Filing for bankruptcy with the help of a lawyer, like a bankruptcy lawyer is only ever done as a last resort, in order to get rid of debts that you have no way of paying. And while this will obviously have a very negative effect on your credit score, it isn’t a death sentence. A bankruptcy will be a black mark on your credit for up to 7 years, but it won’t prevent you from ever getting a loan or credit card again. Once your bankruptcy has gone through, there are a few ways you can start rebuilding your credit.

Secured Credit Cards

Many of the same ways young people with no credit can build their credit apply to post-bankruptcy as well. One of the most straightforward ways to start rebuilding your credit is to get a secured credit card. Unlike regular credit cards, secured cards require a deposit upfront, usually between $500 and $1000. This acts as your credit limit, meaning you can’t put more money on your card than you put down for your deposit. It also serves as security for the credit company in case you stop making payments. Putting your own money down eliminates the possibility that the company will lose money, a risk that most credit cards won’t take on people with bad credit. Putting your own money down makes it easier to apply since the company is much more willing to risk giving a card to someone with bad credit since they’re guaranteed to get their money no matter what.

Subprime Cards 

Secured credit cards may not be your only option when selecting a credit card; credit history is only one factor that companies consider. But even if you are accepted for a typical credit card, be prepared for high interest rates. Credit card companies see each new applicant as a risk, and someone with a bankruptcy on their credit history is seen as much more high-risk than an applicant without one. To compensate for what they see as a bigger risk, you will be given subprime loans, usually around 25% APR. If this is an acceptable financial risk, feel free to apply for these kinds of cards; if not, stick with secured credit cards to rebuild your credit score.

Rebuilding your credit can seem daunting after filing for bankruptcy. Remember that while it will affect your score for a long time, it won’t permanently destroy your credit score or ability to apply for cards and loans. Apply for secured cards to start rebuilding your credit, and make sure you keep your debt low and always make your payments on time.