When it comes to rebuilding a credit score after filing bankruptcy, the truth is that you have already taken the most important step. After all, the ever more burdensome dead weight on your score, the barrier to you ever obtaining a decent score has now been removed permanently.
If you want to really want to improve your credit score, doing nothing after your bankruptcy discharge and letting time take care of your score is not the way to go.
The first thing is open new lines of credit. This should be done with great caution, and consumers should resolve to pay off accounts each month in full, rather than carrying the balance through several months, where interest and charges are permitted to accrue.
Below are nine rules of the road for building credit in the wake of a bankruptcy discharge:
- Apply for three to five credit cards as soon as your bankruptcy is complete. If you do not qualify for traditional unsecured credit cards, get secured credit cards instead. A secured credit card requires you to make a deposit that is equal to or greater than the actual limit. You will get a monthly bill and you will pay it off immediately. After six to a year timely payments, you may qualify to have the card converted to unsecured status. If your request is granted, your deposit will then be refunded. Otherwise, the deposit will not be refunded until you close the account and pay the balance in full.
- Open all the credit card accounts at once. About twenty percent of your credit score is actually determined by the age of your accounts. Thus, every time you open a new credit card, the average age drops, so the quickest way to start ramping up your score is to start all the cards at once. Though you credit score will initially drop (10 percent of your score consists of credit inquiries), it will rebound and then some after a few month of timely payments.
- Keep the credit cards active while maintaining a low balance or, even better, no balance at all. Moreover, keep the accounts active. Doing so tells the credit bureaus that the bankruptcy created a clean slate for you to begin demonstrating responsible behavior. If you do not use the credit cards, the credit bureaus have no way of knowing whether you can handle debt.
- Remember you want to keep your balances low. The lower your balances, the better your score will be. Honestly your best strategy for rebuilding is to pay one bill every month with each of your credit cards. Then immediately pay the balance on the credit cards in full. Doing so keeps your balance at $0, and all the accounts active.
- Get a copy of your credit report four months after your bankruptcy is discharged(not before) and let our offices know if any of the debts that should be reflected as discharged or in bankruptcy are being reflected as past due, charged off or owing. We want to make sure that these are corrected.
- Contact us via email to get signed up with our credit repair education company for free information on credit score repair.
- Get an installment loan. If you are in the market for a new car or a household appliance, buy it on installment. Taking out an installment loan, and then paying it off in a timely fashion, informs the credit-scoring bureaus that you can manage different forms of credit successfully. Note: This is not an excuse to run out and finance a $30,000 car. Instead, visit your local credit union or a friendly bank and take out a $1000 installment loan on your current vehicle.
- Never miss a payment. The credit bureaus will consider one missed payment a giant red flag, and your credit score will sink.
- Try not to keep a balance over 30 percent of the limit. If your credit card balance goes past 30 percent of the limit, the credit bureaus will assume you are getting in over your head. If you must carry a balance, make sure it is less than 30 percent.
Follow these nine rules for rebuilding credit after bankruptcy and there is really no reason why your score shouldn’t be 720 in less than two years.,