credit reports after receiving the discharge. They also recommended checking each individually at different times so that finding errors wasn’t overwhelming. I plan on checking all of my credit reports; however, I was wondering if it would be wise to apply for a secured credit card while I was waiting for the discharge – or wait until after the discharge is received?
Also, I will be moving back to my home state (NC) in a month or so and I am a member of a credit union there with a long standing history (20+ years) of checking and savings. I did not owe them any money during the bankruptcy. I do see that there is a Share Secured Loan there also so I may look into your advice that you mentioned in your blog about borrowing using my Share account as collateral to help, as well. Again, should I wait until after discharge or can I apply between the 341 meeting and the official discharge?
Good advice from your lawyer about checking your credit after the bankruptcy to make sure nobody is still reporting you as late. Only a handful of lawyers around the country do that.
Up to you when you want to apply for new credit. Usually they won’t approve you until the discharge comes through, but if they will, why not.
My FICO score was 450. I filed for Chapter 7. 5 months after filing, and 2 months after discharge, my FICO is 642.
In 5 months I went from 450 to 642.
Thanks for sharing.
How long does it take to receive a discharge from a chapter 13 once you have submitted your 1328 paperwork? Also, do I have to wait until the official discharge to apply for a credit card to start rebuilding my credit?
I’m guessing that varies somewhat by each court. Usually a couple months around here.
The court here says you can’t borrow more than $5000 without permission; your court might have a different rule. If your court says you can’t get a credit card until the BK is over–I’d have no way of knowing.
Thank you for your response, my filing and case are in Virginia. So it is the Eastern District of Virginia. I’m Just ready to start rebuilding my credit.
Please help! It will be 2 years in July 2016 since we discharged ended chap 13!! We kept the house and cars but second mortgage wiped ! So first mortgage was suppose to go from 96.000 to down to 65.000 ! Signed by the judge! And we got this signed paper and got it recorded with the deeds dept!! But the mortgage company (ocwen)is Not modifying the amount for 2 years we kept paying the same mortgage amount waiting tone modified!! It’s been almost 2 yrs !!! Now ocwen sold the mortgage to nationstar and we r still waiting ! We can’t afford to keep paying this now amount went up $200 more! We don’t know why!!!! Our lawyer keep telling us to keep paying and he is following paper trail he said! How can we get the mortgage comp to finally modify the mortgage down to 65.000 ??? I called the trustee said they should have done it already!!! Thank u !!!!
Wow. That’s bad. But I obviously know a lot less than your lawyer about what the judge said, so I really can’t add anything.
Thank you for the information.
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My Chapter 7 was discharged a few months ago. I wasn’t told that I had the option to reaffirm or not reaffirm. I reaffirmed my car loan ($10K upside down) but it has yet to show on my credit report. If I reaffirmed it, shouldn’t it show on my credit report?
Yes it its reaffirmed it SHOULD show your current payments on your credit report. Now I say should; because credit reporting is one benefit of reaffirming. However, no company is required to report your credit. So if they never get around to reporting your payments, I don’t know how you can make them.
How is it reported now? Is it showing bankruptcy?? that would be a wrong report and you should dispute it. Is it just showing nothing at all? You can try to dispute that, but it may not work.
I was just released from chapter 7 bankruptcy about 3 months ago, was in chapter 13 for a few years then lawyer talked me in doing the 7 to close it out, bad divorce & job loss so they took everything before I filled the 13. My question is my mom passed away & the land she had put aside for me is sitting with her name & my fathers on the deed, how long should I wait to have that signed over to me, not but a couple of acres with a small home on it where I could live? Thanks jamie
I’m sure NOT gonna give you advice on that very, very tricky question. What does the lawyer say–the one who talked you into switching out of Chapter 13?