Can I keep a credit card out of my bankruptcy for future emergencies, clients routinely ask. The short answer is that you can properly omit from your bankruptcy filing any card issuer with whom you don’t have a balance. Those issuers are not creditors at this point.
The broader question is just how useful is plastic as a safety net? With the wave of cancelled cards and lowered debt limits, joined with massive interest increases, I have my doubts that you can count on a credit card as the functional equivalent of cash in the bank.
Then there is the question of fraud: use of a card when you know you may not be able to repay the charge may be fraud under bankruptcy law. If the card issuer can prove fraud, the challenged charges survive the bankruptcy discharge.
So, my routine advice is not to pay more than a couple hundred dollars to pay off a card so you can exclude it from the bankruptcy filing. More than that, put the money in the bank as the start of your rainy day fund of cash in the event of emergencies.