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Well, even tho we're not yet discharged, we're starting to get those "howdy sucker!" (well...that's what I'm calling them) credit card offers. Today's from Cross Country bank, with a "guaranteed" $350 credit line, NO grace period (nada, zip), an APR of 20% (pretty much guaranteed to go up any time the prime does), and a $50/year annual fee.

Just a general advise to lurkers - you can get a secured credit card with a 25 day grace period and a $35 or less annual fee from any # of issuers - check www.bankrate.com for the best current deals. Yes, you will have to have a savings acct. equal to your credit line, but pay off every month and you'll re-establish credit without re-establishing debt!

Make sure you find out before you apply if they report to ALL 3 credit bureaus - some don't, and that won't help re-establish credit, if they don't. By the way, your credit report won't indicate that the card is secured - from a credit ratings POV, it's just as good as an unsecured card.

Watch out for look-alike cards that aren't VISA or MasterCard, or anyone who wants an application fee. These kind of companies are trolling for the despearate and uninformed - you don't need them!

Many secured card issuers will increase your credit line after a time, if you are in good standing, without requiring you to increase the deposit. Many will also offer you an unsecured card, after a period of time. (Think I'll stick with unsecured, thanx.)

I was told by one lender that our foreclosure (sadly, part of the reason for BK, and we are not contesting - have moved to another state for job purposes) must be finished before we can apply - basically goes under the requirement most of the reputable issuers have - that your BK must be discharged, and no accounts in arrears...so for us, it's the foreclosure and not the BK that will be the "loose end" causing us to wait.

Hope this info helps someone. Don't EVER get talked into a bad credit deal after BK out of shame - that's what the bottom feeders are counting on! There are lots of good books like Paula Ryan's "Bounce Back from Bankruptcy", plus good info. sites like nolo.com - where you can read about getting your credit back - and staying out of the debt roach-motel!

LisaB
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(Think I'll stick with unsecured, thanx.)

yaak...I meant secured. LisaB
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Lisa,

I had much the same experience, following our filing for Chapter 7. And the flyers from auto dealerships ("Let Us Help Rebuild Your Credit!!") still come in regularly!

Regarding secured credit cards, I'd like to mention our happy experience with First Consumers National Bank -- and no, they don't pay me for saying this!

We lost all our many credit card accounts when we filed, and we were GREATLY concerned about how to obtain a CC again for emergencies, reestablishing credit, identification, etc.

I applied to FCNB thru their web site (www.fcnb.com) and was accepted for their "Secured and More" Visa card. It does have a $ 39 annual fee and 18.9% -- but the neat part was that they quintupled (is that a word?) my deposits as a credit limit! That is, my initial deposit of $150 became a credit limit of $750. (Only $100 was required, but what the heck.) Although no further deposit is required, I sent 'em an additional $ 100 ... which then made the limit $1,250! Pretty respectable, I thought, for such a small investment.

They do make clear that computing your credit limit is at their option, and they can establish it dollar-for-dollar on your deposit...or multiply your deposit by any factor they choose, up to 5x.

They're reporting to all three CRA's, and we use the card monthly for little expenses, paying it off each month -- in fact I try to send payment the day I get their statement.

We've been with FCNB for eight months now, and recently got an offer to up any deposit by the same factor of 5. I think I'll send 'em some more, since we're hoping to convert to non-secured status at the end of twelve months, and I'd like to bump up our credit limit for potential emergency situations. (FCNB pays only 2.19 APY on your deposit currently, so I'd like to do other things with that small amount of dough.)

I mention all of this because we've been really happy with this deal, and also I'd like to hold out a little hope to people facing bankruptcy, since we're rapidly getting back on our feet. It ain't the end of the world, folks -- there ARE businesses which serve the newly-bankrupt, but it's a service you have to pay for.




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Thanks, Slowlearner! We must wait patiently for our out-of-state foreclosure to complete before we can pick up the pieces and re-establish credit, but I'm keeping notes here! FCNB sounds pretty good - the site says they report to all three bureaus, and I'm impressed that the interest is something more than the 1/2% your local bank pays on the typical passbook savings...

Do they have a grace period? (Guess I just HAVE to look for the dark cloud behind the silver lining!)

Also, re. your other post - our trustee turned to our attorney at one point and said "it looks like we have a no-assets case, here". This, with a list of our possessions in front of him, that probably met the allowable limits for what we can keep - plus an extra or two like collectibles with minimal value, which it sounded like he didn't even want to be troubled with.

So...was that your situation? Did the trustee later write to demand you redeem or surrender items, post-discharge? Just trying to keep a "heads up".

LisaB
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Lisa,

Yep, FCNB has the usual grace period (25 days, I believe) -- with the usual stipulation: it will vanish forever if you ever once fail to pay the balance in full each month. So, paying in full each month, I've never paid 'em a cent in interest -- only the annual fee (which I don't mind at all!)

Regarding our trustee, his first letter (with a very threatening tone, meaning his final paragraph reminded us that he'd be quick to file objections with the court -- and he's got a year to do it in -- if we didn't cooperate immediately) not only demanded our cash-on-hand as stated in the filing, but also cash for the value of all our non-exempt items!!

I had a mini heart attack first, then realized that he can't do that!

So, when sending him our check, I VERY POLITELY reminded the jerk that we had never intended, and were still unable, to redeem any of our non-exempt stuff for cash -- so I'd be happy to turn over any or all of it he wanted, and just kindly advise me of when and where.

To my surprise, he never replied to that. And we were able to keep all the non-exempt items (most of it was my business stuff in excess of the exempt amounts, a pistol and a couple of musical instruments, and an second car worth very little). It was all stuff which would have been difficult to dispose of, or would bring him little cash, so I guess it wasn't worth his trouble. (Also, our one bankruptcy court in this state is completely overwhelmed with cases lately, and I presume the trustees are too, focussing mostly on the big-dollar items.)

But we never fully relaxed until, a year later, we got the court's notice that the estate had been distributed and the trustee was paid his compensation and it was all over. Whew!

And yeah, isn't savings account interest a laugh lately. Except I'm not laughing...

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