The Fixer: Getting over bankruptcy

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Have you been left out of pocket due to poor service or sharp practice? Do you have a money problem that won't go away?

It can seem impossible to get a fair result when you are battling a financial issue alone. But never fear! The AOL Money Fixer is here to help.


Dear Fixer,
I went bankrupt six years ago and have been using a basic bank account since then.

However, I would now like to open a standard bank account and take out a mortgage if possible.

Can you give me some guidance on how to get my finances back to normal?

J Moore, Nottingham

Dear Mr Moore,
While bankruptcy only generally lasts for 12 months, it remains on your credit file for six years, during which time most people find it hard to borrow money or open a current account.

Even now that you are six years on, the likelihood of you being given a mortgage is low - unless you can raise a very large deposit to put down against the purchase.

You may well be able to take out a normal current account, though. And my advice would be to contact the bank providing your basic bank account first.

As long as you have managed your account well over the years since being declared bankrupt, it may well feel that you have earned the right to upgrade to a standard account - although you are unlikely to be offered a large overdraft facility, for example.

The good news is also that as long as you stay in credit in this account, having it will help to further improve your credit rating so that more accounts and offers become available to you in the years to come.

While credit cards should always be treated with caution, there are also cards aimed at people in your position who are trying to rebuild their credit scores.

Cards that you may qualify for include the Capital One Classic Preferred and the aqua Classic - although the sky-high interest rates, and the fact that owing money on them will only do further damage to your credit score, make it imperative to pay any balance off in full each and every month.

If you have problems obtaining a current account or credit builder card, it is also worth checking that credit reference agencies such as Experian have removed your bankruptcy from your file.

You may need to send them a copy of an official document about your discharge if this does not happen automatically after the six-year term. Good luck!

The Fixer

Whatever your financial problem, write to themoneyfixer@aim.com and The AOL Money Fixer will get on the case.