How Long Does Bankruptcy Stay on Credit Report?

Bankruptcy is a legal process that provides relief to individuals or businesses that are unable to pay their debts. But, how long does bankruptcy stay on credit report in Canada? In this guide, we aim to answer this question in detail, shedding light on the influence of bankruptcy on credit reports, the duration of its impact, and ways to mitigate it.

Understanding Credit Reports in Canada

Before diving into the details of bankruptcy and its effects, it’s crucial to understand what a credit report is and how it operates in Canada. In essence, a credit report is a summary of an individual’s credit history, documenting their financial behavior over time.

What’s in a Credit Report?

A credit report contains information like:

 

  • Personal identification details;
  • Credit accounts and loans;
  • Payment history;
  • Overdue debts and collections;
  • Public records such as bankruptcies and court judgments.

 

In Canada, the primary credit reporting agencies are Equifax and TransUnion. These organizations collect credit information from various sources, including banks, credit card companies, and courts, and provide it to potential lenders as a measure of creditworthiness.

Impact of Bankruptcy on Credit Report

Bankruptcy, undeniably, has a significant impact on one’s credit report. It’s considered negative information and can dramatically affect an individual’s ability to secure loans or credit in the future.

How Long Does Bankruptcy Stay on Credit Report in Canada?

The duration of bankruptcy’s presence on a credit report in Canada varies depending on several factors. The most crucial determinant is whether it’s a first-time or subsequent bankruptcy.

 

For a first-time bankruptcy, Equifax retains the information for 6 years from the date of discharge. TransUnion, on the other hand, maintains this information for 6 to 7 years, depending on the provincial legislation.

For subsequent bankruptcies, both Equifax and TransUnion retain the information for
14 years.

 

How Other Negative Information Affects Credit Report

Beyond bankruptcy, several other types of negative information can affect your credit report. Here’s how long you can expect them to stay:

 

Late Payments: Late payments can stay on your credit report for up to 6 years from the date they were reported.

Collection Accounts: If an account is handed over to a collection agency due to non-payment, the entire collection account would be removed 6 years from the date of your last payment.

Judgments: Debts you owe because of a court action can stay on your credit report for 6 years.

Registered Consumer Proposal: This is a legal agreement between you and your creditors which will be removed from your credit report 3 years after you’ve paid off all the debts according to the proposal, or 6 years from the date it was filed, whichever comes first.

Secured Loans: These remain on your credit report for 6 years from the date filed.

Banking Items: Items such as cheques returned for insufficient funds can stay on your credit report for 6 years from the date reported.

Positive Information and Its Duration on Credit Report

Positive information on your credit report can help offset the negative impact of bankruptcy or other unfavorable information. Positive information includes:

 

Active Accounts Paid as Agreed: These remain on your credit report as long as the account is open and the lender is reporting it.

Closed Accounts Paid as Agreed: If the last status of the account is reported by the lender as paid as agreed, the account would stay on your credit report for up to 10 years from the date it was reported by the lender as closed.

 

Inquiries made by potential lenders or service providers, known as hard inquiries, can remain on your credit report for 3 years.

Regularly Checking Your Credit Report

Regularly reviewing your credit report is a crucial step towards ensuring its accuracy and completeness. It allows you to confirm that any negative information, including bankruptcy, falls off after the appropriate time period.

You can order a free copy of your credit reports by contacting Equifax or TransUnion.

Dealing with Errors on Your Credit Report

Credit reports, while generally accurate, can contain errors. These could be due to human error or even identity theft. If you find an error on your credit report, the first step is to contact the credit reporting agency and inform them of the error. The agency will then contact the financial institution that reported the information to confirm if it’s indeed an error.

Rebuilding Credit Post-Bankruptcy

Although bankruptcy can significantly impact your credit report, it’s not the end of the road. With careful planning and disciplined financial behavior, it’s possible to rebuild your credit post-bankruptcy.

Here are a few steps to consider:

 

Repay Debts on Time: Consistently making payments on time can help improve your credit score over time.

Apply for a Secured Credit Card: A secured credit card can be an excellent way to rebuild credit. It requires a security deposit, which reduces the risk for the lender.

Keep Credit Utilization Low: Try to keep your credit utilization – the amount of credit you’re using compared to your credit limit – as low as possible.

Diversify Your Credit: Having a mix of credit types, such as credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts, and mortgage loans, can positively impact your credit score.

Conclusion

Understanding how long bankruptcy stays on a credit report in Canada can help individuals navigate their financial futures more effectively post-bankruptcy. While bankruptcy does have a significant impact on one’s credit report, it’s not a life sentence. With careful financial management and strategic planning, it’s entirely possible to rebuild your credit and restore your financial health.

For more detailed information related to credit reporting, visit Equifax Canada or Trans Union website. You can also reach out to a licensed trustee for professional advice. Trustee services are available across Canada. Get a free consultation today!

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