An unintentional side effect from a rule mandated by Credit Card reform is keeping stay-at-home moms from qualifying for credit cards.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is reviewing the Credit CARD Act provision after one frustrated mom launched a petition and gathered more than 33,000 signatures on Change.org.
In March 2011, the Federal Reserve issued the rule allowing consumers over the age of 21 to apply for credit card accounts using their personal income, instead of the previous standard of “household income.”
The rule’s intention was to prevent issuance of credit to consumers who lack the ability to pay, including college students using their parents income.
It states that credit card applications generally cannot request a consumer’s “household income” because that term is too vague to “allow issuers to properly evaluate the consumer’s ability to pay. Instead, issuers must consider the consumer’s individual income or salary,” according to a Fed statement at the time the rule was issued.
Stay-at-home mom Holly McCall launched the petition. On Tuesday, she delivered the 33,000 signatures to the CFPB with the help of Momsrising.org.
“It is 2012, and because I’m a stay at home mom, I can’t get my own credit card,” McCall writes on Change.org. “My husband has to give me permission to get my own line of credit. This is demeaning and flat out unfair.”
McCall goes on to say that she makes 95 percent of the household purchases and has “an impeccable credit score.”
Here is McCall’s letter to the CFPB:
Dear Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director,
As one of one million members of MomsRising.org, I am writing to express my concern about the new CARD ACT rules that require companies to consider individual, not household income, for credit applicants.
As you know, this rule discriminates against stay-at-home parents – an impact not intended by the bill sponsors.
The new rules send a message that stay-at-home parents are not as credit-worthy as young adults still in school without their own income (the population the bill is intended to protect). In fact, stay-at-home parents, with their partners, make the decision to stay home with children and, as such, their partners’ income is their income.
These rules are not “inconvenient” as the Federal Reserve suggests but discriminatory and could harm these parents’ long-term access to credit and financial stability in the case of divorce, separation or death of a spouse.
I urge you to work with your staff to review the impact of these rules and overturn this harmful interpretation immediately.