Bankruptcy is never anyone’s first choice, but it sometimes is an effective way to gain control over one’s finances. If you find yourself unable to keep up with payments and wondering what actions to take, you might consider bankruptcy. However, before choosing this debt solution, there are a few things to know.
One of the biggest questions around the process of filing for bankruptcy is whether it is public record in Australia. The short answer is yes, filing bankruptcy is a public record. However, it’s important to understand just what information is available to the public as well as who can access these records. In this guide, we’ll explore the process of filing bankruptcy so you can fully understand just what is public information.
What Is Bankruptcy?
First, let’s define what bankruptcy is exactly. This is a type of legal state that absolves you from your debts. You can apply either through a debtor’s petition (by yourself) or through the courts. When you file for bankruptcy, a trustee oversees your finances. They can sell your assets, take income, and investigate your financial situation.
Bankruptcy remains on your credit report for at least 2 years after your situation is discharged. This not only hurts your credit score, but it makes it difficult to apply for any other lines of credit in the future.
Where Is Bankruptcy Information Filed?
Since most people don’t file bankruptcy regularly (if at all), it’s not easy to know where to find these public records. All bankruptcy files are kept on what’s known as the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII). This is held by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA).
These records have been kept since 1928. This information is stored as a way to gauge the creditworthiness of individuals. If you apply for a mortgage, credit card, or loan, this database is checked to ensure your credit rating is in good standing.
What Bankruptcy Public Records Are Available?
You’ll be happy to know that the amount of data on the public record is limited. Only the basic information is included such as:
- Your name
- Date of birth
- Residential address
- Occupation (optional)
- Type of proceeding
- Bankruptcy start date
- Trustee of proceeding name and information
- Current status
The most important thing to note on this record is the current status. This is whether the individual is still currently in bankruptcy or if the period has ended. If the period has ended, this has less of an effect on your credit rating.
Who Has Access to These Records?
These records are public, and that means anyone can access them. These records are fully searchable on the Australian Financial Security Authority website. To search, users must pay a $15 fee and know the name or administration reference number of the individual.
These records are downloadable to anyone who pays the fee. Because of this, you’ll want to consider whether or not bankruptcy is right for your financial situation. Your financial history will be publically available for the foreseeable future, and this is information that most people don’t want readily accessible.
Is Bankruptcy Right for You?
It’s easy to see bankruptcy as a fresh start for your finances. However, this is considered to be a final resort for anyone who finds themselves unable to make ends meet. While it’s true filing for bankruptcy frees you from your debts right away, there are a lot of consequences. Some of the biggest ones are:
- Compulsory payments – If you make over a set amount, a portion of your payments goes to your trustee. Your trustee stays fully informed of your job, income, and business.
- Limited credit – You’ll also have limited access to new lines of credit for the near future. That means you’ll have a low chance of approval for credit cards, loans, and other lines of credit.
- Limited travel – You’ll need to request permission to travel overseas while bankrupt.
- Sell assets – Your trustee might sell your assets like your home or other property to pay off your debts.
- Public information – Of course, filing for bankruptcy is public record in Australia. This means you’ll be listed on the national registry which is open and searchable.
Luckily, bankruptcy isn’t the only choice. There are other options like entering into a debt agreement, an informal payment agreement, or debt consolidation. It’s important to consider all your options before choosing bankruptcy. As mentioned before, this should only be a last resort.
Choose the Right Debt Solution for You
Every financial situation is different. Just because bankruptcy was right for someone else doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you. Bankruptcy can be an effective way to get out from under your debt, but it also comes with steep consequences. It’s always a good idea to weigh up the pros and cons before choosing any debt solution.
When in doubt, work with a financial expert. Since filing bankruptcy becomes public record, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the right option before starting this process. Contact Debt Busters today on 1300 368 322 to start your journey to financial freedom on the right foot. We’re here to help!