The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has changed parts of the CARD Act that the bureau said was making it harder for some "stay-at-home parents" to get credit cards.
The original law called for companies to verify applicants' ability to pay before approving them for credit cards. That was leading card companies to consider only individuals' income, rather than household pay, the bureau said. Thus, people who would have otherwise qualified for a credit card were being denied, the bureau said.
For credit card applicants who are 21 or older, the bureau's revision—which followed several months of consumer and industry input—allows card issuers to consider third-party income if the applicant has a reasonable expectation of access to that income. The rule applies to all applicants regardless of marital status, though it should ease access to credit for individuals who have access to a working spouse or partner's income, the bureau said.
"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 a press release.
The CFPB, which was created by the Dodd-Frank law, has been considering the effectivenes of the CARD Act, which was initially passed in 2009. The 'stay-at-home' revision alone could open up as many as 16 million married people who do not work outside the home, the CFPB said, citing U.S. Census Bureau figures.