Dear Dr. Don,
I have sent away for my free credit reports. Now, I would like to get a secured credit card, as I filed bankruptcy last year.
The problem is I don't know where to get one. There are no e-advertisements for a secured card, just regular interest rate cards. I receive regular credit card offers in the mail, but I know I would not qualify for a reasonable rate, etc.
Where do I find the contact information for secured cards?
-- Tory Turnabout
Bankrate's credit card search feature will let you shop and compare secured credit cards. Search on cards for people with bad credit. The search feature now shows both secured cards and prepaid cards. Choose one of the secured card providers. The contact information is provided in the search results.
With a secured card, you are putting money on deposit that provides the security for your purchases using the card. You need to make sure that the card provider is providing your payment history to the credit bureaus. That's the point of the exercise -- to rebuild your payment history even though you have bad credit.
The Bankrate features "10 questions before getting a secured credit card"
and "Baby-step your way to credit with a secured credit card" will explain how a secured card can help you rebuild credit.
It's a bit of a paradox, but after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it can actually be easier to get a credit card because you don't have a lot of credit card debt and you can't file for Chapter 7 again for eight years.
I like the secured option better because it keeps you from the temptation of overspending on credit. But applying for one unsecured credit card can be worth trying when rebuilding your credit history.
Credit applications show up on your credit report for two years but only count in your credit score for the first year. Multiple applications make you look desperate for credit, and lenders hate lending to desperate people.