Proposed rule would help stay-at-home moms get credit cards


WASHINGTON -- A proposed federal rule would make it easier for stay-at-home moms, spouses and domestic partners to obtain credit cards.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it wanted to correct a problem that arose from a 2009 law that has led some people to be denied credit cards because they did not have their own income or assets.

The proposal, announced Wednesday, would allow people to rely on shared-income from a spouse or partner when applying for a credit card.


“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 Richard Cordray, the bureau’s director.

Some members of Congress complained that the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act, known as the CARD Act, had made it difficult for people without their own income stream to get cards issued in their name.

An advocacy group called gathered 40,000 signatures on an online petition urging the rules be changed.

The CARD Act was designed to strengthen consumer protections on credit cards and try to reduce defaults. The law placed limits on interest rate hikes and late fees and sought to curtail aggressive marketing tactics.

One change required card issuers to consider a consumer’s “independent ability” to make the payments.

But after learning that some otherwise credit-worthy applicants have been denied cards because of the rule -- a significant number of those apparently stay-at-home spouses and partners -- the bureau proposed the changes.


The revised rule would let people 21 years or older “rely on third-party income to which they have a reasonable expectation of access.”

The bureau is seeking public comment on the proposed changes over the next two months on the changes.


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