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New Rule Makes Stay-Home Spouses, Partners Eligible for Credit Cards

May 28th, 2013 · No Comments · Credit Cards

Meredith Simonds

by Meredith Simonds

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For all the good the CARD Act may have done to make it tougher for creditors to qualify college students for credit cards, it simultaneously had a similar unintended impact on stay-at-home spouses and partners. Thankfully, after public comment on the issue, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has responded, introducing a new rule that could qualify an additional 16 million additional consumers who, census data shows, do not work outside the home.

As reported by The Buffalo News, under the CARD Act as originally written, credit card companies were prohibited from qualifying anyone for a card who had no source of income. Unfortunately, this inadvertently included stay-at-home spouses and partners who may not earn a paycheck, but certainly share in access to household funds. Now, provided they can prove said access via a joint bank account, stay-at-home spouses and partners can qualify for a card in their own name.

Of course, more than access to finances comes into play in the qualification of applicants for credit cards. Any previous credit history in the applicant’s name – as reflected in credit reports and credit score — will affect eligibility.

The new rule is officially in effect now, but the credit card companies have six months to comply. That said, it shouldn’t be any real hardship for them, as they’re now allowed to market to millions more potential customers. While the card companies are certainly more leery of lending today than in pre-recession days, there’s likely a good percentage of stay-at-home spouses and partners who meet the highest of standards.

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