Keeping A Credit Card During Bankruptcy
A credit card is a safe and convenient way to pay for life’s necessities. In some cases a credit card is required to purchase goods or services. Debit cards are often a poor substitute for a credit card as bank holds can tie up your account for days.
If you want to keep a credit card during your bankruptcy, there are a few things to know. First, the Bankruptcy Code requires that you list all of your creditors and debts owed on the date of the bankruptcy filing. Consequently, if a credit card has a zero balance on the date that you file bankruptcy, it does not need to be listed and the credit card company does not receive notice.
Second, the use of credit during a chapter 13 bankruptcy is prohibited without prior authorization from the trustee and bankruptcy court. Usually credit approval is contingent upon a written agreement or statement from the credit card company. Chapter 7 debtors do not have this restriction.
Third, a payment on a credit card within 90 days before your bankruptcy filing may be considered a preference payment. The bankruptcy trustee may seek a court order compelling the credit card company to turn over any pre-filing payments.
Fourth, credit card companies conduct regular checks of their cardholders’ credit and your bankruptcy filing may result in the card issuer closing your account, reducing your credit line, or increasing your interest rate. These actions may also occur if you choose to reaffirm your debt with the credit card company. After reaffirming the debt the card may be cancelled and you are stuck with a non-discharged credit card balance.
Fifth, intentional failure to list a credit card with a balance can result in dismissal of your bankruptcy case. The bankruptcy court expects you to be entirely truthful concerning who you owe, regardless of your intention to pay the debt.
Sixth, consider obtaining credit after your bankruptcy discharge. Many debtors are offered unsecured credit cards shortly after their bankruptcy discharge. Many creditors consider a recently discharged debtor a good credit risk because the debtor is unable to receive another bankruptcy discharge for several years, and likely has a good debt-to-income ratio. Many post-discharge credit card offers carry high interest rates and fees, so choose wisely.
Secured credit cards are another credit option after bankruptcy. A secured credit card requires a security deposit placed with the credit card company who then issues a credit line secured by the deposit. Many banks and credit unions offer their customers secured credit cards at reasonable interest rates.
If you are interested in keeping a credit card during bankruptcy, consult with your bankruptcy attorney. Your attorney can discuss your options and help you decide on the best way to maintain a credit card account during and after your bankruptcy.