This story appeared in Bank Digest.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has amended regulations implementing the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act to provide access to credit cards for spouses and partners that do not work outside the home. "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 in the bureau's announcement.
The CARD Act requires that card issuers evaluate a consumer's ability to pay before opening a new credit card account or increasing a credit limit. Under current CARD Act implementing Regulation Z—Truth in Lending (12 CFR 1026.51), a card issuer generally may consider only the individual card applicant's independent income or assets. The revisions allow credit card issuers to consider income that a stay-at-home applicant, who is 21 or older, shares with a spouse or partner when evaluating the applicant for a new account or increased credit limit. For credit card applicants who are 21 or older, card issuers may consider third-party income if the applicant has a "reasonable expectation of access" to it.
The rule is applauded by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Chair of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the subcommittee, and Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Rules. "Families who choose to have one spouse stay at home should not be penalized by one-size-fits all regulations," said Capito. She added that the amendments should "hopefully provide necessary clarity to ensure qualified borrowers are not denied access to credit because they have made the very personal decision to stay at home to raise their family."