Credit repair after bankruptcy: Can you fix your credit file after being bankrupt?

Information verified correct on July 22nd, 2016

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Repair your credit file after bankruptcy and get your finances back on track.

Bankruptcy has an ongoing impact on your financial circumstances, even after you are discharged from bankruptcy or have it annulled.

For starters, your name will be on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII) permanently, with a record of how your bankruptcy was resolved. It will also be listed on your credit history for up to five years, or longer depending on the circumstances.

While these details can affect your ability to get new credit, there are ways to improve your credit history and increase your chances of loan or credit card approval in the future. This guide looks at the steps you can take to repair credit history and ways to maintain good credit so that you can move past bankruptcy once it is over.

How to repair your credit file after bankruptcy

You can repair the bad credit rating that comes from having bankruptcy details listed on your credit file by building up healthy financial habits. This can be done with the help of a credit repair specialist, or on your own using the following steps:

  • Work on your employment circumstances. The financial security that comes from having stable employment can improve your credit rating by showing lenders you have a regular source of income. A permanent or ongoing job will also help your overall financial circumstances, so it is a great first step to take.
  • Grow your savings. Assets such as savings can improve your credit rating by showing lenders you have the ability to financially manage your accounts and make loan payments. Start by regularly putting money aside, even if it is just a small amount that you transfer to a dedicated savings account, and remember every little bit counts.
  • Consider getting a term deposit. If you have a lump sum of money you can put into a term deposit account, you may be able to use it to get a secure loan that will help re-establish your credit accounts.
  • Limit your credit applications. Too many credit applications can negatively affect your credit history. After bankruptcy, it’s important to be selective about the types of credit you apply for to increase your chances of approval. If possible, only apply for one product at a time and look for options that are likely to be approved, such as secured loans, options with a guarantor or joint accounts.
  • Make payments on time. Whether you have a secured loan or an electricity account in your name, making sure you pay the balance on time will help you build up good credit history after bankruptcy.
  • Talk to issuers. If you want to apply for a particular product after bankruptcy, or find out what options are available, consider calling up banks and other lenders to discuss your situation. They will be able to advise you on your eligibility and answer any specific questions that you have to help you find options that will work for you.

The longer you focus on these six key things, the greater the impact will be for your credit file. So it is important to realise this process does take time, but is definitely worth it in the long run.

Can a credit repair agency help me fix my credit file after bankruptcy?

There are a number of credit repair agencies that claim they can improve your credit report. These ‘credit fix’ or ‘debt solution’ companies may advise you on your credit file and act on your behalf to challenge any incorrect listings on your credit history but may not be able to do much to actually fix your credit file after bankruptcy.

In fact, the government’s MoneySmart website warns people to “be wary” of these companies as they “may not always be able to do what they claim”. So if you are interested in getting a credit repair agency to help you improve your credit file, make sure you compare different options and research their services so that you know exactly what you are paying for.

What types of credit cards can I get after bankruptcy?

If you want to apply for a credit card after bankruptcy, it’s important to look for cards that have reasonable eligibility requirements for your circumstances. Some options include:

  • Low income credit cards

    Such a card comes with a low minimum income requirement, and would offer little in terms of features. However, this could be the right type of tool to manage your finances.

  • Low credit limit cards

    You could consider applying for a low credit limit card once you’re back on track in terms of spending and saving. The low credit limit would ensure that you don’t spend beyond your means, but you might have to pay a high interest rate.

  • Joint account credit cards

    Some credit cards allow you to apply with another person, which means both your credit histories will be assessed for the application and you will share responsibility for the account. If the other applicant has a good credit history, it can increase your chances of the credit card being approved so that you can start building up a good credit score.

Remember that it could take time before a lender is willing to approve your credit card application after bankruptcy, so try to have patience. The most important thing under these circumstances is that you work towards better credit history, so only apply for a card when you are confident you’ll meet the eligibility requirements and can manage the account responsibly.

