Ask an Expert: How Do We Get a Credit Card After Bankruptcy?

Photo (cc) by 401(K) 2012

A Money Talks News reader recently wrote me with the following question…

Hi,

My husband and I were discharged about six months ago from filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. I just went online and did some investigating on rebuilding our credit. We don’t actually want the credit cards and have lived without them for several years now, but know we need them to build our credit.

Anyway, I applied for a Capital One Platinum card and was approved in no time. For my husband on the other hand, I tried Capital One as well as Barclay’s and they both denied him. I don’t want to keep applying and make his credit even worse due to inquiries.

I know that he had more on his credit such as the house, cars, etc. before the bankruptcy, but I’m confused as to why we both have the bankruptcy on our credit and I can get a card and he can’t. Is his only option a secured credit card? There aren’t ANY cards out there helping people re-establish their credit without it being secured?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Julie

My response

Sometimes there’s just no explaining why two people with similar credit histories see different results when applying for the same credit card. As we’ve seen in the past, married couples are the most likely to notice this issue.

The first thing I would do is have your husband contact the card issuer and ask to be reconsidered. Although banks make an initial decision based on an automated system, if you call, a human being can reconsider your application. At the very least, he can find out why he was denied.

As for finding a card that will help you to re-establish your credit, you have another option. I urge you to reconsider a secured card. Secured cards require you to put down a deposit first, but offer the convenience and security of a credit card without requiring a strong credit history. For instance, the Capital One Secured card requires a deposit of as little as $49. This has several advantages: First, your acceptance is virtually guaranteed. Second, using it will accomplish your goal of rebuilding your credit. All you have to do is put down a minimum security deposit, make a very small charge each month, and pay the statement on time.

Doing this for a year or two will vastly improve your credit score. And once your score picks up, you should have no problem being approved for a credit card designed for those who are rebuilding their credit. For example, the Capital One Platinum card is designed for those with average credit. Just don’t go out and apply for a premium rewards card and expect immediate acceptance.

Good luck, Julie!

Note: While we attempt to be completely objective when reporting on credit cards, this site may be compensated by issuers when a reader applies for a credit card through the links within credit card stories or on our credit card search page.

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