Your credit history since being discharged
If the discharged bankruptcy occurred some time ago and any other adverse credit history including CCJs were incurred more than five years ago you stand a good chance of getting a credit card. If you are still repaying past credit then your eligibility for a credit card will depend on a number of factors. Your credit rating will be taken into account, so if you regularly make late payments or miss payments altogether you may find that you are still turned down for many credit cards. The level of debt that you are currently in, along with the amount that you pay out on previous debts, is also taken into account. Other influencing factors include whether you’ve had a good credit history since your discharge and whether any other accounts like direct debit payments for phone, TV, mail order, car loans etc are in good order.
Check your Credit Report online or by post
It’s worth periodically checking your own Credit Report using Internet-based services like Credit Expert to make sure that the information lenders see is accurate and up to date. If you don’t have email or access to a computer, you can write to the Credit Reference Agency which must reply to you in seven working days. If the information is wrong you can demand that it is changed or removed (see How to Check Credit Score: A Guide for more details).
Specialist lenders could help
It’s probably a waste of your time approaching the “regular” card providers as they will almost certainly turn you down. Instead, approach some of the companies that specialise in the provision of “bad credit credit cards” . These providers will still carry out a credit check, but they tend to understand an individual’s circumstances and are willing to consider people with a poor credit rating, especially if you have experienced credit problems like Bankruptcy or CCJs in the past. Even with these providers though, nothing is guaranteed. Generally speaking, if it is less than six months from the date you contact them since you were discharged bankrupt they probably could not process your application successfully. However, they may be able to help if it’s six months or more after you were discharged bankrupt and your credit history has been satisfactory.
Credit cards to build your credit rating
Although interest rates on these bad or poor credit credit cards are higher than on standard cards and credit limits tend to be lower, approaching these specialist lenders is a far better option than risking rejection (which would go down on your credit file) from mainstream credit card providers. These cards can also help you to build your credit rating back up over time by demonstrating that you can manage credit successfully and you’ll eventually be able to apply for more competitive “regular” credit card deals. Although acceptance can never be 100% certain you do stand a much better chance of success with these adverse credit, credit cards.
Prepaid credit cards
The other option for people who have been declared Bankrupt is a Prepaid Credit Card. There’s no need for a credit check and they do not have a line of credit to tempt you. They do very little to help re-establish your credit rating as there is no “credit” involved and almost all do not report into the Credit Reference Agencies. A couple of prepaid cards can help you to strengthen your credit file by giving you a small interest free loan (usually no more than a year's worth of monthly fees but this is only available once you are a discharged bankrupt). As long as you repay the loan each month, you’ll boost your credit score, but generally speaking the prepaid credit card gives you a degree of spending power. They are not really “credit cards” at all, since it’s your own money you are spending, but their biggest advantage is the fact that it’s impossible for the card to go over limit. Prepaid credit cards offer the security, flexibility and convenience of a credit card, especially if you are making purchases on the Internet, without the worries of debt or overspending. .