The answer is no. As an Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer, I am routinely asked this question and am consistently met with shock and dismay. I’m sorry, but part of the deal of repaying only a portion of your debts over time at no interest is that the courts and the Trustee want to ensure you do not accruing additional debt during the term of your case. The last thing anyone wants is to see a debtor’s Chapter 13 case fail and then be forced to re-file shortly thereafter.
Now, it is possible to open up a new credit card during the pendency of your Chapter 13 case by filing a motion to incur new debt with the court and obtaining the consent of the Chapter 13 trustee assigned to your case. After all, five years is quite a bit of time to go without the use of a credit card, but your chances of having the motion granted will increase in line with how many plan payments you make and how timely you make those payments. If you can show to the Trustee that making your monthly plan payment is no sweat, he or she will typically have no problem consenting to an order authorizing a credit card to make purchases a bit more convenient.
Do I recommend that a debtor take out a new credit card during the term of his or her Chapter 13 case? Generally no. Five years is a long time, and the temptation to fall back into old habits after a few years of floating through a Chapter 13 repayment plan is high. It is quite a disappointment to be 3.5 years into a 5 year plan and to miss a few payments because your new credit card bill got out of control. Once you miss a few payments to the Trustee, it is often impossible to catch them up, and no debts will be discharged if your plan is dismissed.