When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are likely doing so because you are deep in debt and are out of other options.
However, while Chapter 13 can help you restructure your debt, it can also impact your credit score. Fortunately, working with a bankruptcy attorney and following these steps can help you rebuild your credit.
1. Make Payments On Time
During your bankruptcy repayment plan, it’s essential to make monthly payments to your trustee on time. However, it can be tempting to get more relaxed with payments on your remaining debt after your bankruptcy is finalized. Even after your repayment plan is complete, it’s crucial to still pay bills not discharged under your bankruptcy, like child support or student loan payments. Making these on time will help increase your credit score.
2. Hold A Steady Job
When you eventually try to apply for credit after your bankruptcy, it will go a long way with lenders if you have a long-term steady job on your resume. Frequently changing jobs, or having gaps in employment, can make you seem riskier.
3. Get New Lines Of Credit
We get that after completing your Chapter 13 bankruptcy the last thing on your to-do list might be applying for a new credit card or a loan. However, obtaining new lines of credit can improve your credit score. It’s important to be responsible with your new credit card and not rack up debt, and to also understand that your interest rate will likely be higher.
4. Get Someone To Co-sign
If you’re struggling to obtain a loan on your own after your Chapter 13 bankruptcy is complete, you can consider adding a cosigner. It can be difficult to ask someone – as you’re putting them on the hook for the loan if you don’t make the payments – but the loan will also register under your name. This means it will show up on your credit report, and can therefore help boost your credit score.
5. Make Payments On New Lines Of Credit
If you can take out a new credit card, it’s essential to make the payments on time. Coming off of bankruptcy, it’s crucial to show the credit bureaus you’re making timely payments. Some tips we suggest are using autopay so you don’t forget when your payment is due, and setting reminders for yourself several days before the payment is owed.
6. Make Sure Your Lenders Report Loans To The Credit Bureaus
Did you know that not all loans are automatically reported to credit bureaus? Not all lenders are required to submit your activity. This might seem like a good thing, but after a bankruptcy, you want to ensure all loans and lines of credit are reported so you can work on increasing your credit score. When securing the loan or credit, ask the lender if they will submit the activity for you.
7. Keep A Low Balance
Especially after bankruptcy, it’s essential to keep a low balance on your credit card. You want to keep as much credit available as possible to help boost your score. The general rule of thumb is to use less than 30 percent of your total credit line.
8. Keep Tabs On Your Credit Report
Make sure you keep checking your credit report and score regularly following your bankruptcy. This will allow you to make sure your bankruptcy was properly recorded, that debt wiped out during your bankruptcy dropped off your report, and that any new lines of credit are added.
Contact a Chapter 13 Attorney
After you complete Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it’s crucial to hire an experienced attorney to help you afterward to navigate your new financial landscape. This includes making efforts to repair your credit score. Our experts can help you determine what steps you need to take. We will also help clear up any confusion you might have after your bankruptcy is final! Don’t let debt ruin your life. Call (405) 529-9377 for a free case review.