CFPB reverses ‘anti-housewife’ rule

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A new provision of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 makes it easier for stay-at-home parents to get their own credit cards.

The law required credit-card issuers to evaluate an applicant’s ability to pay based on his/her income or assets. Thus, stay-at-home parents, who often have no individual income, couldn’t get their own credit cards. An April 2013 rule change by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now allows credit-card issuers to consider an applicant’s access to another person’s income.

You should know that, under the new rules, applicants have to be over 21, but they don’t have to be married to the person whose income they claim that they can access. That means that if you support adult children or your own parents financially, they might have an easier time obtaining more credit than they can pay off, cautions Bill Hardekopf, who is the CEO of Lowcards.com, which is a credit-card news and comparison website.

However, Hardekopf adds that a credit-card issuer will contact you if someone applies for a credit card based on access to your income. Consequently, you’ll have to grant that access before that person can get a credit card.