Credit Reporting: What Needs to be Done after Bankruptcy
Article by Craig Andrews
It is possible to rebuild your credit much more quickly, and to reach a much improved score in as little as two or three years. The first effective technique is to find out exactly how your bankruptcy is reported on your credit report. Credit reports are tailored for their end user; a credit report obtained by an auto dealership or a credit card company is not going to contain the same information. The free report you get from the singing band is going to be different again. You need the most comprehensive report you can get your hands on, and for that, you will need to apply for a mortgage.
The report you obtain from a mortgage lender or broker won’t be free; it will set you back between $ 10 and $ 30. You have an absolute right to a copy of the report; don’t take no for an answer. If you paid the money, you get a copy, period. Once you get the copy, it’s time to do your homework.
Your homework assignment is simple. You need to compare your credit report with Schedules D, F & G of your bankruptcy petition. In your bankruptcy, this is the list of people you owe money to. Schedule D concerns loans secured by something, like homes or cars. Schedule F is credit card and medical debt. Schedule G is unexpired leases, like auto and furniture leases. Make a list of who appeared on each of the schedules, and compare that list to who is reporting items on your credit report. If you cannot find your bankruptcy paperwork, you should be able to get a copy from your attorney or from the courthouse where you bankruptcy was filed.
If the debt was discharged in bankruptcy, the notation on the account should be something like “discharged in bankruptcy, March 5, 2012″ and the account should show a zero balance. There should be no information reported after the date of your bankruptcy. There should be no information reporting a past due balance. It is acceptable to report late payments, but no balance information.
Your credit report should be pulled about 60 days after the discharge; that’s how long it takes for the records to be updated. You have the right to dispute the reporting of your discharged debt. This should always be done in writing, never by email or telephone. Once you have initiated the dispute, you have the right to an updated credit report once errors are corrected.
You should contact in writing both the credit bureau and the reporting creditor. The same letter may be sent to both. This should clear up the matter in about 30 to 60 days. If the problem persists after two or three letters, then it may be time to see an attorney about a FCRA violation action.
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