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Stay-At-Home Spouses Can Obtain Credit Cards Again

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Housewives and house husbands who have been unable to qualify for credit cards during the past two years should try again. A recent rule change has greatly improved their odds of approval.

Until 2011, stay-at-home spouses had no more trouble obtaining credit cards than anyone else.

But an amendment to the Credit Card Accountability ­Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) enacted that year blocked card issuers from offering credit to applicants with limited income. The amendment was meant to prevent consumers from accumulating high-interest-rate credit card debt that they couldn’t afford to repay. But the way the amendment was worded, it also prevented issuers from offering credit cards to homemakers—even if their spouses’ income put them in an excellent position to pay their bills.

This so-called “anti-housewife” rule was finally amended this year, and credit card issuers are once again ­allowed to factor in third-party income to which the applicant has access, such as a spouse’s income.

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Source: John ­Ulzheimer, credit expert from CreditSesame.com, a credit information Web site. Based in Atlanta, he formerly worked with credit-score developer Fair Isaac (FICO) and credit-reporting agency Equifax. He has taught courses on credit reporting and credit scoring at Emory University and University of Georgia. He is author of The Smart Consumer’s Guide to Good Credit (Allworth). Date: October 15, 2013 Publication: Bottom Line Personal
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