Credit Cards for Stay-at-Home Spouses

Photo (cc) by Håkan Dahlström

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing an update to legislation that would allow stay-at-home spouses to more easily qualify for credit cards…

“When stay-at-home spouses or partners have the ability to make payments on a credit card, they should be able to obtain a card in their own name,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today the CFPB is proposing common-sense changes that would facilitate credit access for spouses or partners who do not work outside the home.”

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) became law in 2009. The CARD Act requires that card issuers evaluate a consumer’s ability to make the necessary payments before opening a new credit card account. Under current CARD Act regulations issued by the Federal Reserve, a card issuer generally may only consider the individual card applicant’s income or assets.

Data made available to the Bureau suggest that some otherwise credit-worthy individuals have been declined for credit card accounts under the current regulation, even though they have the ability to make the required payments.

Citing Census data, the CFPB says such a rule could help one-third of American married couples – 16 million people – get access to credit.

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