A bankruptcy case filed under Chapter 7, 11 or 12 will remain on the debtor(s) credit report for 10 years from the filing or petition date. Chapter 13 will generally remain on the report for 7 years if successfully completed or 10 years if the case is dismissed.
Although the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that bankruptcy entries must remain on a credit report for 10 years, some creditors will only leave a successfully concluded chapter 13 bankruptcy on a record for 7 years. This encourages chapter 13 filings because when successfully completed, chapter 13 will usually pay a portion of the debtors’ unsecured obligations during the 3 to 5 year term of the plan.
More importantly, the effect of bankruptcy on one’s ability to get credit is greatly overemphasized. The important characteristics of your credit history are less about the number or nature of prior negatives in your credit report than:
(1) The amount of your present income;
(2) an ability to demonstrate a perfect credit history since the filing date of your bankruptcy (i.e., all bills paid early or on time); and
(3) the ability to demonstrate that your bankruptcy was caused by something other than your own inability to manage your money (e.g., the recession, serious medical problems, divorce or the loss of a business or job).
Accordingly, if you can demonstrate each of the above factors, creditors will generally look beyond your credit report to give you credit for cars and new credit cards as soon as you receive a chapter 7 discharge (about three to four months after the filing date). After two to three years from the filing date, you should be eligible to receive a new residential mortgage from a commercial lender provided you have the requisite cash down payment–you may not receive the best interest rate, but you will be eligible to obtain significant credit in most instances.