You have finally dealt with the baggage of your debt and are ready to start fresh and make better choices.
Start with a Secured Credit Card.
One of the quickest ways to help improve your credit score is to get a secured credit card. A secured credit card requires a cash deposit that then becomes the credit limit on the card. You will use the secured credit card just like a regular credit card, only your balance is based on the cash deposit you put down.
Benefits of a Secured Credit Card:
- Provides regular reporting to all 3 credit agencies.
- Protects you from over-spending since your limit is based on the cash deposit you used.
- Can be used just like a credit card.
- Allows you to build your credit the right way.
Tips for Using a Secured Credit Card:
Don’t use the entire credit balance. If you have a $500.00 secured card balance, only use a portion of that. A good estimate is to use about 50% of the limit each month. This shows that you have credit but are not using 100% of it each month, which the credit agencies favor.
Make your payments on time, every single month. Remember, you are wanting to build some momentum, the way you do that is by showing consistent and timely payments each and every month. Do this without fail.
How do I choose a Secured Credit Card?
There are a lot of options but be very careful, you want to make sure that a card you choose has low fees and reports to all 3 credit bureaus.
Some cards may have a low interest rate but charge you a high annual fee. Make sure you pick the right one — I would go for a card that has a low annual fee (under $30) and an interest rate under 14 %. A list of some available cards is listed here.
When should I get a Secured Card?
You should wait until after the Court enters your discharge before you get a secured credit card.
Can I get a card before my bankruptcy?
No. This would defeat the purpose. When you file bankruptcy you must list all of your debt, including the secured credit card. The filing of the bankruptcy would result in the card closing. Wait until after your bankruptcy discharge before you get a secured card.