Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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What's a Good Credit Card for After Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is hailed as one of the most catastrophic of financial events. Fortunately, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, bankruptcy, in many ways, is more like a new beginning. It’s a time to start over without all, or at least most, of your debt. Of course, starting over means getting new credit and rebuilding your credit score.

Your access to credit it limited after filing bankruptcy. You don’t want to spend precious time putting in applications for credit cards only to be denied for them. Instead, you want focus on credit cards that will approve you despite your recent bankruptcy. The trouble is that it can be hard to name specific credit cards because credit card issuers change their credit card offerings all the time. Credit cards that may be on this list today may not be available tomorrow.

Right out of bankruptcy, only a handful of credit card issuers will give you a credit card and only for a select few credit cards. For example, American Express and Discover probably won’t approve you for a credit card until you’ve been out of bankruptcy several months (maybe even years) and you’ve started rebuilding your credit with other credit cards and loans.

Look for a credit card with reasonable interest rates and fees. A few credit cards prey on consumers that have recently filed bankruptcy. They know this segment of the population has the hardest time getting approved. You don’t want a credit card that takes up a large part of your credit limit with high processing fees before you even start using it. Also, check the average interest rate, currently around 16%. Anything significantly higher than that is unacceptable. For example, one credit card recently had an APR of 59.9%!

You’ll need a credit card that reports to at least one of the three major credit bureaus. A credit card that doesn’t report to the major credit bureaus won’t help rebuild your credit score. You’ll almost have wasted your time – as far as your credit is concerned.

A good credit card is one that's designed for your type of credit history. Some credit card issuer websites now disclose the type of credit history you need to qualify for their credit card. Skip the credit cards that require excellent, good, or even fair credit. Instead, look for those specifically advertised for people with bad credit. Typically the credit cards geared for people rebuilding their credit are simple, “plain-vanilla” credit cards. They don’t come with extra perks or rewards; just the ability to charge purchases and pay for them later.

Last, but not least, consider a secured credit card. Secured credit cards are more likely to approve applicants, regardless of credit history, because the applicant has to make a security deposit against the balance. Your security deposit is typically your credit limit. Don’t take for granted that all secured credit cards will approve you after bankruptcy. It’s rare, but there are some secured credit cards that do not approve applicants who have recently filed bankruptcy. Read the credit card terms to confirm.

If you’ve found a credit card and you’re wondering whether it’s a good deal, do an internet search to find reviews on the card. More cardholders are leaving feedback about credit cards and these reviews can keep you from choosing the wrong credit card. And, worse case scenario, if you pick a bad credit card, pay off the balance quickly and search again for one that will better fit your needs.
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Sunday, 05 February 2023

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