Dear Liz: I was recently solicited by a credit card company. I didn’t need another credit card, but this offered airlines miles that I collect, so I applied. They didn’t approve the application because: “You have filed for bankruptcy and your previous account(s) with us was included in that filing. This includes any of your accounts issued by (us) such as Visa, MasterCard, store cards or gas cards.” Liz, the bankruptcy was 12 years ago, and I am very well financially situated now. I thought there was an expiration date on bankruptcies appearing on your credit report.
Answer: There is. Bankruptcies have to be removed from your credit reports after 10 years.
Individual lenders, though, are allowed to have much longer memories. And some have opted not to forget. If you ever file a bankruptcy that wipes out debt on one of the accounts they issue, they may never again approve you for credit. That’s perfectly legal.
Not all lenders are so unforgiving, of course, and those who don’t know about your bankruptcy likely will be perfectly willing to extend you credit as long as your credit scores are good. But you’re probably wasting your time trying to induce this once-spurned lender to change its mind.