Q. Is Debt Settlement like Bankruptcy?
A: There is a major difference between Debt Settlement and Bankruptcy in many areas. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy remains on your credit report for a minimum of 10 years, whereas your charged-off accounts (the derogatory accounts) may remain on your credit file for only 7 years. Sometimes, these may be removed by a competent credit repair firm earlier. But be advised that most credit repair companies will just take your money and not deliver the promised results.
Never enter a Debt Settlement program, under the assumption that you will get the negative accounts removed in less than 7 years. To be safe, base your decision on the 7 year rule, then, if you are successful in removing negative accounts earlier through a credit repair program (www.phxfast.com), it will just be frosting on the cake.
Bankruptcy reporting on your credit file may also affect other areas of your life. Bankruptcy is a PUBLIC RECORD. Most counties report recent bankruptcies in the newspaper every month or every quarter. The is also a publication that most lenders subscribe to the provide them all the recent filings. Bankruptcies filings can be found at the county registry as it is considered public information.
So its important to understand that a bankruptcy is not easy to hide from and is considered public information.Most employers pull credit files on potential candidates. It is likely that the candidate without bankruptcy will have a better chance at the position. Additionally, some employers will not hire an individual with a bankruptcy on their credit file, period. Lastly, some positions will absolutely exclude a candidate with a bankruptcy. This is especially true for security jobs, high level management jobs, jobs at banks and financial institution and many other types of positions.
Bankruptcy can also cause issues with renting. Many landlords will not rent to individuals with a bankruptcy file. While, landlords cannot discriminate, they may legally not rent to someone based on their credit profile.
Bankruptcy can also exclude you from loans in the future. While its true that some creditors will grant credit after a person files bankruptcy, (although there is typically a waiting period) some creditors will not grant a loan to anyone with a bankruptcy on their credit file. Most loan applications ask if you have filed bankruptcy in the past 10 years, and some actually ask if you have ever filed for bankruptcy. Although the question - have you ever filed for bankruptcy may not be a lawful question, nonetheless, if you do not answer it, it will raise a red flag and if you answer "no" you will not be truthful.
No matter how you cut it, bankruptcy can affect many areas of your life and should be avoided at all cost. It should be your last resort. You should not file bankruptcy until all your options have been exhausted or at the very least explored. Unless you have come to the decision that you have no other viable options.