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Repairing Your Credit After Bankruptcy Part 1

10/08/2008

After we declared bankruptcy, our credit was understandably in shambles. I searched all over the internet for tips and tricks that would help me rebuild my credit quickly but the fact is, it takes time to build a great credit score. It takes even more time if you are rebuilding after something as disastrous as a bankruptcy!

It can be done though, and my husband and I are about halfway through the process. Our bankruptcy was three years ago, and we have done everything we could each and every month to raise our scores back up. Here’s the shortlist of ways we raised our credit score after bankruptcy. As always, I love your questions! So if you have any, just drop me a note in the comments below, and I will be happy to answer them for you.

How we rebuilt our credit after bankruptcy:

1) We challenged items on our credit report –
You can challenge both incorrect and correct items on your credit reports. I am well aware that it’s unethical to challenge correct items. Frankly, declaring bankruptcy was one of the most unethical things I’ve ever done, and I am certainly not losing sleep over the few correct items I was able to have removed from my own credit reports.

Everything about the bankruptcy was done to give my family a future, including the credit report challenges. If you are going to challenge items on your own credit report, you can read more about how to do that in our article “How To Dispute An Item On Your Credit Report” There is a step-by-step downloadable guide at the end that will walk you through the entire process.

2) We contacted any creditors that were still reporting open accounts, and gave them our bankruptcy information – We had a lot of open accounts because of our medical bills. Every time a collection company sold our debt, the new owner of the debt would list another delinquent account on our credit reports. So even though the person who owned the debt at the time of our bankruptcy was contacted, no one else was.

This meant we had to back-track our debts (using our credit reports) and contact the people who used to own the accounts too. Not everyone was cooperative, but in the end we did get most of the old medical accounts to show up as closed w/ bankruptcy rather than still open and delinquent.

3) We opened up two credit card accounts each – The sad fact is, you have to have and use credit in order to build your credit score. A lot of people come off of a bankruptcy and swear off credit cards forever. If this is what they must do do manage their finances, then more power to them! However, my husband and I recognized that restoring our credit was the only way we would ever own a home someday. So, we applied for, and got, two cards each.

Which credit cards did we use after bankruptcy?

Those are the first three steps we used to repair our credit after bankruptcy. I will cover the other steps in part two of this guide. If you have questions or comments about any of these techniques, please let me know. You can use the comments form below.

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