Video: Which Hurts Your Credit Scores More: Bankruptcy or Debt Settlement?

Which can hurt your credit scores more: declaring bankruptcy or choosing debt settlement? Both can be bad, but bankruptcy is the worst.

Bankruptcy is the most damaging event that can happen to someone’s credit. When you file for bankruptcy, you’re asking a court to erase some or all of your debts. That doesn’t bode well for your credit scores, which are designed to measure how well you repay your debts. The record of a bankruptcy on your credit report can stay for up to ten years. Any late or missed payments, discharged balances and other negative information can remain on your credit report for up to seven years.

Debt settlement, on the other hand, is an agreement with a creditor to repay a portion of what you owe and have the rest essentially “written off” by the creditor. Accounts may be reported as settled for less than the full amount owed, which can negatively impact your credit – though generally much less severely than a declaration of bankruptcy. Explore your options and select the choice that does the least amount of damage to your credit. Even though deciding between these two options means you haven’t done the best job keeping up with your responsibilities in the past, there’s no time like the present to challenge yourself to stay on top of your payments

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

Published by permission from, Inc., an Experian company. © 2015, Inc. All rights reserved.