[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:
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
- No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
- Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
- You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
- Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
- Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
- It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Card Details +
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 24.99% 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.
Discover it® Secured
- No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
- Your Secured Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit up to the amount we can approve of at least $200 which will establish your credit line. You will need to provide your bank information when submitting your security deposit.
- We will automatically begin reviewing your account starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit.
- 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 – automatically.
- Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
- Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Card Details +
Rewards: 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in quarterly spending at gas stations and restaurants and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: Discover matches all cash back earned in the first year.
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Intro: 10.99% for 6 months on balance transfers; 24.49% Variable on purchases & balance transfers
Why We Picked It: This card earns rewards and helps you build up credit.
The Details: You’ll need a minimum security deposit of $200, with your initial credit limit equaling the deposit amount. After eight months, Discover will automatically begin to review your account to determine if they can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your security deposit. And, unlike many secured cards, this card earns cash back rewards.
Drawbacks: This card may have steeper credit requirements than some competitors.
U.S. Bank Aeromexico Visa Secured Card
Rewards: Two miles per dollar spent on gas and groceries and one mile per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: 3,500 bonus miles and a companion flight certificate when you open your card.
Annual Fee: $25.
APR: Variable 24.24% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: If you like to fly Aeromexico, you can use this card to build credit and earn miles.
The Details: You’ll need at least $300 to open this card, with your deposit equaling your credit line. Gas and grocery purchases earn two miles on the dollar and all other purchase earn one mile per dollar. There’s a nice sign-up bonus and you’ll get an additional $99 companion certificate each year you renew.
Drawbacks: If you don’t fly with Aeromexico, you won’t see as much value with this card.
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.
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.
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