Stephanie Ostrowski Oct. 18, 2012, 4:01pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - A proposal to qualify for credit cards by relying on shared incomes for spouses and partners who do not work outside of the home was announced Wednesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Data shown to the Bureau suggests that individuals who do not work outside of the home met the credit benchmark but were declined for credit cards under the current regulation even though they can make the required payments. CFPB found that a significant number of those denied had access to income from their spouse or partner.

Under the current parameters of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act which passed in 2009, it is required for card issuers to evaluate a consumer's ability to make payments before opening a new credit card account. These regulations issued by the Federal Reserve allow the card issuer to only consider the individual applicant's income or assets.

The proposed revision by the Bureau would allow credit card applicants who are 21 or older to rely on third-party income, with reasonable access. This would apply to all applicants regardless of marital status. However, the Bureau expects that this will greatly benefit stay-at-home spouses or partners who have access to an employed spouse or partner's income.

"When stay-at-home spouses or partners have the ability to make payments on a credit card, they should be able to obtain a card in their own name," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray, a former attorney general of Ohio. "Today the CFPB is proposing common-sense changes that would facilitate credit access for spouses or partners who do not work outside the home."

The revision of this act could benefit the more than 16 million married people do not work outside the home, according to the Census.

The proposed rule is available here.

More News