Credit Report Changes Effective July 1: A Double-Edged Sword for Bankruptcy Filers

A credit report is a vital tool for a consumer struggling with debt. A detailed credit report is a treasure trove of information including:

  • who you owe
  • how much you owe
  • addresses for creditors
  • public records such as liens and judgments filed against a consumer

Your credit report can be the most valuable piece of information. A bankruptcy attorney needs to give you the most accurate assessment of your financial situation and how bankruptcy might assist you.

New Credit Reports May Be Missing Some Information

Effective July 1, 2017, a consumer’s credit report may look a little different than in the past.  The three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) will enforce stricter rules on public records they collect. They will require any public record, such as a lawsuit, judgment or real property lien submitted for reporting on a consumer’s credit report, to include the consumer’s name, address and either their Social Security number or date of birth. If any of this information is missing on a reported public record, it will no longer be reported on a consumer’s credit report.

These stricter rules will likely mean that millions of Americans will see an increase in their credit scores. Lawsuits, judgments and liens are negative marks on a credit report, lowering a credit score. If these stricter requirements are not met and information is missing, these negative marks will be removed from a consumer’s credit report whereby slightly increasing their credit scores.

How Does This New Credit Reporting Change Affect Me If I’m Considering Bankruptcy?

This change is a double-edged sword for bankruptcy filers. Yes, your credit score may look better than you thought. However, public record information is vital information for planning a bankruptcy.  You need to know about judgments and liens may exist against you.  Many consumers have no idea they even have a lien on their property or a judgment against them. Pulling a credit report that shows this information is vital understanding your true financial and legal situation.

If this information is not reflected on their credit report, a consumer that owns real estate would have to search the records of their resident county’s register of deeds office to discover whether a lien had been placed on their property by one of their creditors. Bankruptcy filing can extinguish judgment liens in some cases – but it requires knowledge of the lien at the time the case is pending so action can be taken to wipe out the lien if possible.

At Flexer Law, we pull a credit report for every new bankruptcy client that retains our office to represent them in their bankruptcy petition. The credit report we pull combines the reporting from two of the three major credit reporting agencies into one report.  In addition, our credit report also performs a search through a service called LexisNexis for public records and lien information that might be available. This service will allow our office to continue to access public records and lien information that might not otherwise be reported on your credit report because of these new changes.

Questions about your credit report? Need bankruptcy advice? Call Flexer Law to schedule a free bankruptcy consultation at 615-255-2893.