How long does bankruptcy really stay on your credit report?

If your debt has you feeling overwhelmed and you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, it’s important to consider all of your options before making a final decision. Bankruptcy can have a lengthy adverse impact on your credit, making it almost impossible to open new lines of credit until well after your bankruptcy is discharged.

So how long does a bankruptcy filing stay on your credit report? The answer is, it depends. Let’s take a look:

Bankruptcy and your credit reports

The record of your bankruptcy will be automatically deleted from your credit reports either seven or 10 years from the time you filed for bankruptcy, depending on the chapter of bankruptcy you filed. Chapter 7, which dismisses your debts entirely, stays on your credit reports for 10 years. Chapter 13, which requires that you repay some of your debt, stays on your credit reports seven years. Chapter 11, which is most often used by businesses (but some consumers file this chapter as well), varies significantly due to the complexity of these cases and how long the repayment plan is.

Keep in mind that the individual accounts included in the bankruptcy also will be noted on your credit reports as negative items. These should also drop off your credit reports automatically, but you may need to follow up with some creditors or the credit reporting agencies if you see them after the bankruptcy itself has been removed.

And a bit of good news in all of this: If you were already delinquent on some of your accounts when you filed for bankruptcy protection, those accounts should drop off a bit sooner – seven years from the date you became delinquent instead of the bankruptcy filing date. (Read more about what happens when you file bankruptcy.)

Checking your credit reports is important

Obviously, as you near the date that your bankruptcy filing you’ll want to check your credit fairly routinely. Unfortunately, you can’t check your credit reports often without paying for them, but you can begin tracking your credit scores and, when you see a jump in your score you’ll know that positive changes are beginning to happen. This may be the perfect time to get your free credit report at or pay for it with the individual credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) to see if those negative marks have all been removed. (Need more help? Read our guide to bankruptcy.)

This article originally appeared on Resolve and was syndicated by

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Constance Brinkley-Badgett

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