The short and snarky answer? Not many.
Expect plenty of predatory lenders to turn the personal details from your court filings into offers that they claim you'll need to regain your financial footing. Credit cards for bad credit often carry very high APRs, extremely high annual fees, and even application processing fees. These offers might tempt you with promises of rebuilding your credit score, but there's no guarantee that a lender will report your account details to credit bureaus in a way that will actually benefit your long-term financial situation.
Likewise, responding to instant approval credit card offers will only sap your spirit. Many mainstream credit card issuers will automatically decline your application based on your bankruptcy filing alone, not to mention the other black marks that won't fall off your credit report for a few more years. When your applications result in "hard pulls" on your credit report, you could inadvertently damage your credit score further.
Instead, eliminate your anxiety about approval by applying for a secured credit card. Capital One offers an excellent secured card program for consumers nationwide, while Bank of America and Wells Fargo extend secured cards to customers of their retail bank branches. Many neighborhood credit unions and community banks also offer secured cards. In most cases, a secured card will charge an annual fee of under $50 and a security deposit of as little as $200.
If you can afford it right now, invest $500 into the security deposits and fees required to establish secured cards at two institutions. You may not notice a huge change in your credit score right now, but a history of on-time payments with multiple lenders will help you later on as your situation improves.
To get the biggest impact over time, make a minimal charge on each card, every month. Then, pay your statement in full. Use these cards for nothing else. Within a few years, your banks (or their competitors) will help you graduate to a partially secured or an unsecured account, and you'll get your security deposits back.
- I'm a 22-year-old female who makes about $1,000 a month. I have a credit union credit card with credit line of $500. I recently applied for a Lowe's credit card and was denied. I'm always on time with my credit card payments. What would be the reason?
- I am an 18-year-old with no credit history. I have read Curtis Arnold's book and am successfully paying my community college tuition on my own. Which card is best suited for me when I only plan on using my future card for gas purchases?
- How long does it take to establish credit when you have no credit?