Is there credit access after bankruptcy? The Community Studies and Education Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia discussed the research on credit availability after bankruptcy in its Research in Brief. The article explores whether it makes a discernible difference in post-bankruptcy access to credit after filing for Chapter 7 protection or Chapter 13. A study that included the timing and type of bankruptcy filings, the opening and closing of credit accounts and the credit limits associated with such accounts was conducted using data from Equifax, one of the largest credit bureaus in the U.S., and focused on unsecured debt (i.e., credit cards).

The study showed that credit scores start to improve dramatically before discharge of the debts in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings, which may be due to the waiting period before debtors may file for bankruptcy again. Even though filers may be able to obtain some unsecured credit after bankruptcy with their improved credit scores, their credit limits are substantially lower than before the bankruptcy. “Chapter 7 filers have a greater opportunity to acquire unsecured credit from new lenders than Chapter 13 filers.” For Chapter 13 filers, the opportunity for new credit cards came more slowly, “possibly because they were using a portion of their income to pay down old debts and because they can file for bankruptcy again more quickly than Chapter 7 filers can.” Despite having less access to new credit, Chapter 13 filers are “better able to maintain old credit and … have higher overall credit limits” than Chapter 7 filers.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Credit Access After Bankruptcy, or any other Bankruptcy matters, please feel free to contact Joel E. Sannes at 480.461.5307, or log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.