The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Monday, November 23, 2020

Post-Bankruptcy Credit Cards for 2020

Post Bankruptcy Credit Cards

credit card advice

Dan Miller
By: Dan Miller
Updated: November 17, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

Post-bankruptcy credit cards are a subset of the overall credit card market. If you have completed a bankruptcy filing and are looking to get a new credit card, you are likely to find that many credit cards are not available to you.

These post-bankruptcy credit cards are specifically targeted toward those whose credit and credit card debt history is less than ideal. Some post-bankruptcy cards are unsecured while others require a security deposit upon approval.

So, if you have late payments or a payment history that is not perfect, these credit cards may be worth checking out.

Unsecured Cards | Secured Cards | FAQs

Unsecured Post-Bankruptcy Credit Cards

Unsecured post-bankruptcy credit cards require no deposit or funds to secure the credit line associated with the card. A credit card company or other card issuer will often attach other securities to an unsecured card for someone with a lot of credit card debt or poor credit history — including bankruptcy.

This could be a higher APR, a high annual fee, or other fees associated with having the card. Make sure you review the details before signing up for any new credit card.

Surge Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
N/A
25.90% - 29.99%
See website for Details
Bad, Poor Credit

The Surge Mastercard® is specifically designed for people who have no credit history or a poor credit score. If you’re not sure whether you qualify for the Surge Mastercard®, it does offer a way for you to see if you prequalify by entering in some of your financial information. The credit card issuer will then use that information to determine whether you’re likely to be approved without doing a credit check.

The Surge Mastercard does have a hefty annual fee, and it also charges monthly maintenance fees that are waived during the first year of having the card. The lender also assesses fees for a returned or late payment, cash advances, and additional credit cards.

Surge reports payment history to each credit bureau, and with as few as six on-time monthly payments, Surge will review your credit card account for a possible credit line increase.

Indigo® Unsecured Mastercard® - Prior Bankruptcy is Okay Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Pre-qualifying today will not affect your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit histories can qualify, even with prior bankruptcy!
  • Mobile friendly online access from anywhere
  • Fraud protection for stolen or lost cards
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$0 - $99
Fair/Good

The Indigo® Unsecured Mastercard® – Prior Bankruptcy is Okay says it all in its name: prior bankruptcies are okay. There are actually three separate products available under the Indigo name, and the exact credit terms depend on which card you’re approved for. You’ll be approved for a specific unsecured credit card based on your past debt and credit history and creditworthiness.

You may be charged an annual fee and/or setup fees based on your specific situation. The amount of setup fees will be automatically assessed and subtracted from your total available credit limit.

The Indigo Unsecured Mastercard allows you to prequalify by answering a few preliminary questions. This prequalification does not guarantee your application will be accepted, but it does allow you to get an idea of your odds of acceptance and the exact terms you’d be approved for. This prequalification uses a soft pull on your credit and will not affect your credit score.

Like many post-bankruptcy credit cards, the Indigo Unsecured Mastercard reports payment history to each major credit reporting agency. You also have the ability to easily access your account from a mobile device, allowing you to review your account while on the go.

Reflex Mastercard® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

3.9/5.0
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact to your credit score
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere Mastercard® is accepted
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
25.90% - 29.99%
See Terms
Bad, Fair, or No Credit

The Reflex Mastercard® is another post-bankruptcy credit card that is targeted to those with no, little or poor debt or bad credit history. The Reflex Mastercard® also allows you to check whether you prequalify based on a subset of the questions you will answer on the full credit card application. This prequalification will help you understand how likely you are to be approved for a Reflex Mastercard®.

The Reflex Mastercard® comes with an annual fee as well as a monthly maintenance fee that is not charged during the first year of card membership. There are also fees for additional cards, a returned payment, or a late payment. You can use the Reflex Mastercard® anywhere that Mastercard is accepted, and you will have $0 in fraud liability.

After six months of monthly payments, your credit card account will be reviewed for a possible credit limit increase. Your payment history with the Reflex Mastercard® will be reported to all three major credit bureaus, which can help you build or re-establish credit history.

