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Can I get a credit card after bankruptcy?

Let's back up one step first. Ask yourself: "Can I responsibly handle having a credit card?" Did credit card debt get you into your current financial situation to begin with? If so, how have YOU changed? Now that we have that out of the way, let's be realistic. It's difficult to operate in today's society without a credit card. For instance, hotel and car rental reservations often require one (though sometimes a debit card will do).

The most legitimate reason to need a credit card after bankruptcy is for emergencies. Financial experts recommend we keep 6 months of savings. Sound advice, but a little unrealistic for someone fresh out of bankruptcy. If you filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy, chances are all your assets were wiped out to pay your creditors - especially cash. In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, your repayment plan may be so tight that you have little left over to save. Without savings however, how do you handle catastrophic and sudden expenses? A blown engine or a broken heat pump can wipe you out. In our opinion, this is the only legitimate need for a credit card after bankruptcy.

So, can you get a credit card after bankruptcy?. Yes, you can, and it's not that hard. In fact, you'll likely get many credit card offers in the mail within weeks of your bankruptcy discharge. Here's the rub though: most of these are total junk. These "banks" are banking on one thing: that you are desperate. Examine these offers closely, and you are likely to find hundreds of dollars in fees. Annual fees, monthly fees, applications fees, membership fees, because-we-feel-like it fees, etc...
Our advice: WAIT!
Ignore those offers, you will eventually get better ones, especially if you have some other loans to rebuild your credit (student loans or car loans that survived the bankruptcy, for instance). Give it a couple months, and you'll be pleasantly surprised to find good deals out there, even cards with no annual fees whatsoever. This is what you should be aiming for.

Once you get your new card, use it wisely. Pay it back every month, and don't buy junk you don't need!



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