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

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 November 22nd, 2017
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum Income Product Description
Westpac Low Rate Card - Online Only Balance Transfer Offer
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$59 p.a.
$1,000
$25,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee when you apply online by 31 January 2018.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
$58 p.a.
$1,000
$15,000
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, up to 3 additional cardholders at no cost and Mastercard PayPass.
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
$1,000
$15,000
$15,000
Get up to 44 interest-free days on purchases and take advantage of a low minimum credit limit.
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
$6,000
$30,000
Receive a $50 eGift Card when you apply by 31 January 2018 and make an eligible purchase by 28 February 2018.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated November 22nd, 2017
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum Income Product Description
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
$1,000
$15,000
$15,000
Get up to 44 interest-free days on purchases and take advantage of a low minimum credit limit.
NAB Premium Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$90 p.a.
$6,000
Offers 7 complimentary insurance covers, access to a 24/7 concierge service and special offers through Visa Entertainment.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% p.a. for 13 months (reverts to 12.99% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 13 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$79 p.a.
$1,000
Receive 0% interest offers on purchases & balance transfers, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and free emergency card replacement.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the protection of Verified by Visa online purchases.
NAB Low Fee Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
$500
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance, special offers from Visa Entertainment and up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
Westpac Low Rate Card - Online Only Balance Transfer Offer
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$59 p.a.
$1,000
$25,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee when you apply online by 31 January 2018.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
$58 p.a.
$1,000
$15,000
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, up to 3 additional cardholders at no cost and Mastercard PayPass.
St.George Vertigo Visa - Online Offer
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
$500
$80,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers (with no BT fee). Plus, $0 annual fee in the first year. Ends 13 December 2017.
ANZ Frequent Flyer
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($95 p.a. thereafter)
$1,000
$15,000
$15,000
Get 25,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months.
McGrath Pink Visa
4.99% p.a. for 8 months (reverts to 8.99% p.a.)
4.99% p.a. for 8 months
$40 p.a.
$1,000
$15,000
A basic, no-frills credit card with up to 55 days interest-free that donates half of the card's annual fee to the McGrath Foundation.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
0% p.a. for 13 months (reverts to 12.99% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 13 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
$6,000
Receive complimentary international travel insurance, extended warranty cover and 0% foreign transaction fees.
Greater Bank Visa Credit Card
11.95% p.a.
$40 p.a.
$1,000
$25,000
Same low 11.95% p.a. interest rate on purchases and cash advances, plus, up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
ANZ Rewards Credit Card
18.79% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($80 p.a. thereafter)
$1,000
$15,000
$15,000
Receive 25,000 bonus Reward Points when you spend $2,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from approval.
ANZ Low Rate Platinum
11.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
$6,000
$35,000
Get $250 back to your new ANZ Low Rate Platinum when you spend $500 on eligible purchases within the first 60 days from card approval.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
$6,000
$35,000
Exclusive to finder, receive 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months with no balance transfer fee.
St.George Amplify Signature
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
$15,000
$80,000
Earn up to 1.5 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive two complimentary airport lounge passes per year.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Get up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and be protected by a 24/7 fraud monitoring service.
NAB Qantas Rewards Card
19.99% p.a.
4.99% p.a. for 6 months
$95 p.a.
$500
A Visa card that rewards you with 0.5 Qantas points per $1 spent, plus complimentary purchase protection insurance.
NAB Velocity Rewards Card
19.99% p.a.
4.99% p.a. for 6 months
$95 p.a.
$500
This Visa card offers 0.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases and special Visa Entertainment offers.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
4.99% p.a. for 6 months
$59 p.a.
$500
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, special offers from Visa Entertainment and Tap and Pay capabilities.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated November 22nd, 2017
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum Income Product Description
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
$15,000
$80,000
$75,000
Earn 1.5 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive an additional card at no extra cost.
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
$6,000
$80,000
Platinum card benefits plus 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers (with no BT fee) and $0 annual fee in the first year. Ends 13 December 2017.
BankSA Vertigo Visa
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Get up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and be protected by a 24/7 fraud monitoring service.
BankSA Amplify Signature
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
$15,000
$80,000
$75,000
Earn 1.5 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent, receive complimentary travel insurance and access to the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa Credit Card
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$55 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and the protection of Verified by Visa online purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
$6,000
$80,000
Get a range of complimentary insurance covers, access to a 24/7 concierge and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
St.George Vertigo Visa - Online Offer
13.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
$500
$80,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers (with no BT fee). Plus, $0 annual fee in the first year. Ends 13 December 2017.
BankSA Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$99 p.a.
$6,000
$80,000
Take advantage of purchase protection, extended warranty and overseas travel insurance, plus a 24/7 concierge.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
$6,000
$80,000
$35,000
Earn 1 Amplify Rewards Point per $1 spent and receive complimentary travel insurance and purchase protection.
St.George Amplify Signature
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
$15,000
$80,000
Earn up to 1.5 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive two complimentary airport lounge passes per year.
BankSA Amplify Platinum
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
$6,000
$80,000
$35,000
Earn 1 Amplify Rewards Point per $1 spent and redeem for a wide range of products including flights.
Australian Military Bank Low Rate Visa Credit Card
10.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$49 p.a.
$1,000
Enjoy up to 55 interest-free days on purchases, add an additional cardholder for $0 and enjoy the convenience of Visa payWave.

