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Ask the Experts

Can I Get a Credit Card After Bankruptcy?

Probably, but higher interest rates are likely

En español | Q. I recently declared bankruptcy. I'm wondering if I'll be able to get a credit card from a bank anytime soon.

A. It depends. Some banks may turn you down, but others may offer you a card. You're likely to pay dearly for it, though. Count on a higher interest rate for purchases because lenders will consider you a higher risk for repayment.

See also: Control your debt and finances.

Shop around for the best interest rate. And of course read the fine print to understand the terms of usage.

Empty purse - if you have filed for bankruptcy a new credit card may require a higher interest rate

If you do get a credit card after filing for bankruptcy, expect to pay a higher interest rate. — Photo by Getty Images

If you do get a card, use it judiciously and always pay at least the minimum amount required on time. Better yet, pay it off in full each month to avoid the elevated interest rate. In a year, or perhaps sooner, you may be able to negotiate better terms.

There's also another alternative — using a secured credit card. With a secured card, you put down a deposit, say, $500, and that becomes your credit line. Because it's secured by your funds, it's less risky to a lender. You can apply for a secured card at a bank or credit union. Just make sure the card doesn't have high fees.

You may also like: Credit CARD Act one year later. >>

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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