Bankruptcy remains on your credit report for up to 10 years

Dear Experian,

How long does a bankruptcy stay on your report? It has been almost six years and I am still denied credit on that basis alone.



Dear LBE,

Bankruptcy is sometimes represented as an easy way out of bad debt, but as you’ve discovered, that is not the case. While you may be free of your past credit obligations, you also will find it very difficult to obtain new credit, and possibly for a very long time.

A chapter 7 bankruptcy filing remains on your credit report for 10years. Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains for seven years. Under chapter 13 bankruptcy you repay at least a portion of the debt, so it is removed a little sooner.

When the economy was strong, the further in the past the bankruptcy filing occurred, the less impact it had on your ability to obtain credit. Depending on the type of credit, you might have qualified for new credit in a few months or a few years. But just getting credit wasn’t the whole story.

While you might have been able to get a credit account, it usually came with high fees, interest rates, or both. Rarely was the credit you could get the kind of credit you would want.

In today’s difficult economy, many lenders will not grant credit at all while the bankruptcy filing appears on your credit report. That means you might have to wait seven or even 10 years before you will be able to get credit.

Unfortunately, the number of people who will file bankruptcy a second time is fairly high. To lenders, that means there is a relatively high risk that a person who has filed bankruptcy in the recent past could file again in the near future, which means the lender would not get repaid.

In a strong economy, lenders are more willing to take that risk. But when the economy is struggling, as it is now, lenders might not be willing to take that risk at all.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

Our policies for Ask Experian:

The information contained in Ask Experian is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult your own attorney or seek specific advice from a legal professional regarding your particular situation. Please understand that Experian policies change over time. Posts reflect Experian policy at the time of writing. While maintained for your information, archived posts may not reflect current Experian policy. The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team will include it in a future post.