CFPB Amends Credit Card Ability-To-Pay Rule


On April 29, the CFPB amended Regulation Z to make it easier for spouses or partners who do not work outside of the home to qualify for credit cards. Regulation Z generally requires that credit card issuers consider an applicant’s independent ability to pay regardless of age. A Federal Reserve Board rule adopted to implement the Credit CARD Act, which took effect on October 1, 2011, required card issuers to consider only an individual card applicant’s independent income or assets. The rule received criticism from members of Congress and other stakeholders who argued the rule limited access to credit for stay-at-home spouses and partners. The CFPB’s revised rule allows credit card issuers to consider third-party income for a consumer who is 21 or older, if the applicant has a reasonable expectation of access to such income. The CFPB rule does not change the independent ability to pay requirement for individuals under 21 years old. The rule is effective as of May 3, 2013 and compliance with the rule is required by November 4, 2013.  Card issuers may, at their option, comply with the rule prior to that date.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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