Find a bankruptcy friendly credit card so that you can have access to credit after filing for bankruptcy.
Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad.
Updated December 28, 2020
After you've completed the process of filing for bankruptcy, it's time to start rebuilding your finances and getting your situation back in order. A great way to do this is through bankruptcy friendly credit cards.
Your credit score is will be affected after filing for bankruptcy, and the effects will be felt for seven to ten years. While the impact will lessen over the span of that timeframe, it's in your best interest to be proactive about repairing it. Bankruptcy friendly credit cards are a great way to repair your credit score and lessen the effects of bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Friendly Credit Cards 101
If you've just gotten your bankruptcy discharged, then the best thing you can do for your finances is to take advantage of your fresh start and rebuild your assets. Bankruptcy friendly credit cards are a great way to improve your credit score and get back on your feet.
Once you've been approved for a new credit card, it’s important to practice healthy habits.
Don’t overspend. Not spending more with your credit card than you can afford to repay is a great way to stay on track. If you can afford it, try to get as high of a credit limit as possible. Spending and repaying large amounts on your credit line will raise your creditworthiness much faster.
Pay on time. APR rates are going to be higher for cardholders with low credit scores, so pay on time and don't get stuck with high fees.
Monitor your credit score. Keeping a close eye on your credit score will help you repair your score, faster.
Types of Bankruptcy Friendly Credit Cards: Secured vs. Unsecured
There are two primary types of credit cards: unsecured and secured. “Secured” cards are the most bankruptcy friendly.
An “unsecured” card is your everyday credit card. But, with requirements like a minimum monthly income and active checking account they’re typically harder to get.
On the other hand, a “secured” credit card requires you to put down a deposit first. This deposit acts as your line of credit. So, if you put $200 on the card, you have a $200 limit. This deposit is refundable if you pay it off or you close the card.
These cards typically come with more benefits, less interest and help you earn good credit faster. Then, as you start to improve your score, you can work your way up to an unsecured credit card.
Bankruptcy friendly credit cards with low annual rates and cash back offers will help you not only rebuild your credit score, but save money in the process.
Secured Bankruptcy Credit Cards to Consider
1. Discover it Secured Credit Card
The Discover It Secured Credit Card is a great option for those looking for great cash back rewards! With a $200 minimum deposit and no annual fee, so you can rebuild your credit without putting a nick in your bank account.
(+) Earn Monthly Spending Checks. One of the best perks about this bankruptcy friendly credit card is that if you improve your credit score enough over the course of using it, Discover will automatically perform monthly checks on your spending habits. If you meet their requirements, they'll automatically refund your deposit without the need to close the card.
(+) Cash Back. The Discover it Secured card offers 2% back on the first $1,000 you spend on gas and groceries combined each quarter, as well as an unlimited 1% back on all of your other purchases.
2. Capital One Secured Mastercard
If you feel that the minimum $200 deposit for the Discover it card is too high, then consider applying for the Capital One Secured Mastercard. This card is a great entry point when rebuilding your score.
(+) Flexible Deposit. Capital One has a starting deposit of $49, $99, and $200, depending on your creditworthiness. These deposits are refundable, and qualify users for a starting credit line of $200. After five months of timely payments, users will have the ability to qualify for higher monthly amounts.
(+) No Added Fees. That’s right -- no annual fee, balance transfer fee, or foreign transaction fees. So, the deposit is the only amount you'll end up paying to use this card.
(-) Your Case Must be Closed. It should be noted, however, that Capital One will not approve users for this card if your bankruptcy is marked as unresolved. So before applying for this card be sure that your bankruptcy filing is completely discharged.
(-) High Interest. This card also comes with a fairly high APR, so ensure that your payments are always on time. Capital One doesn't offer any rewards for this card, so its sole purpose is to help users rebuild their credit with a low deposit amount.
3. Wells Fargo Secured Card
Anyone can benefit from the high credit limits this card can offer. Wells Fargo members can enjoy more perks like “overdraft protection” if they sign up.
(+) Flexible Deposit. The flexible deposit allows for $300 -$10,000 at a time.
(+) Roadside Assistance and Smartphone Protection.
(-) No Cash Back.
Like most secured bankruptcy friendly credit cards, the Wells Fargo card comes with the possibility of a deposit refund following timely monthly payments.
4. OpenSky Secured Credit Visa Card
The OpenSky Secured credit card is another high limit option for those wanting to avoid a credit check.
(+) No Credit Check Required. No credit check is great for two reasons in particular: no damage to your credit score, and no worries about being approved.
When a lender runs a check on your credit score, it usually results in a small dent on the borrower's credit score. For most users, this isn't a problem, but when rebuilding your score, every point counts.
(+) Low Interest.
(-) Annual Fee. There's a $35 annual fee for using this card and a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
(-) Doesn’t Become an Unsecured Card. Unlike most secured card options, will not upgrade your card to an unsecured card when you’re ready.
How Bankruptcy Affects Your Credit Score
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing will stay on your credit report for up to ten years. Because your debts are discharged, however, they'll be removed from your credit score after only seven years. The more time passes, the less of an effect your bankruptcy will have on your credit.
Bankruptcy friendly credit cards will help improve your credit score and increase your credibility with potential lenders, allowing you to resume normal financial routines.
Isn't Taking On More Debt After Bankruptcy A Bad Idea?
It might seem strange to take on more debt shortly after a bankruptcy discharge -- shouldn’t you be trying to avoid that?
Well, yes and no. Having a manageable amount of credit will help you build a stable reputation. You can show how reliable of a borrower you aware by making regular, on time payments on your account.
Bankruptcy friendly credit cards can be very helpful after a discharge. They allow you to rebuild your score in a manageable way. The limits are low and the focus is on raising your score.
The best way to take full advantage of a secured credit card is to compare them to a monthly bill. Spend responsibly, pay on time, and watch your credit score improve! Secured credit cards can help you get back on your feet faster.