CFPB Issues Final Rule Allowing Stay-at-Home Spouses Easier Access to Credit Cards
Stay-at-home spouses and partners should soon find it easier to get a credit card, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The CFPB on Monday sent to the Federal Register a rule proposed in October that allows credit card issuers to consider income that a stay-at-home applicant, age 21 or older, shares as a third party if it’s reasonable to assume the person has access to it.
The rule will take effect upon publication and credit card issuers will have six months to comply with the new regulation, the CFPB said.
“Stay-at-home spouses or partners who have access to resources that allow them to make payments on a credit card can now get their own cards,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.
CUNA and NAFCU had both expressed their support for the change to Reg Z in the 2009 Card Act, which until now generally allowed only the applicant’s own income or assets to be considered when applying for a new card or increased credit limit.
“Information received from industry participants suggests that otherwise credit-worthy individuals have been declined for credit card accounts under the current regulation, even though they have the ability to manage the debt,” the CFPB said.
“The data suggests that a significant number of these individuals may be stay-at-home spouses or partners with access to income from an employed spouse or partner,” the bureau said, adding that it considered more than 300 comments that were submitted after the final rule was proposed.
The CFPB said census data indicates that over 16 million married people – or about one of out of every three married couples – may now have easier access to credit cards.
“Today’s final rule is an example of the bureau’s commitment to working with consumers and financial institutions in order to ensure responsible access to credit for American families,” Cordray said.
The final rule is available online.