How to Get Approved for Store Credit Cards After Bankruptcy

Woman handing a credit card

Short Answer

After bankruptcy, you may be able to qualify for a credit card by applying for a Citibank-backed or Comenity Bank store credit card. You can also try the “shopping cart” trick during checkout online, which may allow you to receive approval based on a soft credit inquiry. We have more details about these options, plus a list of cards to consider, below.

How to Get Approved for Store Credit Cards After Bankruptcy

We contacted several major issuers of store credit cards, including Barclays, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Comenity Bank, Synchrony Bank, and U.S. Bank, to find out which banks issue cards to those with a bankruptcy filing on his/her credit report.

Most of the card issuers told us that store credit card approval is based on an individual’s credit report and would not say whether or not a bankruptcy filing automatically disqualifies an applicant. Citibank is the only one that told us that it may still approve an applicant with a bankruptcy filing on his/her credit report.

A few things you should know before applying for a store credit card after bankruptcy are how different types of bankruptcy filings affect your credit report and how applying for store credit cards may affect your credit report after bankruptcy.

Types of Bankruptcy

There are two different types of bankruptcy that an individual can file: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 is known as liquidation bankruptcy; in this case, most of your property is sold and used to pay off your debts.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is known as reorganization bankruptcy; in this case, you keep most of your personal property provided you are able to complete a repayment plan issued by a court.

We contacted the three major credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to find out how bankruptcy affects your credit report. All three credit reporting bureaus told us that Chapter 13 bankruptcy typically stays on your credit report for seven years from the date it’s filed and Chapter 7 bankruptcy usually stays on your credit report for 10 years.

Having a Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your credit report may make it harder to get approved for a store credit card simply because it stays on your credit report longer.

Additionally, the credit bureaus told us that a bankruptcy filing does show in the public records section of your credit report and may show on both “hard” and “soft” credit inquiries.

Rebuilding Your Credit After Bankruptcy

One thing to be mindful of when applying for credit cards after bankruptcy is that many applications require a hard credit check.

Hard inquiries can hurt your credit score — and applying for multiple credit cards can significantly affect your credit.

It would be a good idea to seek out credit cards that only require a “soft” credit inquiry, which won’t affect our credit.

Store Credit Cards to Consider After Bankruptcy

Citibank Store Credit Cards

Of all the banks we contacted, Citibank was the only one that told us that you can still be approved for a Citibank-backed store credit card if you have a bankruptcy filing on your credit report.

Citibank customer service representatives could not say how long ago the bankruptcy needs to have been filed nor could they provide any other credit approval requirements, but since the bank does not automatically disqualify those who have filed for bankruptcy, applying for a Citibank store credit card might be a good place to start.

Keep in mind, Citibank does require a hard credit inquiry during the application process. Citibank store credit cards include:

  • Best Buy
  • Big O Tires
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Costco
  • ExxonMobil
  • Macy’s
  • Office Depot OfficeMax
  • Sears
  • Shell
  • Staples
  • The Home Depot (For details on what credit bureau The Home Depot uses, see our related article.)

Comenity Bank Store Credit Cards

Comenity Bank customer service representatives would not say whether or not a bankruptcy filing means automatic denial for store credit card applicants. But, online forums suggest that Comenity Bank often only requires a soft credit inquiry for store credit cards.

Comenity Bank representatives would not confirm or deny this information, but if you’re concerned about how a hard credit inquiry might affect your credit score, you might want to try applying for a Comenity Bank store credit card.

See our complete list of Comenity Bank store credit cards.

For more options, see our list of soft pull credit cards.

The “Shopping Cart” Trick After Bankruptcy

Another option for getting a store credit card after bankruptcy is to use the “shopping cart” trick.

The shopping cart trick can sometimes help you get approved for a store credit card while shopping online. Preapproval only requires a soft pull.

See our related research for complete details on using the shopping cart trick, as well as the list of stores where the shopping cart trick can be used.

If you try the shopping cart trick but find it’s not working for you, try troubleshooting with our list of possible fixes.


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