Credit cards after bankruptcy: Don’t fear the system, use it to your benefit

You might have heard it before, “What happened before your bankruptcy doesn’t matter, it’s all about what you do afterwards.” This is true with credit cards and your credit scores. Many people are reluctant to get a credit card after a bankruptcy because they are afraid they will fall back in the same trap that put them in a Chapter 7 or 13 in the first place. Qualifying for a credit card might be easier than you thought, and a secured card might be your best friend in rebuilding your credit rating.

Your credit score is an asset and you can and should use it to help you get ahead and build for the future.

Think of your credit rating as an asset you can use to leverage your ability to pay the credit cards back when you are carrying less debt on your shoulders. The ability to earn credit and pay it back is not the same after a bankruptcy discharge. If you owe less money to people, lenders might be more likely to extend that credit you might need to get ahead or keep up if something comes up.

Credit histories and scores are important when you apply to rent a home or apartment, when you look for a new job, and when you want to borrow money from your bank or credit union to buy a new car or something you need around the house, garage or lake. If you can reasonably afford a monthly payment, you should be able to borrow money and make the monthly payments, on time, to help rebuild and boost your credit score.

When should you apply for a credit card or a loan, to make purchases and rebuild credit?

As soon as you are able to obtain a line of credit, secured or unsecured, it makes sense to take these steps to rebuild and earn a better credit score than you thought you could achieve. The key is to spend your credit as if it is cash in your checking or savings account. Some people keep their credit card receipts and toss them in a box, paper-clipped to cash to cover the receipt. Then, when it is time to pay the bill, turn the cash into a proper payment method and pay that credit card in full every month.

If you can otherwise manage your money and not get behind in payments, go forth and charge away. There might be an emergency where you can only pay the minimum from time to time, but recall the spending and payment patterns that caused problems in the first place. If your bankruptcy was a result of a medical emergency or unforeseen event, please do not be offended by these tips, but appreciate that many people fall behind financially through their own doing or with no fault whatsoever. Again, what matters after a bankruptcy is more important than what lead to the filing in the first place.

Go get a secured credit card; you might be able to get one very soon after your bankruptcy discharge.

Many ask, “Who would ever give me credit after a bankruptcy?” The lending decision on extending credit is based on the likelihood that the debt will be repaid or secured in the event the borrower defaults. A secured credit card is one that looks and works just like any conventional credit card, with one exception, you pay a deposit, held by the issuing bank or credit union. If you don’t pay the bill on your secured card, the bank collects your deposit and they are not out the money. It makes sense for them and it makes sense for you.

Credit unions operate using a different set of rules for lending, and they can offer more options to someone in the process of rebuilding their credit. Start by setting up a checking or savings account with a credit union nearby your home or place of employment. If you get to know the people at the credit union when you stop by to make deposits and withdrawals, they can get a better sense of who you are as a person, not just a number on a credit report. Of course there are rules the credit unions follow, and it may be a while, but eventually they might be the best place to go when looking for a (secured or unsecured) credit card, home, boat or auto loan.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., wants to help clients get back on their feet and achieve financial success.

Encouraging clients to go forth and be financially successful after a bankruptcy should be the goal of an ethically managed bankruptcy law firm. At Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., we want you to succeed and send us referrals, and hopefully you won’t need to file another bankruptcy of your own in the future. We work to share information and encouragement to those who ended up in a financial bind and really do wish all our clients the best in future financial success.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel. Ltd. on Twitter. If you need immediate legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by calling (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney today.