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After Bankruptcy: Credit Repair

The Fair Credit Reporting Act

Once you have completed bankruptcy, you will want to take steps to repair and restore your credit. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you the right to correct false or inaccurate information on your credit report. Credit report mistakes are relatively common, and they can cause you to have to pay higher interest rates on any loans, mortgages, or credit cards you obtain. If you have filed for bankruptcy, or have already completed your bankruptcy proceedings, it is to your benefit to contact an attorney who can help you understand credit repair and help you take steps toward a stable financial future. Under the FCRA, you are allowed to contact the three major credit bureaus to dispute items you believe to be in error on your credit report. These bureaus include Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. If the bureaus are unable to verify the accuracy of one or more items on the report, they are legally obligated to remove them.

If you've filed a petition for bankruptcy, you may be feeling a sense of defeat and hopelessness, but remember this: bankruptcy isn't the end of your financial future. Your financial reputation can recover. In fact, you can begin taking steps towards a better financial future immediately after filing. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), repairing your credit isn't easy, but it's not impossible, either. After filing for bankruptcy, you may notice advertisements touting claims like "No credit? No problem!" or "We will eliminate your bad credit." Do not believe these assertions; they are most likely a scam.

In fact, the FTC claims that lawyers from the U.S. consumer protection agency have never actually seen a legitimate credit repair service that made promises like these. Save your money and avoid them. In short, the FTC says that there is not "quick-fix" path to repairing your credit. The only real way to restore your credit rating is to wait. In most cases, bankruptcy will stay on your financial record for ten years. During this time, you can continue making financial decisions that benefit your rating so that it gradually improves. Once your petition has been fully eliminated, your credit may be completely restored.

Avoiding Scams

Credit repair requires two integral elements: time and patients. Scammers know this and want to take advantage of you by promising to eliminate your bad credit quickly. Every day, companies target consumers with bad credit and take advantage of them. In reality, companies cannot give you a better credit rating. In fact, they probably want to rip you off. Removing accurate negative information from your credit report is not only implausible, it is illegal.

Stay alert for companies trying to scam you. If a company wants you to pay them to improve your score before they actually provide any repair services, they are probably operating illegally. A business or company of any kind is not allowed to charge you until they have delivered the goods or services you agreed to pay for. If a company doesn't inform your of your rights as a consumer, they may be up to no good. According to the FTC, scammers want you to think that you can't improve your credit for free – even though you can.

If a company advises you to stay away from major credit reporting companies, they may be trying to scam you. Because scammers and suspicious companies want to take your money for services you don't need, they may attempt to keep you from contact legitimate sources and companies that actually want to help you. If a company tells you that they can eliminate accurate, negative information from your credit report, be extremely wary. It is illegal to eliminate accurate information from your credit report.

Know Your Rights

As a consumer, you are entitled to a free report after a company takes "adverse action" against you, according to the FTC. If a company denies your application for credit, insurance, or employment, you may request a report within 60 days. If you are unemployed and plan on finding a job within 80 days, you may receive a free credit report as well. You may receive a report if you are on welfare or if you believe your report is inaccurate because of identity theft or fraud. Otherwise, you may receive one free credit report every year.

After bankruptcy, you might feel like your credit rating will never improve. Don't give up! Your petition will be reflected on your record for ten years, but this doesn't mean that you will not be eligible to receive credit or take out loans during this time. Your credit rating can improve even while your bankruptcy petition is reflected on your record. If you have questions about bankruptcy or credit repair, contact an attorney from our firm today.

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