CFPB Eases Credit Card Qualifications for Stay-at-Home Spouses

CFPB Eases Credit Card Qualifications for Stay-at-Home Spouses

April 30, 2013         Written By John H. Oldshue

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has adjusted one provision from the CARD Act in order to make it easier for spouses or partners who do not work outside the home to qualify for credit cards. It now allows credit card issuers to consider income shared with a spouse or partner as part of the application for a new account or increased credit limit.

The movement for the amendment began with complaints from stay-at-home spouses and was first proposed by the Bureau in October 2012.

A 2009 CARD Act provision mandated issuers look at a consumer’s individual income, rather than their household income, when deciding to approve that consumer for a credit card. The rule originally tried to prevent young adults from using their parents’ income to obtain a credit card and subsequently ringing up too much debt in their own name. The unintended consequence of this provision is that it hurt the stay-at-home spouse that generates little or no income.

Before the regulation, another family member, including a stay-at-home spouse, could get a credit card in his or her own name based on the salary of the working spouse.

“Stay-at-home spouses or partners who have access to resources that allow them to make payments on a credit card can now get their own cards,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “[This] final rule is an example of the Bureau’s commitment to working with consumers and financial institutions in order to ensure responsible access to credit for American families.”

The information contained within this article was accurate as of April 30, 2013. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About John H. Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers credit card rate issues for
View all posts by John H. Oldshue
Featured Limited/No Credit
Top Features : No annual fee; reports to major credit bureaus; access to higher credit line after making first 5 monthly payments on time
Featured Fair Credit Card
Top Features : No annual fee; access to higher credit line after making first 5 monthly payments on time
Featured Low Interest Card
Top Features : 1.25X miles on every purchase; no annual fee; bonus of 20,000 miles once $1,000 is spent in first 3 months
Featured Cash Back Card
Top Features : 1.5% cash back on all purchases; $150 bonus after spending $500 in first 3 months
Featured No Annual Fee Card
Top Features : 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay; 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers
Featured Bad Credit Card
Top Features : Perfect credit not required; Reports to major credit bureaus