California consumers who are facing a bankruptcy proceeding often have many misconceptions about life after bankruptcy. Among these is the fear that access to new lines of credit will be closed to them for a lengthy period of time. However, credit card options are available within just days of a personal bankruptcy discharge. Used responsibly, such accounts can pave the way for a solid future credit score.

Secured credit cards offer one easy path to new credit. These types of cards are offered by virtually every major credit card company. Consumers simply apply for the account and make a deposit equal to the credit line they wish to establish. The deposit is held by the credit card company as security that the account will be paid.

Consumers should begin using new lines of credit immediately upon the discharge of their bankruptcy. Credit scores are heavily weighted toward older accounts, so by opening a secured credit card as soon as possible, a consumer will establish a line of credit that will improve their credit history once the bankruptcy is removed from the credit report. Scores may improve slowly at first, but once the bankruptcy drops off the scores should rise rapidly.

In many cases, personal bankruptcy is the best path to a fresh financial start. This is especially true once an individual’s debt has grown to a level that makes repayment virtually impossible. Stockton residents who fear that they will be shut out of the credit market should know that it is possible to obtain a secured card immediately after bankruptcy, and with responsible use, unsecured credit opportunities are likely to follow.

Source: MSN Money, “Best credit cards after bankruptcy,” Nov. 5, 2012