Curious to know if you can keep a credit card after bankruptcy? After all, credit cards are good to have on hand in case of emergencies. 

But then, there are those nagging fears of spiraling back into the debt trap. We get that. 

The short answer is – no – you do not get to keep your credit cards in bankruptcy. This goes for both a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, you may be able to start rebuilding your credit sooner than you think. 

Understanding Bankruptcy and Credit Cards

Filing for bankruptcy is a big step, often necessary to wipe out debt and get a fresh start. But what happens to your credit cards when you file? It’s not a straightforward matter of either keeping or relinquishing them.

Legal Requirements for Listing Credit Cards in Bankruptcy

The law requires that all debts, including those from credit card companies, must be listed on your bankruptcy petition—even if no balance is owed. If you’re thinking about excluding any of your credit cards because there’s zero balance or perhaps the account has some sentimental value—think again. The bankruptcy court takes these rules very seriously.

You might ask: “What if my company finds out about my personal filing?” Rest assured, filing personal bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean trouble with your corporate card; however, it could affect how much trust they put into their employees’ hands. 

The Impact of Bankruptcy on Your Credit Report

Apart from wiping most of your debt slate clean (or setting up manageable payments under Chapter 13), one major impact of declaring bankruptcy involves changes in your credit report. A notation indicating that you filed for bankruptcy will remain visible on this document for seven to ten years depending upon which chapter was filed—Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

This may sound intimidating but remember: A cleaned-up financial house can be worth so much more than fear-inducing digits on a page.

Why Credit Card Companies Cancel Accounts After Bankruptcy

Most likely, you’ll have to give up your credit cards when filing bankruptcy. You’ll need to list all of your credit cards in your bankruptcy petition – including those that have a $0 balance. Your credit cards will then be closed. And, you won’t be able to apply for a new credit card until your debt is discharged. 

For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, this is typically around four to six months. A Chapter 13 bankrtucy can take a lot longer. You’ll make payments for three to five years, and then the rest of your debt will be discharged. If you need a credit card before then, you’ll need to seek approval from your trustee. 

Recommended Practices for Rebuilding Credit 

Research shows about 6 out of every 10 people who filed for bankruptcy started receiving new credit card offers within six months of their case closing. This means there’s hope in starting the process to rebuild your financial standing soon enough.

To repair your credit effectively post-bankruptcy involves strategic planning. Start by keeping track of all ongoing obligations including mortgage payments or car loans – they count towards rebuilding your score too.

Paying down balances each month helps as well. Research shows that those who maintained their total debt under thirty percent of available credit saw an average increase in their scores by around ten points over six months time span.

  • Maintain open accounts but ensure timely payments
  • Prioritize reducing the percentage utilization on cards; aim at keeping below thirty percent
  • If offered higher limit secured credits, take it but don’t max out.

Remember, rebuilding credit after bankruptcy is a marathon, not a sprint. 


When filing bankruptcy, ALL credit cards must be listed – even if no balance is owed. Your credit cards will then be closed. But, you can likely open a new credit card in about four to six months from your initial filing. Credit cards are good to have for emergencies, but make sure that you are following smart practices! If you are considering bankruptcy, schedule a FREE consultation with The Law Office of William Waldner. We can provide you with more personalized information regarding your unique circumstances.