Milestone® Mastercard® - Less Than Perfect Credit Considered Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

3.9/5.0
  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Mobile account access at any time
  • Protection from fraud if your card is stolen
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • *Dependent on credit worthiness
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$35 - $99
Bad, Poor Credit

The Milestone Mastercard offers several variations of its card. When you fill out the simple prequalification questionnaire, the lender will match you to one of its options. If you have a bankruptcy filing or a bankruptcy discharge on your credit report, it’s likely that you will be matched to the Gold-X variation.

This is the version that comes with the highest annual fee. The annual fee on the card will be assessed when you open the account and will be subtracted from your overall available credit line.

You are not eligible to be approved for a Milestone Mastercard if you already have an existing Milestone Mastercard account or if you’ve ever had a Milestone Gold account that was charged off due to delinquency. The Milestone Mastercard reports payments to each credit bureau as a way to help you build or repair your credit history.

Progress Credit Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

3.9/5.0
  • Get both a Secured MasterCard® and an Unsecured VISA® Credit Card from our trusted partners with this unique program
  • The Secured Card offered by our partners at First Progress requires no credit history or minimum score for approval
  • The unsecured VISA card does not require perfect credit; our partners at First Access Card may approve you when others won’t
  • Open accounts with both VISA and MasterCard so you’ll always have access
  • Both accounts report activity separately to all three Credit Bureaus every month
  • Both cards are genuine credit cards with security protections and nationwide acceptance
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See website for Details
See website for Details
Bad, Fair, or No Credit

Progress Credit offers both an unsecured Visa card as well as a secured Mastercard card. The Progress Credit unsecured Visa is a real Visa card — not a debit card or a prepaid card. You can get an application decision in as little as 60 seconds, and you can choose from one of six different designs for your unsecured credit card.

The Progress Credit credit card comes with a one-time program setup fee, which is assessed upon account approval and subtracted from the initial credit line.

You’ll be charged an annual fee beginning in your second year of card membership and have to pay monthly maintenance fees. You will also be assessed fees for additional cards, cash advances, a late payment, and returned payments.

Total Visa® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

3.5/5.0
  • Checking Account Required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine Visa credit card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Terms
See Terms
Fair, Bad Credit

The Total Visa® Card is an unsecured credit card that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted. When you apply, you can choose from one of six different card designs for your card.

Your payment history will be reported to all three credit bureaus, and you can get an approval decision in as little as 60 seconds. You must have a checking account to apply for the Total Visa® Card.

The Total Visa® Card comes with some extensive fees and a high interest rate. The APR for this card is at the high range, even for credit cards targeted to those who have a bankruptcy discharge on their credit report.

You’ll also pay a program fee AND an annual fee upfront, as well as a monthly maintenance fee, though the maintenance fee is waived the first year.

FIT Mastercard® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

3.4/5.0
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Initial Credit Limit of $400.00* (Subject to available credit)
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere Mastercard® is accepted
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99%
See Terms
Fair/Poor/Bad

The FIT Mastercard® offers potential applicants two useful features. First, it will give you access to your credit score when you sign up for electronic statements. Then it will automatically and periodically review your account for potential credit line increases after six on-time monthly payments. You are not liable for any fraudulent use of your card and can use your card anywhere within the global Mastercard network.

The FIT Mastercard® is an unsecured card that comes with a wide array of fees you will want to be aware of, including a one-time program setup fee and a recurring annual fee. You’ll also be charged monthly maintenance fees starting in the second year of card membership.

The card also assesses fees for additional cards, late payments, returned payments, and cash advances. The APR on the FIT Mastercard® is in the average range as compared to other post-bankruptcy credit cards.

First Access Visa® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

UNSECURED RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

3.5/5.0
  • Checking Account Required
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won’t
  • Easy and secure online application
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • The First Access Visa Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Terms
See Terms
Bad Credit

The First Access Visa® Card is offered by another credit card issuer that targets people who have bad credit including a possible bankruptcy. As the name suggests, you are able to use this unsecured credit card anywhere within the Visa network. A checking account is required to be approved for this card, and the status of your monthly payments is reported to each credit bureau.

