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While there were a lot of good things for consumers in last year’s CARD Act, one that raised some unexpected fury was the inability for a spouse to enter joint income when applying for a credit card. So…a stay at home mom couldn’t use her husband’s income for consideration for her own card. Or a husband working part time couldn’t use the income of his wife working full time, even though the couple files a joint tax return.
That made it harder for people to keep their own credit in good shape, and limited options for getting the right credit cards for a couple’s needs.
It also made it harder for savvy couples to earn bonus miles from lucrative credit card offers, since unless each person in a couple had sufficient income it got tougher for two separate accounts to be approved. A lot of couples like to apply for bonus offers separately to double up on bonuses…something you can’t do if you are stuck opening only one account and relying on adding an authorized user for the second card.
Well, that’s about to change. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will propose a rule change to re-allow consideration of joint income by November, in time for the new session of Congress.
In the mean time, if you live in a community property state (CA, AK, AZ, ID, LA, NV, NM, TX, WA, WI) the credit card companies must still consider joint income. But you might initially get denied for an application and have to ask to escalate the issue.
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