Compare Low Income, Low Credit limit and Joint-account Credit Cards

Rates last updated July 22nd, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum Income
ANZ Low Rate
ANZ Low Rate
13.49% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months with 3% balance transfer fee $58 p.a. $1,000 $15,000 $15,000 Go to site More info
Citi Simplicity Card
Citi Simplicity Card
11.99% p.a. for 24 months (reverts to 19.99% p.a.) $0 p.a. $6,000 $100,000 $35,000 Go to site More info
Coles Low Rate MasterCard
Coles Low Rate MasterCard
9.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $49 p.a. $500 $25,000 Go to site More info
ANZ Frequent Flyer
ANZ Frequent Flyer
19.99% p.a. $95 p.a. $1,000 $15,000 $15,000 Go to site More info
ANZ Rewards Credit Card
ANZ Rewards Credit Card
18.79% p.a. $80 p.a. $1,000 $15,000 $15,000 Go to site More info
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
18.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. $6,000 $30,000 $25,000 Go to site More info
Westpac Low Rate Card
Westpac Low Rate Card
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.49% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $59 p.a. $1,000 $30,000 $15,000 Go to site More info
Rates last updated July 22nd, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum Income
St.George Vertigo Visa
St.George Vertigo Visa
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. $500 $40,000 Go to site More info
BankSA Vertigo Visa
BankSA Vertigo Visa
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. $500 Go to site More info
Coles Low Rate MasterCard
Coles Low Rate MasterCard
9.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $49 p.a. $500 $25,000 Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee $59 p.a. $500 Go to site More info
NAB Velocity Rewards Card
NAB Velocity Rewards Card
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 19.99% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee $95 p.a. $500 Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. $500 $40,000 Go to site More info
Coles No Annual Fee MasterCard - Exclusive Offer
Coles No Annual Fee MasterCard - Exclusive Offer
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $0 p.a. $500 $25,000 Go to site More info
Coles Rewards Mastercard
Coles Rewards Mastercard
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $89 p.a. $500 $25,000 Go to site More info
NAB Low Fee Card
NAB Low Fee Card
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee $30 p.a. $500 Go to site More info
NAB Qantas Rewards Card
NAB Qantas Rewards Card
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 19.99% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee $95 p.a. $500 Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
ME Bank frank Credit Card
9.99% p.a. $0 p.a. $1,000 $15,000 $25,000 Go to site More info
Bankwest Qantas MasterCard
Bankwest Qantas MasterCard
20.49% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $100 p.a. $1,000 $25,000 Go to site More info
Bankwest More MasterCard
Bankwest More MasterCard
19.99% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $70 p.a. $1,000 $25,000 Go to site More info
ANZ Low Rate
ANZ Low Rate
13.49% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months with 3% balance transfer fee $58 p.a. $1,000 $15,000 $15,000 Go to site More info
Bankwest Zero MasterCard
Bankwest Zero MasterCard
17.99% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $0 p.a. $1,000 $25,000 Go to site More info
ANZ Frequent Flyer
ANZ Frequent Flyer
19.99% p.a. $95 p.a. $1,000 $15,000 $15,000 Go to site More info
David Jones Storecard
David Jones Storecard
0% p.a. for 48 months (reverts to 24.74% p.a.) $0 p.a. $1,000
ANZ Rewards Credit Card
ANZ Rewards Credit Card
18.79% p.a. $80 p.a. $1,000 $15,000 $15,000 Go to site More info
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
19.74% p.a. $30 p.a. $1,000 $15,000 $15,000 Go to site More info
Bankwest Breeze MasterCard
Bankwest Breeze MasterCard
12.99% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $59 p.a. $1,000 $25,000 Go to site More info
 
Rates last updated July 22nd, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Amplify Platinum
This card features a balance transfer rate of 12% p.a. for 18 months, 1% p.a. for months on purchases and an annual fee waiver for the first year.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 19.49% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a low balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. interest for 20 months and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases combined with complimentary insurance covers.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 20 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
Enjoy a low annual fee combined with 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
BankSA Vertigo Visa
A low interest rate card with a low annual fee, a long term balance transfer offer and an introductory offer of 1% p.a. for 12 months.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
Lombard 180 Card
Get 6 months interest-free on purchases of $250 or more, up to 55 interest-free days on purchases under $250.
0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 22.99% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 6 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee $99 p.a. More info
Teachers Mutual Bank Credit Card
No annual fee on your card plus a low interest rate on purchases.
7.9% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 11.50% p.a.) $0 p.a. More info
Hunter United Visa Credit Card
Enjoy a low offer of for months on balance transfers. Plus a low annual fee of $59 p.a.
11.49% p.a. $59 p.a. More info
Bendigo Bank Black Basic Credit Card
Features a low annual fee and interest rate and get up to 44 interest-free days.
12.24% p.a. $45 p.a. More info
Bendigo Bank Ready Red Credit Card
Enjoy up to 44 interest free days after a purchase and no interest will be charged.
19.74% p.a. $45 p.a. More info
Bendigo Bank Platinum Credit Card
Get rewarded for every dollar spent plus up to 55 days interest free on your purchases.
18.99% p.a. $119 p.a. More info
Latitude 'Go' MasterCard
An everyday credit card with no annual fee plus you get free access to the GO Rewards program.
22.74% p.a. $0 p.a. More info
22.49% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $49 p.a. More info
Latitude MasterCard
Features low credit limits and annual fees, receive up to 55 days interest free and 24.5% p.a. annual percentage rate for purchases and cash.
24.50% p.a. $69 p.a. More info
Bank Australia Visa Credit Card
$0 annual fee ever life and a long interest-free period to pay off your balance.
12.64% p.a. $0 p.a. More info
Hume Visa Value Credit Card
Enjoy a competitive low rate, no annual fee and up to 55 days interest free on purchases.
13.15% p.a. $0 p.a. More info
 
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What are the pros and cons of declaring bankruptcy?