The First Access Visa® Card comes with a one-time program setup fee and an annual fee. In the second year, you’ll pay a lower annual fee but you will begin paying monthly maintenance fees for having the card. These monthly maintenance fees are waived the first year but begin in the second year you have the card.

You’ll also be charged for late payments, returned payments, and cash advances. The APR on the First Access Visa card is higher than that of other cards of this type.

Secured Post-Bankruptcy Credit Cards

While having access to an unsecured credit card is a solid financial goal, if your past credit card debt or credit history does not support it, you may be better off with a secured card. A secured credit card requires you to make a refundable deposit to the credit card issuer. This deposit amount becomes your credit line.

If you default on your secured card, then the bank will keep your security deposit — but if you close the account with a $0 balance, then the credit card company will return your deposit.

Because you are putting your own money down, secured credit cards usually come with lower fees and a lower interest rate. So if you’re able to come up with enough money to put down a deposit on a secured card, you will likely save yourself a lot of money on fees.

Getting a secured credit card — instead of an unsecured card that charges users hundreds of dollars in combined program setup fees, annual fees, and monthly maintenance fees — can be one of the best returns on your investment ever.

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual fee
  • Unlike a prepaid card, there is regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • Accepted at millions of locations worldwide
  • Make the minimum required security deposit and you'll get an initial credit line of $200. Plus, deposit more money before your account opens to get a higher credit line
  • Access to an authorized bank account is required to make your $49, $99 or $200 refundable security deposit
  • 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
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

The Secured Mastercard® from Capital One comes with no annual fee and no program setup fee. There are fees for late payment or for cash advances, but those fees can be easily avoided. This is a real Mastercard that reports payment history and status to the credit bureaus, not a prepaid card or debit card, and you can use it anywhere in the Mastercard network.

Your initial credit line with the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One is based on the amount of money that you put down as a refundable deposit. The larger your deposit, the higher your initial credit line will be. You are required to have access to an authorized bank account to make your initial security deposit.

The APR on this secured card is high but in line with other secured credit cards. With the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One, you will also be automatically considered for a higher credit line after as little as six on-time monthly payments.

Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Better than Prepaid...Go with a Secured Card! Load One Time - Keep On Using
  • Absolutely No Credit Check or Minimum Credit Score Required
  • Automatic Reporting to All Three National Credit Bureaus
  • 9.99% Low Fixed APR - Your Rate Won’t Go Up Even if You Are Late
  • Activate Today with a $200 Minimum Deposit - Maximum $1,000. * Increase Your Credit Limit up to $5,000 by Adding Additional Deposits Anytime
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
9.99%
$48
Poor/Fair/Limited/Damaged

The Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card is another option for people with bad credit looking for a secured credit card. You must make a minimum deposit when opening the account, and your initial credit line will be determined based on your deposit amount.

You can increase your credit line by making additional deposits at any time. The Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card does report monthly payment history to all three credit bureaus.

The Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card states that approval is guaranteed and that there is no credit check or minimum credit score required. But while the card has an APR that is significantly lower than some of the other credit cards in this list and no penalty APR, there are some significant trade-offs.

Unlike many other credit cards, there is no grace period for interest, even on purchases. Interest starts accruing on the transaction date, so even if you pay your balance in full on your monthly statement, you still may be charged interest.

Cardholders also pay an annual fee and fees for additional cards, replacement cards, cash advances, optional payments, stopping payments, and reinstatement.

Bank of America® Cash Back Secured Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • A minimum refundable security deposit of $300 (maximum of $4,900) is required to open this account
  • Access your FICO® Score updated monthly for free, within your Mobile Banking app or in Online Banking
  • Optional overdraft protection option helps prevent declined purchases, returned checks or other overdrafts when you link your eligible Bank of America® checking account to your credit card. Transfer fees may apply.
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
23.99% Variable
$0
Bad/Limited

The Bank of America® Cash Back Secured Credit Card is a Visa card that reports payment status and payment history to all three major credit bureaus. With on-time and regular monthly payments, this can be a great way to build up your credit report and have access to an increased credit line. You can track your credit-building progress on Bank of America’s website or mobile app, where you get free access to your FICO score each month.

