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Credit repair after bankruptcy

How to repair your credit after bankruptcy and get your finances back on track.

Making the decision to declare bankruptcy is a difficult one which is made with an eye to improving your finances. Bankruptcy lasts a number of years, during which time you can start to improve your financial position so you're in a good place when the bankruptcy is removed from your credit report.

This guide will take you through what you need to know about improving your credit during and after bankruptcy.

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How to repair your credit after bankruptcy

By taking any of the following positive financial steps, you can start to improve your credit position after bankruptcy:

  • 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 on your credit file. So it is important to realise this process does take time, but is definitely worth it in the long run.

What to know about credit repair agencies

There are a number of credit repair agencies that claim they can improve your credit report. These "credit repair" 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

    These cards come with low minimum income requirements and offer basic 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 October 21st, 2018
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
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
$1,000
$25,000
$15,000
Offers a 0% for 24 month balance transfer option, first year annual fee waiver and a competitive purchase rate.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
$58 p.a.
$1,000
$15,000
Save with a 0% p.a. introductory rate on balance transfers for 15 months with no BT fee. Plus a low 12.49% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
$1,000
$15,000
Get up to 18 months interest-free on balance transfers and save with a low $30 annual fee. Plus, up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated October 21st, 2018
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
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
$1,000
$25,000
$15,000
Offers a 0% for 24 month balance transfer option, first year annual fee waiver and a competitive purchase rate.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
$58 p.a.
$1,000
$15,000
Save with a 0% p.a. introductory rate on balance transfers for 15 months with no BT fee. Plus a low 12.49% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$55 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest for up to 16 months on balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a competitively low annual fee and purchase rate.
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$55 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 16 months on balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a competitively low annual fee and purchase rate.
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
$1,000
$15,000
Get up to 18 months interest-free on balance transfers and save with a low $30 annual fee. Plus, up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$59 p.a.
$500
Receive an introductory 0% p.a. interest rate for 6 months on purchases, Visa Entertainment offers and a competitive $59 ongoing annual fee.
NAB Low Fee Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
$500
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance, a 18 month balance transfer offer and special offers from Visa Entertainment.
ANZ Rewards Credit Card
18.79% p.a.
$80 p.a.
$1,000
$15,000
Earn uncapped Reward Points and get 25,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 within the first 3 months from approval.
St.George Amplify
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 19.49% p.a.)
$79 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months. Plus, earn 1 Amplify Point per $1 spent on eligible purchases, uncapped.
NAB Qantas Rewards Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$95 p.a.
$500
A Visa card that offers 0.5 Qantas points per $1 spent, complimentary purchase protection insurance and up to 44 interest-free days on purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Card
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 19.49% p.a.)
$79 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months. Plus, your choice of Amplify or Qantas Points.
BankSA Vertigo Classic
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$55 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate for up to 16 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a low variable purchase rate.
BankSA Amplify
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 19.49% p.a.)
$79 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months. Plus, your choice of Amplify or Qantas Points.
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 purchase and balance transfer offers of 0% p.a. for 13 months, a low ongoing rate and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
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 a 0% p.a. interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for 13 months, complimentary travel insurance and 0% foreign transaction fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated October 21st, 2018
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.
$179 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
$15,000
$80,000
Get 100,000 bonus Amplify or Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days and earn up to Amplify or 1.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$55 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 16 months on balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a competitively low annual fee and purchase rate.
St.George Amplify Signature - Qantas
19.49% p.a.
$179 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
$15,000
$80,000
Enjoy 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
BankSA Vertigo Classic
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$55 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate for up to 16 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a low variable purchase rate.
St.George Amplify
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 19.49% p.a.)
$79 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months. Plus, earn 1 Amplify Point per $1 spent on eligible purchases, uncapped.
BankSA Amplify Signature
19.49% p.a.
$179 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
$15,000
$80,000
Receive 100,000 bonus Amplify Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days. Plus, 2 complimentary Priority Pass lounge passes per year.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$55 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest for up to 16 months on balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a competitively low annual fee and purchase rate.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
$6,000
$80,000
Offers a long-term balance transfer, $0 first year annual fee, complimentary travel insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
BankSA Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
$6,000
$80,000
Offers a long-term balance transfer, $0 first year annual fee, complimentary travel insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
19.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
$6,000
$80,000
Receive 50,000 bonus Amplify Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days. Plus, enjoy a $0 first year annual fee and uncapped rewards points.
BankSA Amplify Platinum
19.49% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
$6,000
$80,000
Receive 50,000 bonus Amplify Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and save with a $0 first year annual fee.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Card
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 19.49% p.a.)
$79 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months. Plus, your choice of Amplify or Qantas Points.
BankSA Amplify
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 19.49% p.a.)
$79 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months. Plus, your choice of Amplify or Qantas Points.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
$6,000
$80,000
Offers 26-month balance transfer, $0 annual fee for the first year, complimentary travel insurance and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
BankSA Amplify Signature - Qantas
19.49% p.a.
$179 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
$15,000
$80,000
Receive 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days. Plus, a discounted first year annual fee and lounge passes.

Compare up to 4 providers

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Questions we've been asked about bankruptcy

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142 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BrockSeptember 28, 2018

    Once all defaults are removed from my credit file (after 5 years) can they still appear on my credit report when applying for finance/credit? Or are they completely gone after 5 years?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoelSeptember 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Brock,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      When a default is recorded on your credit report, it remains there for five years. During those five years, potential lenders may look unfavourably on your credit application, as the default indicates you have failed to pay off a debt in the past. Defaults will only stay in your file for 5 years. After that period when you will get your credit report, it will no longer show up.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else. :)

      Cheers,
      Joel

  2. Default Gravatar
    BrockSeptember 27, 2018

    I went bankrupt over 10 years ago and now well and truely discharged from this. But I have received a few defaults on my credit file since then. I’m an idiot, I know…

    The defaults that I received after my bankruptcy have now been paid/deleted from my credit file but I am just wondering if I ever have a chance of getting credit again.

    I know I have a less than colourful financial past but am making the steps to rectify this and hopefully buy a house in the next 5 years. I have a well paying job and save every cent that I can. I’m just worried that the fact that I received defaults AFTER being discharged from bankruptcy will render me unsuitable for any credit in the future.

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnSeptember 27, 2018Staff

      Hi Brock,

      Thank you for leaving a comment on the page.

      I am happy that you are doing all that you can to improve your credit score. Generally, defaults may be retained on your credit report for 7-10 years. Here are a few articles that you may be interested in to help you further in getting your credit score back to good standing.

      Improve your credit score
      Is credit repair worth it?
      Secrets to fast credit repair

      Hope these help!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  3. Default Gravatar
    TaraApril 23, 2018

    I was discharged from bankruptcy in 2012. Since then I have bought a house and have a credit card but no credit score as it says its still on my record, it shouldn’t be. Who do I speak to?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniApril 23, 2018Staff

      Hi Tara,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      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.

      To repair your credit rating, you may seek professional help from a credit repair specialist. 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.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  4. Default Gravatar
    DanielSeptember 26, 2017

    What is my credit score.

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  5. 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?

    • finder Customer Care
      LouFebruary 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

  6. 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

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  7. 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.

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  8. 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.

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  9. 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?

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  10. 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.

    • finder Customer Care
      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

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