Pros

  • No more dealing with unsecured creditors. You don’t have to worry about being harassed by any of your unsecured creditors, and these creditors can no longer proceed with legal action to recover their money through courts.
  • Protect some assets. Even when you go bankrupt, you get to hang on to most household goods, ordinary clothing, tools of your trade, life insurance and endowment policies, superannuation that you haven’t accessed before bankruptcy, and compensation payments received for personal injury.

Cons

  • Effect on creditworthiness. The bankruptcy ruling stays on your credit file for while, and during this period getting any kind of credit is near impossible.
  • Name on National Personal Insolvency Index. Once you file for bankruptcy, your name remains on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII) for life.
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Frequently asked questions

I went bankrupt about 8 years ago and I want to be able to get a loan. How do I get back on my feet?

Once you get out of bankruptcy, it’s important to learn how to manage your new spending habits and handle your finances carefully. On thispage, you can find invaluable information and tips on getting your life back again after dealing and declaring personal bankruptcy.

I was bankrupt 10 years ago, will that still affect my credit file?

Bankruptcy details are listed on your credit file for two years from the discharge or annulment date or five years from the beginning of the bankruptcy – whichever comes later. As a result it should have been removed from your credit file now.

I was discharged from bankruptcy a year ago. Can I apply for a credit card or loan now?

Yes, but the details of your bankruptcy will still be on your credit file, which could affect your ability to get approved for a credit card or loan at this time. You may want to focus on improving your credit history to increase the chances of getting your application approved in the future.

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128 Responses to Credit repair after bankruptcy: Can you fix your credit file after being bankrupt?

  1. Default Gravatar
    Roni | May 5, 2016

    Hi
    I had a bad debt from a couple of service provider due to my financial situation back in 2011 and I’m willing to repay them but I was wondering even if I repay them, will the record still be on the file to apply for the loan from the bank to start up my own business? Any advice and suggestion would be appreciated.

    Many thanks.

    • Staff
      May | May 6, 2016

      Hi Roni,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Most lenders will check your credit file when you apply for a new line of credit, say you apply for a loan for your business. Therefore, it is wise and important that you make your credit file healthy and in good standing to be assured of approval for your loan application. Since you have mentioned that you have had a bad credit history, you’d be best if you settle your previous debt first by making on-time repayments.

      Keep in mind though that your credit file will hold your repayment history information for 2 years. Credit enquiries, overdue accounts as clearouts and defaults and also court judgements remain on your file for five years. Meanwhile, overdue accounts listed as serious credit infringements remain on your file for seven years.

      Cheers,
      May

  2. Default Gravatar
    joe | April 18, 2016

    I went bankrupt about 8 years ago, I just wanted to be able to get a loan. How do I get back on my feet with this or it is not possible ever again?

    • Staff
      May | April 18, 2016

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Once you get out of bankruptcy, you’d be best if you learn how to manage your new spending habits and handle your finances carefully. On this page, you can find invaluable information and tips on getting your life back again after dealing and declaring personal bankruptcy.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Cheers,
      May

  3. Default Gravatar
    Jeannie | March 1, 2016

    If I have a credit card debt that I cannot pay can they take my car of me ? it is 6 years old and I owe it out right.
    Many thanks.

    • Staff
      Jonathan | March 2, 2016

      Hi Jeannie, thanks for your inquiry!

      If your debt is significant, there is no stopping a card issuer from initiating proceedings to repossess some of your assets or even push you towards bankruptcy. You may like to consider transferring your existing credit card debt to a balance transfer credit card and repay your debt with 0% interest.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  4. Default Gravatar
    steve | February 22, 2016

    Hi there, was discharged from bankruptcy on 26/3/2014. does that mean that after the 26/3/16 bankruptcy will be off m,y credit report? i am looking to re finance home loan for better rate with mainstream lender (bank) will i have a better chance then.

    • Staff
      Jonathan | February 23, 2016

      Hi Steve, thank for your inquiry!

      The bankruptcy listing remains on your credit file for two years from the annulment date, or five years from the beginning of the bankruptcy – whichever comes later. You may like to refer to our guide on improving your credit score here.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  5. Default Gravatar
    susan | November 10, 2015

    i went bankrupt 2008 will it be of my credit vile

    • Staff
      Jonathan | November 10, 2015

      Hi Susan, thanks for your inquiry!