You are required to put a minimum amount down as a refundable security deposit to open this secured card. Bank of America will periodically review your account and payment history and possibly refund some of your initial deposit proactively.

The Bank of America® Cash Back Secured Credit Card charges fees for late payments, returned payments, and cash advances, but no annual or monthly maintenance fees. If you don’t pay off your balance each month, you will be charged a high APR, but lower than that charged by other post-bankruptcy credit cards.

One feature of the Bank of America® Cash Back Secured Credit Card that distinguishes it from some of the other secured cards is that it gives you the ability to earn cash back rewards that don’t expire as a rebate on your spending.

BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.3/5.0
  • A secured credit card designed to help establish, strengthen or rebuild credit
  • A minimum refundable security deposit of $300 (maximum of $4,900) is required to open this account
  • Access your FICO Score updated monthly for free within your Mobile Banking app or in Online Banking
  • Your account will periodically be reviewed, and, based on your overall credit history (including other credit cards and loans), you may qualify to have your security deposit returned. Not all customers will qualify.
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
22.99% Variable
$0
Bad/Limited

Similar to the Bank of America® Cash Back Secured Credit Card, the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card is offered by Bank of America and is designed those who have no, limited, or bad credit history. You will need to make a minimum refundable deposit at the time of application.

Bank of America will periodically review your account and may increase your credit limit or refund some of your deposit based on your overall credit history.

You’ll pay no annual fee on the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card and the APR is lower than that of some other cards in this category. The card charges fees for returned or late payments, cash advances, foreign transactions, and balance transfers.

Cardmembers will also be able to access their FICO score monthly through Bank of America’s online banking site and mobile app.

Can I Get Approved for a Credit Card After Bankruptcy?

It is possible for a debtor to get approved for a credit card after bankruptcy, but you’ll want to make sure you are in a stable financial situation. Many bankruptcies are caused by the inability to pay medical bills or manage other unforeseen or one-time financial situations that are difficult to recover from.

If that was the case for you, you may be in a better position to be approved for a credit card after bankruptcy. You’ll want to make sure that you are managing your financial responsibilities well, including controlling your spending, adhering to a budget, regularly saving a portion of your paycheck, and maintaining a good credit rating.

This also means you have stable job and housing situations and an emergency fund to handle the unexpected. You’ll want to start with some of the credit cards on this list that are targeted for people who are recovering from a bankruptcy filing.

Which Credit Cards are Good for After Bankruptcy?

You can start your research with some of the cards on this list. They all are specifically designed for people who have no, limited, or bad credit history — even prior bankruptcies. Our top-rated unsecured card is the Surge Mastercard®, and our top-rated secured card is the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One.

Surge Mastercard and Capital One Secured

You likely won’t be approved for higher-tier credit cards right away with a past bankruptcy on your credit report. You’ll need to build your credit history, your credit score, and your history of on-time payments.

Rebuilding your credit rating can take time, and it’s wise not to rush into getting a new credit card too soon.

Once you have built your credit score back up a bit, it may be time to apply for a new credit card. Be realistic about your financial situation — you can check your credit reports to get an idea of how you will appear to lenders.

Can I Get the Same Credit Card After Bankruptcy?

Whether you can get the same credit cards you had before your bankruptcy filing depends on which cards you had. If you had a credit card that was targeted for people with good or excellent credit, you will likely not be able to get the same credit card after bankruptcy.

Some companies also specifically prevent people who have a previous discharge on the same credit card from being approved in the future.

Your best bet is to take it slow and put yourself on solid financial footing before you start applying for a new credit card. Make sure that you have an emergency fund in place, and then save up money to be able to put down as a refundable deposit for a secured credit card.

