I hear and see this all the time.  “I want to keep one credit card out of my bankruptcy.” Or, “I need to keep one credit card in case of an emergency.”

You can try… but it’s not going to work.

If you owe even $0.01 on a credit card, it must be listed as a debt on your bankruptcy petition.

If you do not owe anything, then maybe you don’t have to list it. It isn’t a debt, so that does not go on the debt section of the petition. But it is a contract with the credit card company. And in the strictest reading of bankruptcy laws, all contracts are to be listed on the bankruptcy petition.

But the reality is that your $0 balance credit card is going to get zapped by the company. They are going to close it upon receiving notice of your bankruptcy filing.

But you didn’t list it on your petition?  No matter, the credit card company knows you filed anyway.

Your bankruptcy filing lists your name, aliases, address, and social security number. The creditors subscribe to services like Aacer that will inform each creditor who filed bankruptcy today. I expect that within days your credit cards have all been closed, whether or not you have a balance.

The solution? You need to wait until your bankruptcy is over. About 3 months from the filing date for a chapter 7, and not until completion of your plan in chapter 13 (usually 36-60 months).

“Unfortunately” the credit card companies will be throwing themselves at you upon your bankruptcy discharge with offers. You are the best credit risk after a bankruptcy since you cannot file again  for at least 4-8 years.

But if you are worried about needing credit during a short chapter 7 process, you need to get to the bottom of the problem. The whole point of your bankruptcy filing is to end the need for credit and its downward spiral of never-ending interest and high payments.