Does Bankruptcy Appear on a Background Check?

By Eric Bank - Updated April 05, 2017

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Background checks for employment, housing applications or some other purpose might include details regarding your criminal and/or financial background. Many online sites now offer background checks that include both types of information. Whether a bankruptcy appears on your credit report so it can be uncovered on a background check depends in part on when the bankruptcy occurred.

Different Types of Bankruptcies

Three major credit bureaus provide credit histories and scores in the U.S.: Experian, Equfax and TransUnion. Chapter 13 bankruptcies remain on these credit histories for seven years. Chapter 7 and 11 bankruptcies linger for 10 years. When a potential employer, lender or landlord runs a background check that includes your credit history, your bankruptcy will likely appear if it occurred within these time frames.

Accessing Background Information

The Bankruptcy Division of the Federal District Court maintains public bankruptcy filings, but you must either have special credentials to access the records online or you must travel to the courthouse in the district where the case was filed to get this information. A criminal background check from a state government is unlikely to include bankruptcies because filing is not a criminal act. If you apply for a job requiring a security clearance, you should expect the background check to include your credit history and bankruptcy filings, but most employers and landlords cannot access your credit report without your express permission.

About the Author

Based in Greenville SC, Eric Bank has been writing business-related articles since 1985. He holds an M.B.A. from New York University and an M.S. in finance from DePaul University. You can see samples of his work at

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