Debtors must understand that under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the slow or non-payment of debts causes damage to one's credit rating. Bad ratings may remain on ones report for up to seven years from the date of last activity. In this regard, Chapter 13's are usually viewed more favorable than Chapter 7's by future creditors. The filing of a bankruptcy petition may remain on one's report for up to ten years, but some reporting agencies remove all entries after seven years.

Once credit is damaged or debts are discharged by filing under the Bankruptcy Code, the debtor must actively begin rebuilding credit by various means. Some credit histories can also be cleansed through the use of credit repair, a package of rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.