Compare up to 4 providers

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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

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136 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    DanielSeptember 26, 2017

    What is my credit score.

    • Staff
      JudithSeptember 27, 2017Staff

      Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for contacting finder, an Australian comparison website and general information service.

      Just scroll down on this page and click the orange button “Get my free score.”

      I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Judith

  2. Default Gravatar
    sonyaFebruary 10, 2017

    I declared bankruptcy 6 years ago, how do i go about getting my name cleared so i can get credit for things like a mobile phone?

    • Staff
      AnndyFebruary 17, 2017Staff

      Hi Sonya,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you enter into bankruptcy it will be removed from your credit file two years from the date you’re discharged or five years from the date you became bankrupt, whichever is later.

      In the meantime, you may check this page for more information how to improve your credit score.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  3. Default Gravatar
    September 5, 2016

    Hi just wondering i am newly discharged from bankruptcy and i was hoping to get a credit card as i have a family and would love to have something there for emergency. Which credit cards may i be able to get or were might give me the best chance

    • Staff
      ArraSeptember 20, 2016Staff

      Hi Josh,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that finder.com.au is an online comparison service and is not in a position to recommend specific products, providers and services.

      To help you get back on track from bankruptcy and improve your chance of credit card approval in the future, you might want to check “What types of credit cards can I get after bankruptcy?” and compare your options from the comparison tables following that section on this page.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      Arra

  4. Default Gravatar
    JimAugust 15, 2016

    Hello

    My question is. Just wondering if it is possible to negotiate to re-pay my debt now I have a secure and full time employment is this possible and would this action clear the slate.

    • Staff
      MayAugust 15, 2016Staff

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Just to confirm, have you declared bankruptcy before? If so, a careful planning to repair your credit and financial health is indeed important. Repaying your previous debts is just one of the ways to start the repair. You may like to read our article about how to get your life back after bankruptcy, which you may find our tips useful.

      Cheers,
      May

  5. Default Gravatar
    RoniMay 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
      MayMay 6, 2016Staff

      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

  6. Default Gravatar
    joeApril 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
      MayApril 18, 2016Staff

      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

  7. Default Gravatar
    Jeanniew46@hotmail.comMarch 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
      JonathanMarch 2, 2016Staff

      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

  8. Default Gravatar
    steveFebruary 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
      JonathanFebruary 23, 2016Staff

      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

  9. Default Gravatar
    susanNovember 10, 2015

    i went bankrupt 2008 will it be of my credit vile

    • Staff
      JonathanNovember 10, 2015Staff

      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

  10. Default Gravatar
    Karlz0000October 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
      SallyOctober 9, 2015Staff

      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

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