      The bankruptcy listing remains on your credit file for two years from the annulment date, or five years from the beginning of the bankruptcy – whichever comes later. As a result it should have been removed from your credit file now.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  6. Default Gravatar
    Karlz0000 | October 8, 2015

    I’m wondering if I can move state in Australia. I’m in NSW and I’m looking to Move to VIC. Am I able to once I’ve declared bankruptcy?

    • Staff
      Sally | October 9, 2015

      Hi Kartz0000,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      While there’s nothing stopping you from moving interstate, it is ideal that you file for bankruptcy and repay all your debts first in order to keep the debt collectors from hounding you and to protect your assets from repossession when you leave.

      However, do take note that bankruptcy may have a long lasting effect on your credit file for at least 5 years or even longer. This may affect your credibility and reputation, employment opportunities, and chances of securing credit again.

      To help you bounce back from bankruptcy, you might want to check our “Credit Repair After Bankruptcy – Can You Fix Your Credit File After Being Bankrupt?” page here.

      For more information on bankruptcy, you may also check our Facts Everyone Should Know About Bankruptcy and How to Deal with Credit Card Debt Collectors pages.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  7. Default Gravatar
    ethan | August 1, 2015

    hi i am discharged bankrupt for 6 months i voluntary went bankrupt how can i rebuild my credit rating i have a phone contract with opt-us i always pay on time i have a take home lay bye i always pay on time i have had a couple of small cash loans and all have been paid in full i have a income from my pension and i am working part time cheers

    • Staff
      Jonathan | August 3, 2015

      Hi Ethan,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please refer to the following link for a guide on how to repair your credit rating.

      l hope this has been helpful.

      Thanks,

      Jonathan

  8. Default Gravatar
    Nick | July 21, 2015

    To start I was never given the option to attend court. They put me in bankruptcy. I now have the money to pay all fees charges they are asking for 100,000 dollars. They say they will give me an annulment on receiving this money. My question is does this bankruptcy say on my credit file? also why should it if I have paid this amount in full. Can I go to court and clear my credit file as there is no outstanding debt. Regards.

    • Staff
      Sally | July 22, 2015

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Information about bankruptcy will appear on your credit file for seven years.

      If your creditor declared you bankrupt, and initiated these bankruptcy proceedings in a Federal Court or the Federal circuit using a Creditor’s Petition, the creditor will give you a copy of the petition which mentions the time and date when you have to attend the court. At the hearing, you may opt to:
      a) agree to bankruptcy
      b) disagree to bankruptcy and explain why, and
      c) ask for an adjournment because you need additional time.

      You may want to check this page for further information regarding credit reports and credit files.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  9. Default Gravatar
    Rhonda | July 7, 2015

    I entered a debt agreement in 2010. The last payment will be 14th September. How long will this show on my credit report after the final payment

    • Staff
      Sally | July 7, 2015

      Hi Rhonda,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you have a debt agreement, the length of time this information remains on file could vary depending upon when the debt agreement was entered into and when it will end. This can also vary according to the organisation you’re with. For example, Veda automatically delete information from your credit report on or just before its expiry date, calculated using the retention periods set out in the Privacy Act.

      I would contact your provider directly to confirm the information specific to your credit file.

      For further information, you may wish to consult our credit repair guide.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Sally

  10. Default Gravatar
    yvonne | July 6, 2015

    Husband’s annulment date 9/2009 (declared 6/2006) Applied for small amount credit with a company that had been part of the bankruptcy. He was told they hold information showing $300 is owed to them back in 6/2006. He was refused credit based on this, however there are no defaults,serious credit infringements or any other judgements showing on his credit report and certainly not from this company.

    Are creditors allowed to do this? Will all past creditors that were a party to his bankruptcy also retain history and refuse future credit should he apply?

    Regards
    Yvonne

    • Staff
      Jonathan | July 8, 2015

      Hi Yvonne, thanks for your inquiry!

      If a company is stating that there is a debt outstanding but your credit file does not reflect this record it would be best to rectify this issue by contacting the company’s credit department directly or seeking credit repair advice. If an amount is outstanding and has not been paid then it is the creditor’s right to refuse any further loans. Credit reporting agencies can keep a record of your bankruptcy on your credit report for up to 5 years.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated July 22nd, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
American Express Essential Credit Card
Receive a $50 credit on eligible spend and get Smartphone screen insurance combined with a no annual fee for life card. Also enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 12 months.
14.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
The NAB Low Interest Visa Card offers 0% p.a. purchase and balance transfer offers for 15 months. Also comes with a low annual fee.
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee $59 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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