Credit repair after bankruptcy

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

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If you've declared bankruptcy or are a discharged bankrupt, there are some steps you can take to improve your credit history. Bankruptcy remains on your credit file for up to seven years, so you can set short and long-term goals to get your finances back in order. From growing your savings to improving your repayment behaviour, you can use this guide to discover how you can improve your credit during and after your bankruptcy.

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How to repair your credit after bankruptcy

By following the positive financial steps below, 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 and shows lenders that 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. Savings can demonstrate to lenders that you have the ability to financially manage your finances. Start by regularly putting money aside, even if it is just a small amount that you transfer to a dedicated savings account. You can also use finder's guide to budgeting to get started.
  • 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. You can learn how they work and compare our options in finder's comprehensive guide to term deposits.
  • 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. You should also wait until you've built up your credit score before you apply for any lines of credit, otherwise any rejected applications could further hurt your credit report.
  • Make payments on time. Whether you have a secured loan or an electricity account in your name, paying 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 learn what options are available, consider contacting 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 credit repair process takes time, but each positive behaviour will have a good impact on your credit file. You can check out finder's guide to credit repair for more tips.

Is it worth contacting a credit repair agency after bankruptcy?

If you've found any incorrect negative listings or black marks on your file, you can enlist the help of a professional credit repair agency to have those listings removed. However, these credit repair agencies may be able to do little for you 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.

Want to know more? Check out finder's guide to Australian credit repair companies to compare your options.

What types of credit cards can I get after bankruptcy?

Most Australian credit cards require new cardholders to have a good credit history and score to receive approval for a credit card. This means that you're unlikely to be eligible for a credit card shortly after bankruptcy. However, if you've been following the steps above and have improved your credit score, there are some credit cards that could be suited to you. Some options include:

  • Low income credit cards. These cards come with low minimum annual income requirements of around $15,000 to $25,000 per year. They usually offer features such as low interest rates, competitive annual fees and sometimes 0% balance transfer offers. If used properly and paid in full each statement period, these cards could help you build up your credit history without high costs.
  • Low credit limit cards. These cards have low maximum credit limits, which can help you keep your spending under control. When you apply for a credit card, you should request a realistic credit limit and make sure you stick to a budget to avoid overspending. Again, paying off your balance in full each statement is ideal and will help you avoid interest costs.
  • Joint account credit cards. You can apply for some credit cards 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.

You should only apply for a card when you are confident you’ll meet the eligibility requirements and can manage the account responsibly. Make sure to compare your options and consider contacting the card issuer before applying to discuss your likelihood of approval before applying.

Compare low income, low credit limit and joint-account credit cards

Rates last updated August 20th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum Income Product Description
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$59 p.a.
$1,000
$25,000
$15,000
A no frills, low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 16 months, with no balance transfer fee.
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
20.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
$1,000
Get up to 18 months interest-free on balance transfers and save with a low $30 annual fee. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Annual Fee Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$50 p.a.
$6,000
$100,000
$35,000
Save with an ongoing $50 annual fee and 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, the ability to earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months.
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
18.99% p.a.
6.9% p.a. for 36 months
$0 p.a.
$2,000
$10,000
$25,000
Offers 6.9% p.a. for 36 months on balance transfers and up to 44 days interest-free on purchases, all for a $0 annual fee.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated August 20th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum Income Product Description
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$59 p.a.
$1,000
$25,000
$15,000
A no frills, low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 16 months, with no balance transfer fee.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
13.99% 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. Plus, a low annual fee and competitive purchase rate.
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.99% 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 balance transfer fee. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase rate.
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
20.24% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
$1,000
Get up to 18 months interest-free on balance transfers and save with a low $30 annual fee. Plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
St.George Amplify
0% for 14 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
$79 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months. Plus earn uncapped Amplify or Qantas Points per dollar spent.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Card
0% for 14 months, reverts to 19.74% 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
13.99% 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. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase interest rate.
BankSA Amplify
0% for 14 months, reverts to 19.74% 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.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Annual Fee Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$50 p.a.
$6,000
$100,000
$35,000
Save with an ongoing $50 annual fee and 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, the ability to earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months.
BOQ Low Rate Visa Credit Card
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$55 p.a.
$2,000
$20,000
$25,000
A no-frills card offering 0% on balance transfers for the first 14 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a competitive purchase interest rate.
St.George No Annual Fee
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
$500
$40,000
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, a low minimum credit limit of $500 and a long-term balance transfer offer.
Bank of Melbourne No Annual Fee Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
$500
$40,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and no annual fee for the life of the card.
BankSA No Annual Fee
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
$500
$40,000
Offers a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and an ongoing $0 annual fee.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated August 20th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum Income Product Description
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$179 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
$15,000
$80,000
Earn 100,000 bonus Amplify Points each year for the first two years (200,000 total) when you spend $12,000 p.a., plus, complimentary lounge passes.
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.99% 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 balance transfer fee. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase rate.
St.George Amplify Signature - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$179 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
$15,000
$80,000
Get 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 in 90 days and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
BankSA Vertigo
13.99% 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. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase interest rate.
St.George Amplify
0% for 14 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
$79 p.a.
$500
$80,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months. Plus earn uncapped Amplify or Qantas Points per dollar spent.
BankSA Amplify Signature
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$179 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
$15,000
$80,000
Earn 100,000 bonus Amplify Points each year for the first 2 years (200,000 total) when you spend $12,000 p.a.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
13.99% 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. Plus, a low annual fee and competitive purchase rate.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
$6,000
$80,000
Features a long-term 0% balance transfer offer, $49 first year annual fee and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
BankSA Vertigo Platinum
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
$6,000
$80,000
Offers a long-term balance transfer, a discounted annual fee of $49 for the first year and complimentary travel insurance with a low purchase rate.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$99 p.a.
$6,000
$80,000
Earn up to 100,000 bonus Amplify Points (50,000 per year) when you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases each year for the first 2 years.
BankSA Amplify Platinum
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$99 p.a.
$6,000
$80,000
Earn up to 100,000 bonus Amplify Points (50,000 per year) when you spend $6,000 p.a. for the first 2 years.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Card
0% for 14 months, reverts to 19.74% 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% for 14 months, reverts to 19.74% 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
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
$6,000
$80,000
Offers a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 18 months, a reduced annual fee for the first year and complimentary travel insurance.
BankSA Amplify Signature - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$179 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
$15,000
$80,000
Get 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days. Plus, complimentary lounge passes.
BankSA No Annual Fee
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
$500
$40,000
Offers a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and an ongoing $0 annual fee.
St.George No Annual Fee
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
$500
$40,000
Receive up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, a low minimum credit limit of $500 and a long-term balance transfer offer.
Bank of Melbourne No Annual Fee Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
$500
$40,000
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and no annual fee for the life of the card.

Compare up to 4 providers

If you've filed for bankruptcy, there are a few different strategies you can consider to get your finances back on track. Build up your savings, pay your accounts on time and only apply for credit products once your credit score has improved. It will take time, but each of the tips above will help strengthen your credit history in the long run.

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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?

    • Default Gravatar
      JoelSeptember 28, 2018

      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.

    • Avatarfinder 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?

    • Avatarfinder 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.

    • Avatarfinder 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?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeFebruary 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
    JoshSeptember 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

    • Avatarfinder 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.

    • Avatarfinder 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.

    • Avatarfinder 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?

    • Avatarfinder 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.

    • Avatarfinder 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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