CFPB proposes making it easier for unemployed spouses and partners to get credit cards

October 18, 2012|Eileen Ambrose

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing a change to the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act so that stay-at-home spouses and partners can get a credit card. The 2009 requires banks to determine whether applicants have the ability to pay bills before issuing them plastic under their name.

This was created so that banks wouldn’t allow people without means of repaying from opening up credit card accounts and getting in over their heads. But some critics complained that it could prevent stay-at-home spouses, often women, from getting credit in their name.

The CFPB is suggesting changes so that the working partner’s income could be considered when there’s a reasonable expectation that the stay-at-home mate will have access to that money.

The revision would only apply to those 21 and older. That’s because the law requires those under 21 to have enough income to pay card bills before they can get an account. This is to stop card companies from loading up unemployed young adults with credit cards that they can’t afford.

The CFPB says that more than 16 million married people do not work outside the home. It figures that one out of three married couples would have easier access to credit if this revision is adopted.

That figure is probably high, considering there are plenty of unemployed spouses who aready have credit under their own name from before the CARD Act.

Anyway, the CFPB is now seeking public comment on its proposal.

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