Credit Cards After a Bankruptcy?: Why You Can — And Should — Get One

chapter 7 bankruptcy timelineWhether you just completed your journey along the Chapter 7 bankruptcy timeline or you’re just now getting in touch with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney to start your bankruptcy filing, opening up a new credit card is probably the last thing on your mind — because credit card debt was likely one of the things that led to you filing bankruptcy.

However, one of the most well-known Chapter 7 bankruptcy facts is that it stays on the filer’s credit record for 10 years after the filing, and can have a devastating impact on your credit score and ability to get approved for financing and loans later on. In fact, a December 9 Investopedia article reports that the average bankruptcy filer’s credit score falls to the mid-500s.

Knowing this, it’s not a bad idea to think about opening up a credit card as soon as you’re done with your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Here are three ways you can responsibly and wisely use a credit card after filing bankruptcy:

Only open up one credit card
With just one credit card in your wallet that has a set credit limit, you’ll be less likely to overspend and end up with thousands of dollars in credit card bills each month that you can’t pay. While having one credit card means it will take longer to build up a good credit score, it’s important to take small steps after your bankruptcy.

Opt for a secured credit card
After going through the Chapter 7 bankruptcy timeline, it’s a good idea to get a secured credit card. With a secured credit card, you make an initial deposit on the card that is kept as a reserve for emergency situations. The amount of credit you have is limited to the amount of money you deposited, meaning these cards are ideal for small purchases that you pay back immediately.

Only borrow as much as you can pay back
It’s not easy, and it’s definitely not fun — but the key to staying out of debt and rebuilding your good credit is to never borrow more than you can afford to pay back. Always pay off your credit card debt in full each month to help keep your credit score on an upward trajectory.

Do you have any other questions about building and maintaining good credit after a bankruptcy, or about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy timeline and bankruptcy help in general? Feel free to ask by leaving a comment below.