CFPB Proposes Making it Easier for Stay-at-Home Spouses and Partners to Get Credit Cards

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, has  proposed updates to existing regulations that it believes would make it easier for spouses or partners who do not work outside of the home to qualify for credit cards.  The proposal would allow a stay-at-home spouse or partner to rely on shared income from his or her spouse or partner when applying for a credit card account.

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act, or CARD Act, became law in 2009.  The CARD Act requires that card issuers evaluate a consumer’s ability to make the necessary payments before opening a new credit card account. Under current CARD Act regulations issued by the Federal Reserve, a card issuer generally may only consider the individual card applicant’s income or assets.

The CFPB’s proposed revision would allow credit card applicants who are 21 or older to rely on third-party income to which they have a reasonable expectation of access.  Although the proposal applies to all applicants regardless of marital status, the CFPB expects that it will ease access to credit particularly for stay-at-home spouses or partners who have access to a working spouse or partner’s income.

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