Getting a Secured Credit Card to Restore Your Credit Rating

Posted on: March 31, 2024

Posted in Bankruptcy, Credit, Credit Rating | Comments Off on Getting a Secured Credit Card to Restore Your Credit Rating

If you’ve recently filed bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, a secured credit card is a way to help you rebuild your credit rating and develop a stronger financial future. It’s not a fast track way to build credit or improve your score, but it’s a clear and simple step that can get you there over time.

A consumer proposal and bankruptcy are effective debt relief solutions that offer immediate relief from overwhelming debt as well as legal protection from creditors. However, they do have a negative impact on your credit score. In general, once you file a consumer proposal, you will have an R7 rating whereas declaring bankruptcy will give you an R9 rating – both very low scores as measured on a scale of R1 to R9 by the credit bureaus. Moreover, these low ratings will remain on your credit profile for three years from the date of a consumer proposal is fulfilled and for six years from the date of discharge from a bankruptcy.

How to rebuild after a Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal

Although a low rating will stay on your profile for a few years, you don’t have to wait that long to rehabilitate your credit. You can begin immediately and start credit after a bankruptcy or consumer proposal by getting a new mortgage, car loan, credit card, bank loan, etc. In other words apply for some credit. It doesn’t have to be much. The point is to show you can handle the credit you get. In as little as two to three years you can re-establish credit and may even have a better credit rating than before you started!

Among the most crucial factors in rebuilding credit is developing a positive payment history and managing finances responsibly. You need to be able to demonstrate to lenders that you can pay back the money you borrowed on time consistently and prove that you can responsibly manage debt.

Credit behaviour matters as it reflects your track record of making timely payments on your loans and credit cards. Discipline is key as consistently paying on time demonstrates financial responsibility and can boost your score. Keeping a balanced credit utilisation ratio is also advisable for a positive impact. A good rule of thumb for credit usage is to never exceed 30% of your total available credit limit.

Working to rebuild your credit can feel nearly as daunting as getting out of debt, but with the right process and a clear sense of direction and commitment, you can get where you want to go. The most crucial factor is to carefully consider options and pick the right path. Not all paths to rebuilding your credit will suit your unique financial situation and goals.

How can I use a secured credit card to rebuild credit

A secured credit card is a great choice for someone looking to build or improve your credit history. If you use them responsibly, secured credit cards can help you increase your score over time. Many licensed insolvency trustees, debt counsellors and other financial professionals often suggest using a secured credit card to rebuild credit.

Secured credit cards are a special type of card typically designed for those who are looking to rebuild their credit. These cards are more accessible for people who have low credit scores.

A secured credit card requires a cash deposit from the cardholder. This deposit acts as collateral for transactions. In case you can’t make payments, the lender can use the deposit to pay the debt. The credit limit for the credit card is equal to the amount that you put down as deposit.

Use a secured debit card similar to how you would use a debit card, keeping in mind that you’re using your own money every time you make a purchase, rather than borrowing funds from a lender.

The key to building credit with a secured credit card is to practice three essential habits.

  • Use your secured credit card wisely – Make sure to use the card each month for one or two small purchases without overspending or missing payments.
  • Keep your balances low – Avoid maxing out your credit card and try to keep your balance low and aim to maintain your credit utilization below 30 percent ideally.
  • Pay off your debts like clockwork – Show responsible credit habits by always paying your balance on time and in full every month.

Keep in mind that the goal is to demonstrate responsible credit use to increase your credit opportunities in the future.

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Choosing the right secured credit card

One factor to help you build really strong credit is making sure you choose the right secured credit card that will meet your needs. These features are essential to ensure the card you use is a helpful tool for building and improving credit.

  • Choose a card that reports to credit bureaus. Make sure you ask whether the issuer reports your repayment behaviour to Canada’s credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax. Not all secured credit cards will do this, which defeats the purpose of opening an account. A prepaid credit card doesn’t usually report at all. If reporting is not available, look for a different secured credit card or another credit card option suitable for bad credit.
  • Choose a card that requires a reasonable security deposit. In Canada, secured credit cards typically require deposits of $200 to $500 and can be as high as $10,000. There are also many secured cards that allow you to put down even less collateral, as low as $49 to start. Keep in mind that the cash deposit will not be accessible unless you close your account, so choose what you can afford to pay. A card with a low minimum required amount will work if you’re short on cash. A secured card with a higher deposit can help improve your credit utilization ratio and potentially boost your credit score faster, but it can also increase the temptation to overspend.
  • Choose a secured card that doesn’t have outrageous fees. Watch out for large monthly or annual fees that can deplete your deposit. It’s also important to consider other helpful benefits, such as an opportunity to increase your credit line, an offer to upgrade to an unsecured credit card or refund your deposit if you can show that you manage your line of credit responsibly and make a series of payments on time.

If used strategically, a secured credit card can be a helpful tool for building and improving credit after bankruptcy or a consumer proposal. The right secured credit card can help you obtain new credit and re-establish a good payment history.

Talk to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee such as Richard Killen & Associates Ltd. about getting a secured credit card after bankruptcy or consumer proposal and get helpful strategies that can effectively repair your credit rating and help you avoid racking up new debt.


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    About Richard Killen & Associates

    Since 1992, Richard Killen & Associates, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, have helped thousands of people resolve their financial problems. With 25 years experience in this industry, our president, Richard Killen, and the rest of our team understand the difficulties that honest people can sometimes find themselves in. This expertise makes it possible to provide you with a service that effectively deals with the issues.

    Serving the GTA for 25 years