The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Sunday, May 26, 2024

9 Best Credit Cards After Bankruptcy Discharge (May 2024)

Credit Cards After Bankruptcy
Sean Garrity

Written by: Sean Garrity

Sean Garrity
Sean Garrity

Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Reviewed by: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Advertiser Disclosure

While no one likes to admit defeat, sometimes our debts simply get the better of us and bankruptcy may become the only option for a better financial future. Unfortunately, your credit will see lasting negative impacts from a bankruptcy, but you can repair your credit with some hard work — and a lot of patience.

One of the first steps you should take after your bankruptcy is complete is to check all three of your credit reports. Make sure all of the accounts that were affected by the bankruptcy accurately reflect their new status, or have been properly removed.

The next step is to start rebuilding your credit. A big bankruptcy myth is that you will only be able to qualify for a secured credit card after bankruptcy, but that’s not always true in today’s credit market. Some lenders, particularly subprime lenders, will consider post-bankruptcy applicants for unsecured cards. So, when it comes to obtaining credit cards after bankruptcy, the options may not be as narrow as many people believe. Begin your search with our expert-rated picks below, which includes unsecured and secured card options.

Unsecured Cards (4) | Secured Cards (6) | Bankruptcy Basics

Top Unsecured Credit Cards to Apply for After Bankruptcy

The major reason many prefer unsecured credit cards to secured cards is, really, the major difference between the two: the deposit. A secured credit card is secured by the deposit you put down, and, in most cases, that deposit will set your credit limit. An unsecured card requires no deposit but may have more stringent requirements.

Arro Card

This card is currently not available.

Unsecured Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

PREMIER Bankcard® Mastercard® Credit Card Review

at PREMIER Bankcard®'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • PREMIER Bankcard credit cards are for building credit.
  • Start building credit by keeping your balance low and paying all your bills on time each month.
  • When you need assistance our award-winning US-based Customer Service agents are there to help.
  • Credit Limit Increase Eligible after 12 months of consistent responsible account management.
  • We report monthly to the Consumer Reporting Agencies to help you build your credit.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Provider Website
See Provider Website
Fair/Poor
PREMIER Bankcard® Grey Credit Card Review

at PREMIER Bankcard®'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • We help people with bad credit, every day.
  • Just complete the short application and receive a response in 60 seconds.
  • You can build or rebuild your credit: apply for a PREMIER Bankcard credit card, keep your balance low, and pay all your monthly bills on time.
  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Provider Website
See Provider Website
Fair/Poor
First Access Visa® Card Review

at First Access Visa®'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 1% cash back rewards on payments made to your First Access Credit Card
  • Checking Account Required
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • No security deposit, simply pay a one-time $95 program fee to open your account.*
  • User friendly Mobile App.
  • *See Rates, Fees, Costs & Limitations for complete offer details
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
35.99%
$75.00 1st year, $48.00 after
Bad Credit

+See More Unsecured Credit Cards

One good way to see if you may qualify for a particular card before going through a hard credit pull is to check for pre-qualification offers. Most issuers offer a pre-qualification process that usually involves a soft credit pull and won’t affect your credit score.

While being pre-qualified for a specific credit card won’t guarantee you’ll be accepted if you apply, not being pre-qualified can be a sign that you may not meet the card’s requirements and should consider waiting before you apply.

Top Secured Credit Cards to Apply for After Bankruptcy

If you don’t qualify for an unsecured credit card or prefer setting your own credit limit through a deposit, secured credit cards are a great option. Because the card is secured by your deposit, there is less risk to the issuer should you become unable to repay your balance. As a result, secured credit cards tend to have very flexible credit requirements, meaning almost anyone can qualify for a secured card.

Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • No credit check to apply
  • Adjustable credit limit based on what you transfer from your Chime Checking account to the secured deposit account
  • No interest* or annual fees
  • Chime Checking Account and qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more required to apply. See official application, terms, and details link below.
  • The secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Card is issued by The Bankcorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted.
  • *Out-of-network ATM withdrawal and OTC advance fees may apply. View The Bancorp agreement or Stride agreement for details; see back of card for issuer.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
$0
None
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card Review

at Capital Bank N.A.'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • New feature! Earn up to 10% cash back* on everyday purchases
  • No credit check to apply. Zero credit risk to apply!
  • Looking to build or rebuild your credit? 2 out of 3 OpenSky cardholders increase their credit score by an average of 41 points in just 3 months
  • Get free monthly access to your FICO score in our mobile application
  • Build your credit history across 3 major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
  • Add to your mobile wallet and make purchases using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay
  • Fund your card with a low $200 refundable security deposit to get a $200 credit line
  • Apply in less than 5 minutes with our mobile first application
  • Choose the due date that fits your schedule with flexible payment dates
  • Fund your security deposit over 60 days with the option to make partial payments
  • Over 1.4 Million Cardholders Have Used OpenSky Secured Credit Card To Improve Their Credit
  • *See Rewards Terms and Conditions for more information
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
25.64% (variable)
$35
Poor
Discover it® Secured Credit Card Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit history.
  • Your secured credit card requires a refundable security deposit, and your credit line will equal your deposit amount, starting at $200. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites. Activate for free.
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
28.24% Variable APR
$0
New/Rebuilding

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Building your credit? Using the Capital One Platinum Secured card responsibly could help
  • Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • No annual or hidden fees, and you can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Put down a refundable $200 security deposit to get a $200 initial credit line
  • Building your credit? Using a card like this responsibly could help
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

+See More Secured Credit Cards

One of the reasons secured credit cards can be preferable to unsecured cards is the ability to obtain a much higher credit limit. Unsecured cards for poor credit tend to cap limits in the low hundreds of dollars, while some secured cards offer the ability to obtain a credit limit as high as $5,000 so long as you can make a deposit of that amount.

A high credit limit can be very helpful for your credit score, especially if you tend to make large or frequent purchases. That’s because your utilization rate, or the ratio of available credit to debt, can be worth up to 30% of your FICO credit score. A higher credit limit can help you maintain a lower utilization rate, which is better for your credit score.

Bankruptcy Basics

Bankruptcy is a last-ditch option for those overwhelmed by debt. The actual financial effects of bankruptcy proceedings depend on the type of bankruptcy declared, but can include debt forgiveness or moderated repayment. For individuals, the most common types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Regardless of which type of bankruptcy you declare, be prepared to face credit damage. Furthermore, a bankruptcy discharge can live on your credit report for seven to 10 years from the filing date (depending on whether you file Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, respectively).

Obtaining a Bankruptcy Discharge

A bankruptcy discharge is the goal of the bankruptcy process and is the actual legal order that says you are no longer obligated to pay any discharged debts. Once discharged, creditors holding a debt may no longer attempt to collect on that debt, either by mail, phone, or in person.

Each debt being considered for discharge has a fixed time during which a complaint objecting to the discharge may be filed. If there is no litigation objecting to the discharge, debtors will generally receive a discharge automatically.

Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

For the most part, the difference between Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a matter of scope and qualification. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, many of your unsecured debts can be completely wiped out, including credit card debt and medical bills. When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll be required to pay back some portion of your existing debt.

Since Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves paying off your debts over time, you won’t receive a final discharge until all payments have been made under the plan, which can take between three and five years. In contrast, Chapter 7 is much faster, with complete discharge typically being reached within six months.

All that being said, not all debtors can qualify for Chapter 7. If you make too much money and/or have too much disposable income, you may not be able to file Chapter 7. Additionally, if you want to maintain ownership of any property or other collateral used for a secured debt, including real estate and automobiles, you should choose Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Rebuilding Your Credit After Bankruptcy

Though your debts may have gotten the better of you, recovering from a bankruptcy is possible. No matter which road you take through the bankruptcy process, the key to rebuilding your credit afterward is patience. While you typically won’t need to wait the full seven to 10 years for your credit score to rebound, you likely won’t see a 700+ score for at least a couple of years after your bankruptcy is complete.

Rebuilding your credit will require you to demonstrate healthy financial habits, including the ability to maintain credit accounts — in good standing — over a period of time. Don’t apply for a dozen credit cards hoping to boost your credit quickly — this will backfire. Stick to one or two cards, use your credit modestly, and pay off any debts in full each month. If you are diligent, you will be able to see your credit improve over time.

Advertiser Disclosure

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.