Restoring your credit after filing for bankruptcy can be tougher than starting from scratch as you work to show lenders and credit card companies that you will pay off your debts after past difficulties.

However, it’s possible to make progress quickly, even if your credit score takes a considerable hit. Start by reviewing your credit report to make sure it is free of errors that could further complicate your recovery.

Five strategies for repairing your credit

While bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, there are immediate steps you can take to regain control, including:

  • Pay your bills on time: Your payment history is the most significant factor affecting your credit score. When restoring your credit, you must avoid missing a payment.
  • Get a secured credit card: If your credit accounts are now closed due to bankruptcy, this type of card requires an upfront deposit, which typically becomes your credit limit.
  • Get a credit-builder loan: If you belong to a credit union or community bank, they will not release the money to you until you have fully repaid the amount. The purpose of this type of loan is to help you improve your credit profile.
  • Become an authorized user: Having someone add you as an authorized user on a credit card helps your credit status regardless of whether you make any charges or use the account.
  • Find a co-signer: If you struggle finding access to credit accounts, ask a family member or close friend to co-sign a loan or credit card. It’s a huge favor, and the person must be comfortable putting their credit reputation on the line to help you rebuild your credit. Be cautious before using this option.

Plot a course for financial freedom

While most Americans only consider bankruptcy as a last resort, it doesn’t have to be a permanent blemish on your credit history. The good news is that by taking action immediately, you should start to see improvement in your credit report within a few months as positive actions will replace the negatives.