Many people erroneously assume that there is a certain designated period after they receive a discharge in bankruptcy where they are ineligible to either apply for or receive new credit cards or other debt. This is entirely untrue. While a bankruptcy filing generally remains on your credit report for 10 years and you are ineligible to receive another bankruptcy discharge for between 2 to 8 years, depending on which type of bankruptcy you filed, (7 or 13) there is NO prohibition whatsoever on obtaining new debt obligations, after your bankruptcy case in concluded.

So, the issue is not IF you can obtain new credit after bankruptcy but HOW. This requires following certain steps. As most secured debts such as home mortgages, car loans and leases are generally unaffected by a bankruptcy filing and will continue as financial obligations after your bankruptcy case is concluded, you should scrupulously keep all such obligations current and paid on time. If you rent where you live, the same advice applies to your monthly rent payments. Your timely payment history will be reported by your creditors to each of the three major credit reporting agencies and help to rebuild your credit.

Contrary to popular belief, obtaining new credit cards post-bankruptcy is usually not very difficult. While you may be required to pay a higher interest rate than someone with excellent credit, you probably will be approved for new credit cards. You should obtain 1 or 2 new credit cards. Use them, but be conservative in keeping your balances within your ability to repay easily and ON TIME. Don’t go overboard in applying for new credit cards, even if you don’t plan on using them, as the amount of your “Available” credit relative to your income will be used in determining your FICO credit score and may even lower it. —Michael L. Detzky, Esq., Detzky, Hunter & DeFillipo, LLC