Deciding to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy relief is not an easy decision to make; however, it could give you an opportunity to rebuild and manage your finances more effectively. You can take simple steps to reduce the likelihood that you will not need to file for bankruptcy again.
1. Keep Your Credit Cards Below the Credit Limits
In the event you need to borrow money, lenders like to see that you have credit cards you have responsibly managed, and not maxed out or charged over the limit. You should keep your credit cards but strictly ban yourself from using them to purchase anything you cannot repay in full upon receiving your monthly credit card statement.
Responsibly managing your credit cards by making on time payments and keeping your card balance within the approved credit limit will help to improve your credit score.
2. Ask Your Creditors to Re-Age your Accounts
After several months of consistent on time payments, you can request that your accounts be re-aged to remove any references to past delinquencies. This will help to repair your credit score over time.
3. Monitor your Credit Reports with all Credit Bureaus
It is a good idea for you to regularly monitor your credit reports with all three of the major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Whenever necessary, request that corrections be made to your credit report. You can make these requests via mail or online.
When reviewing your credit report for inconsistencies, be sure to:
- If you have recently obtained a bankruptcy discharge, make sure that any accounts included in your bankruptcy claim are marked satisfied or paid in full on your credit reports.
- Check your credit limits and make sure they are reported correctly.
- If there are any late payments or other negatives noted incorrectly, request that the reporting errors are corrected, and follow up until that is done.
To keep your credit score updated, ensure that any negative entries older than ten years are deleted from your report. Be very careful taking this action because deleting the wrong or too many accounts can affect your credit score negatively.
4. Develop a Plan to Get Out and Stay Out of Debt
If you are still trying to manage some of your debt, develop a plan for how you are going to become debt-free. Then, implement your plan and stick to it until you are out of debt. Make sure that you always make your credit card payments on time and learn how to manage your money more effectively.
You can rebuild your financial life after bankruptcy. Get your finances in order and start making new and improved financial decisions. Make sure that the credit bureaus have correct information reported on your credit reports and whenever possible, move to have old negative entries deleted.