[UPDATE: Article Updated June 13, 2018 by Brian Acton. Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
There’s nothing fun about declaring bankruptcy, but those who emerge from it can be thankful for the opportunity to rebuild their finances without the burden of debt. Unfortunately, bankruptcy also does enormous damage to your credit, making it difficult to get approved for one of the best credit-building tools around: credit cards.
Secured credit cards are one exception, as they have lower credit requirements and can be obtained post-bankruptcy. And while they do require an upfront security deposit to open, they otherwise work just like traditional credit cards and can help you rebuild your credit.
If you need a credit card after bankruptcy, secured credit cards are worth exploring. Here are five credit cards you can get after bankruptcy:
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: With responsible use, cardholders can boost their buying power and their credit.
The Details: Depending on the state of your credit post-bankruptcy, a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200 will be required to open a card with a $200 credit limit. You can deposit additional funds before your account opens to access a higher line of credit. After five months of timely payments, Capital One may extend you a higher credit limit without requiring an additional deposit – this can help you further build credit, provided you don’t take it as an invitation to rack up more debt.
Drawbacks: Even for a secured card, the APR is on the higher side.
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
- Build Your Credit fast with our monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus.
- Choose your credit line as low as $200 up to $3000, secured by a fully-refundable* security deposit.
- Security deposit needs to be submitted before the credit card can be issued.
- No credit check necessary and no checking account required; apply in less than 5 minutes.
- Extra credit when you need it, increase your credit line up to $5000
- Access to online financial education.
- *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card. Click the Apply Now button to get to the application page.
Card Details +
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $35
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 18.89% (variable)
Why We Picked It: This card helps you build credit while still offering a fairly low interest rate.
The Details: You can put down a fully refundable security deposit of $200 up to $3,000. When you apply, your credit won’t be checked and you can apply in less than 5 minutes. Your responsible use of the card is reported to all three credit bureaus each month. And when you need extra credit, you may be eligible for an increase up to a $5,000 credit line.
Drawbacks: There is a $35 annual fee, which isn’t necessiarly bad in exchange for building credit.
Depending on your credit, you may have to pay an annual fee for this card.
3. BankAmericard Secured Credit Card
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $39
APR: Variable 21.49% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: With responsible use, you can get your security deposit returned.
The Details: You can open this card with as little as $300, and you may get access to a credit line greater than your deposit based on your income and ability to pay. Bank of America will periodically review your account to determine if you’re eligible to have your security deposit returned.
Drawbacks: There’s a $39 annual fee.
4. Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $25
APR: Variable 20.24%% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: This card offers a slightly lower interest rate than many of its competitors.
The Details: A minimum security deposit of $300 is required, with your credit limit equaling your security deposit. This card boasts a lower interest rate than many other secured cards.
Drawbacks: There’s a $25 annual fee.
First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
- Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
- No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
- Invest your tax refund to improve your credit by making the refundable deposit for your new secured card today
- Full-Feature Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
- Good for Car Rental, Hotels; Anywhere Credit Cards Are Accepted!
- Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
- Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 -- $2,000 Submitted with Application
- Just Pay Off Your Balance and Receive Your Deposit Back at Any Time
- Apply in just a few moments with no negative impact to your credit score; no credit inquiry will be recorded in your credit bureau file
- Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI * See Card Terms.
Card Details +
Sign-Up Bonuses: None
Annual Fee: $49
APR: 9.99% Variable APR for Purchases
Why We Picked It: This is a great card that, with responsible use, can help you build your credit back up. Plus, it has a pretty low APR.
The Details: You can secure your credit line by putting down a fully-refundable deposit of $200 to $2,000, as a part of your application. When you pay off your balance, you can receive your deposit back whenever. Plus, this card reports to all three major credit bureaus. That’s a big help when you’re trying to improve your credit score.
Drawbacks: This card has the highest annual fee on the list, ringing in $49 . If you feel like that’s a little too steep, this might not be the right card for you.
How to Choose a Credit Card After Bankruptcy
After a bankruptcy, improving your finances and rebuilding your credit should be your main priority. You should pick a credit card that will help you achieve that goal; if you feel that you can’t responsibly manage credit, you should wait until you’re in a better place to submit a credit card application.
Since secured credit cards require an upfront security deposit, you’ll need to determine how much money you’re able to raise. Most secured cards will give you a credit line that equals the amount of your original deposit.
While high APRs and annual fees are common with secured credit cards, you should compare rates across several cards to find the ones that are wallet-friendly.
Some cards for bad credit are designed to exploit people using unfair terms or policies that make it difficult to rebuild your finances. You may even start receiving multiple credit card offers (from legitimate and shady companies) in the mail after your bankruptcy is discharged. Watch out for red flags to avoid getting burned.
A credit card can only build credit if you use it correctly. You should keep your credit card balance below 30% of the available credit limit and make all your payments on time. If you do this, your credit can slowly begin to recover from bankruptcy.
What Credit Is Required for a Credit Card After Bankruptcy?
Secured credit cards have looser credit requirements, but approval is never guaranteed. Before you apply, you can check two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, for free at Credit.com.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
At publishing time, the Capital One Secured MasterCard and The Discover it Secured Card cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for either of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
More on Credit Cards:
- 6 Smart Credit Card Strategies
- How Secured Cards Can Help Build Credit
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit