CFPB revises rule to allow stay-at-home spouses access to credit

Richard Cordray

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed a plan on Wednesday to allow stay-at-home spouses to report shared income when applying for credit.

The proposal addresses a provision of the agency’s Credit CARD Act, which has been criticized as unintentionally preventing such partners from obtaining a credit card, as firms are required to consider an applicant’s ability to pay before credit is issued, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Federal Reserve was responsible for implementing the law and interpreted the provision to mean that firms could not take into account total household income and would, therefore, be forced to deny credit cards to those applicants who did not have their own source of income.

“Today the CFPB is proposing common-sense changes that would facilitate credit access for spouses or partners who do not work outside the home,” Richard Cordray, the director of the CFPB, said, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The CFPB said that it received information suggesting that some otherwise credit-worthy applicants were denied credit cards based on the current interpretation of the law’s provision.

The revised provision would allow applicants 21 years of age and older to report third-party income to which they have a “reasonable expectation of access,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Additionally, the CFPB said that U.S. census data revealed that more than 16 million married people do not work outside of the home.