You can get a credit card at any time after bankruptcy. But you should begin exploring options such as secured credit cards as soon as the bankruptcy is discharged in order to begin rebuilding your credit. Though some secured cards won’t approve people with recent bankruptcy, many will, such as Secured Mastercard® from Capital One,OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card, and Discover it® Secured.
If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should be able to get a secured card as soon as your bankruptcy is discharged. If it was Chapter 13 instead, you’ll need the approval of the trustee during your payment plan.
Credit card issuers generally won’t approve you for any cards while you’re still in the bankruptcy process. But once the bankruptcy discharges, you can get a card that fits your needs.
Here’s how long after bankruptcy you can get a credit card:
Secured credit card: After bankruptcy discharged. These cards require a refundable security deposit, usually at least $200, which doubles as your credit limit. Because you’re putting up your own money, your approval chances are high. The Discover it Secured Card does not reject applicants for having a Chapter 7 bankruptcy on their credit history. And the Capital One Secured Mastercard’s only bankruptcy requirement is that the case must be fully discharged. Some cards, like OpenSky Secured, don’t even check your credit report when you apply, so they’re great for post-bankruptcy credit improvement.
Unsecured credit cards for bad credit: After bankruptcy discharged. Credit cards that don’t require a security deposit are a lot harder for people with bad credit to get than secured cards. They’re also much more expensive, both in terms of interest rates and fees. One example is the Credit One Bank Visa Credit Card. Credit One Bank says a discharged bankruptcy won’t hurt your approval chances, but could lead to a lower credit limit and a higher annual fee.
Authorized user: Immediately. If a friend or family member makes you an authorized user on their credit card account, that account will be added to your credit reports, and you’ll benefit if the main accountholder pays the bill on time every month. If your friend or relative allows it, you will also get a card with your name on it to use for purchases.
After your bankruptcy is discharged, you may still have difficulty getting approved for a new credit card at first. Some issuers may deny your application simply because there’s a recent bankruptcy on your credit report. However, some lenders might be more lenient. That’s because of rules that restrict when you can file for a second bankruptcy, making you a low risk of filing for bankruptcy again.
In addition to finding the right credit card with which to begin rebuilding your credit, you should review your credit reports for errors and monitor your credit score moving forward. You definitely don’t want the problems that led to bankruptcy to repeat themselves.