Credit Cards After Bankruptcy – 4 Things To Remember Before You Take The Plunge

credit cards after bankruptcyMost of my bankruptcy clients come to me with one goal, and it’s not to get out of debt.  Sure, that may be the immediate desire but it’s not the first thing that comes out of their mouths when asked.

And every time I hear it, I die a little inside.

What is this yearning?  It is this: to get back their good credit.  And with that comes the question of when credit cards become available after bankruptcy.

As if a good credit score makes you a good person, and a bad score is the proverbial scarlet letter.

Let’s take a step back and think about why you should rethink your dream of getting new credit cards after your bankruptcy is over.

Remember What Brought You To Me

You didn’t come to a bankruptcy lawyer because you were flush with cash and having a great time of things.  You made the move because you were neck-deep in debt to big-money corporations that didn’t care whether you fed your kids or not.  They wanted their pound of flesh no matter what.

After bankruptcy, you’re going to be free of those sharks once and for all.  You’re not going to be subject to the phone calls, letters and constant threat of legal action.  Why walk back into that situation?

Expect The Unexpected

I know you’re not planning on letting it get out of hand again like you did the first time.  Then again, you didn’t plan on getting in over your head the first time either.

The unexpected happens.  Job loss.  Illness.  The shuffling of family lives.  The car breaks down and you need a new one.  It’s part of life.

After bankruptcy, you may not have the ability to file again depending on a variety of circumstances.  If you’ve amassed one or two credit cards after bankruptcy, paying those debts may prove more difficult than you can manage.  If that happens, you could end up looking at the inside of the bankruptcy court again.

Good Credit = Good Debt

Good credit means only that you pay your debts on time.  Without debt, you don’t have a good credit score but you actually have money.

Debt is nothing more than money slavery because you’re going to work each day for Capital One (or Chase, or Citi, or … well, you get the point) rather than for yourself.  When you pay your credit cards after bankruptcy, the resulting good score will serve only as an acknowledgement that you’ve dutifully re-joined the ranks of the millions of Americans who don’t get the benefit of their own paycheck each week.

Hell Bent On New Plastic?

Yes, you can get credit cards after bankruptcy.  Some will be better than others, and a few will offer terms so bad it would make Dr. Melfi’s most famous patient proud.

After bankruptcy, those credit cards will come calling.  Offers will flood your mailbox like greeting cards on a major holiday.

Please, do me a favor – rip them up.

Jay S. Fleischman is a lawyer who helps people fight back against harassing bill collectors after bankruptcy.  

Image credit: richard ling