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Good News for Stay-At-Home Spouses Applying for Credit Cards

I’ve received a couple of notes from readers over the past few months noting that their wives (who didn’t work outside of the home) were being denied credit cards because credit card companies are only considering individual income, not “household” income when determining whether to approve a credit card.

This rule was was an unintended consequence of a law that was designed to protect students and those in their 20s from getting too deep into credit card debt.

Stay-at-home parents looking to get into the whole credit card game received a small bit of good news recently when the head of the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau told a Congressional committee that they would propose a new law in the next month or so to allow stay-at-home spouses to count household income when applying for cards. (NY Times has a bit more detail here.)

This change won’t happen tomorrow, but I hope that by the end of the year stay-at-home parents can start churning again.

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  1. Thanks for the update Jared. My wife is schoolteacher, so we don’t have the “no income” problem, and she has received the Chase/BA, Citi/AA, and Chase Sapphire cards with no problems. However, I am concerned her income considered alone may not be sufficient for higher end cards such as the AMEX Platinum. Do you know of any guidance for each card issuer as to whether or not she could put down our total household income or if she must stay limited to just hers? We read each application carefully, but despite “clear wording” initiatives, it’s still sometimes uncertain. Thanks!

  2. I had no idea this was even an issue. We’ve been using household income successfully for all of my wife’s applications. As Jon suggests, the wording on the applications doesn’t really exclude entering household income.

  3. Community property state FTW

  4. Please fix the popup window to your website, it is very annoying. The first thing is for people being asked to sign up. If people like it, it will happen automatically, plus from an iphone the popup blocks your website , thanks with respect

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