As you start making regular on-time monthly payments, your credit score will improve along with your overall financial picture.

Will American Express Approve After Bankruptcy?

American Express is known to be much stricter about approving a new credit card for applicants after a bankruptcy. In fact, American Express will often immediately close down credit card accounts once it becomes aware that a cardholder has entered the bankruptcy process.

American Express Logo

Amex generally only approves applicants with good credit scores, unless you apply for one of its prepaid offerings.

It is possible for American Express to approve you after bankruptcy — it just takes time.

Focus on building up to a good credit score by making solid financial decisions. Build up an emergency fund and stabilize your income, and you will be well on your way.

A new Amex card may be a bit of a status symbol, but it’s best to focus on other credit cards first post-bankruptcy.

How Long After Bankruptcy Can I Get an Unsecured Credit Card?

Most lenders or credit card companies will not approve you for a card while you are going through the bankruptcy process. After your bankruptcy is discharged, the amount of time it takes before you’re likely to be approved for an unsecured credit card depends on which type of bankruptcy filing you did.

You could be approved for a new credit card after just months of filing bankruptcy through Chapter 7. But it could take years before you are approved for a new card if you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Before you apply for a new credit card post-bankruptcy, look at your overall financial situation. You want to make sure that your financial habits and situation have changed from those that caused you to file bankruptcy. If your situation is the same or similar, you may find yourself heading right back toward bankruptcy.

How Do I Rebuild My Credit After Bankruptcy?

There are no easy roads or secret tricks to rebuilding credit after bankruptcy. Post-bankruptcy, you are given a bit of a fresh start from past obligations to work on building credit back up.

FICO Credit Score Factors

The best way to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy is to focus on paying your monthly bills on time, every month. If you have a car loan or other installment loan, make sure that you are making those monthly payments each month.

Do your best to minimize signing up for new credit and focus on building up an emergency fund. Having an emergency fund to handle unexpected expenses is another good way to rebuild your finances.

One way to build savings and your credit history is through a credit builder loan. These are available through specialized online lenders or your local credit union.

Having a checking account or savings account can be another good step toward building credit history.

You may be anxious to get a new credit card as soon as possible, but most unsecured credit cards for poor credit come with significant upfront and ongoing fees. It may be better to wait and focus on getting a secured credit card that comes with lower or no fees.

What Options Do I Have if I’m Declined for Credit?

If you’re declined for credit, you may want to take an honest look at your situation. This can help you determine what type of credit card or installment loan you should be applying for.

If you are having trouble being approved for an unsecured card, consider getting a secured credit card instead.

Your best bet is to find a creditor that offers a credit card that is targeted to people who are coming off a bankruptcy. Finding a creditor or lender that specializes in lending to people who have a bankruptcy on their credit report isn’t impossible — this page has several examples. You’ll just need to be diligent about checking the interest rates, fees, and other information for the new credit card.

What is the Difference Between a Secured Credit Card and an Unsecured Credit Card?

An unsecured credit card is one in which the credit card company gives you a specified credit line without any security deposit backing the credit line. With an unsecured card, there is no monetary deposit required to be approved for the credit card.

Unsecured vs Secured Credit Cards

Depending on your overall credit profile, a lender may not be willing to give you unsecured debt. In that case, a secured credit card or secured loan may be an option.

With a secured loan or secured credit card, you put down a portion or all of your credit limit as part of the application process. If you default on secured debt, then the credit card company will keep your security deposit.

Post-Bankruptcy Credit Cards Can Help You Start Anew

The best post-bankruptcy credit cards featured above can help you begin to rebuild your credit when you make your payments on time and keep your balance well below the credit limit. These cards are meant as tools to help you begin fixing your credit score, rather than a means of financing purchases over time.

Remember that these cards generally charge high APRs and fees to offset the risk you pose as a borrower with bad credit, so read the terms carefully before deciding to apply. But with responsible use and a little time, your score should rise and you can graduate to a better card offer with better terms and a higher credit limit.

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