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Many consumers mistakenly believe filing for bankruptcy forever ruins credit scores. The reality is people can repair their scores during and after bankruptcy. This is not to say bankruptcy does not damage scores. It does hurt a person’s credit in a big way. However, many consumers can get their financial lives back on track despite filing for bankruptcy protection. Here are some proven ways to rebuild credit scores.

Pay Existing Accounts on Time

Bankruptcy does not protect all accounts, so it is imperative to pay those accounts on time to rebuild credit scores. If the monthly obligation is not met after filing, there is little chance of repairing credit scores.

Additionally, consumers should never ignore any accounts that show up on their credit reports. If it is a legitimate account, it must be paid. If not, it must be removed.

Apply for a Secured Credit Card

Consumers can improve their credit scores by applying for secured credit cards. This form of credit requires a deposit before consumers can access any funds, and the initial deposit represents the maximum credit limit.

By paying secured credit cards on time, consumers will start to see their credit scores improve with each timely payment. Additionally, many secured card issuers will switch it to an unsecured card with repeated on-time payments.

Limit New Credit

Consumers should limit the number of credit card and loan applications they submit. If at all possible, people dealing with bankruptcy and credit issues should not apply for any new unsecured credit until their scores start to improve.

When consumers apply for new credit, it shows up on credit reports as hard inquiries, which lowers credit scores. When creditors deny applications, it has an even more significant impact on scores.

Avoid Scammers

Many credit repair companies and other organizations claim they can remove bankruptcies from credit reports. Unfortunately, this is not possible. Once a bankruptcy gets reported to the credit bureaus, it cannot be removed for a minimum of seven years.

There is nothing any organization or company can do to remove a bankruptcy from a credit report early. These companies usually just file a dispute on behalf of consumers after they have taken a significant amount of money. The dispute, however, will go nowhere.