Your credit reports are the main ways a lender determines whether or not to grant you a loan or issue you a credit card. Some potential employers even use a credit report when considering whether or not to give you a job. Credit reports list everything from your contact information to employment information to information on your credit accounts.
Credit reports also show if you have tax liens and bankruptcies in your financial history. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act says that discharged bankruptcies can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. However, this information isn't always removed automatically after that 10-year period, and you must work to get it removed from your reports in order to fully improve your credit.
Things You'll Need
- Certified mail postage
- Return receipt card and postage
Find out which credit reports still list your bankruptcy. Experian, TransUnion and Equifax are the three main credit-reporting agencies used to determine creditworthiness. These companies are separate entities, so you must work with each separately to have the bankruptcy information removed.
Write a letter to each credit reporting agency stating that the 10-year reporting period is over. Indicate that your credit report still reflects your bankruptcy and the Federal Credit Reporting Act states that they must remove this information after receiving your letter. Be sure to include your full name and social security number to help them identify you correctly. At the end of each letter, ask that the agency make the change within 15 business days and send you a corrected copy of your credit report.
Include copies of any official court documents showing that the 10-year reporting period is over. These documents help support your position and expedite the removal process.
Send your letters certified with return receipt requested through the United States Postal Service. Doing this provides proof that your letter received by the intended addressee. Having this proof can come in handy if you need to verify that you sent the letters.
Follow up if you don't hear from the credit-reporting agency within a reasonable period of time such as 30 days. Credit-reporting agencies receive thousands of letters each day and it's possible yours could get lost. If you don't hear back, resend your request letter certified and return-receipt requested. It may take more than one request, but eventually you'll either receive a request for more information, or an updated credit report with the bankruptcy removed, allowing you to pursue a new financial future without the bankruptcy.
Tips & Warnings
- The key is persistence. It may take more than one request, but they'll eventually remove the bankruptcy. It's the law.