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Stay at Home Spouses Now Eligible to Qualify for Credit Cards 

When the Credit Card Act was adopted in 2009, one of the provisions stated that credit card companies could only consider an individual’s independent income, and not household income, when issuing credit. That led to some individuals, who had the means to pay, to not qualify for credit cards. In the credit driven environment we live in, that could create a problem. “Having credit, and using that credit responsibly, is a major plus on a credit report, “states Jana Castanon, spokesperson for Apprisen. “The inability to gain access could cost the consumer hundreds of dollars. Many services attach higher premiums or fees for those who have sub-standard credit or no credit.” However, with the diligence of some lawmakers, that has changed.

Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reformed these provisions. Now, credit card companies will be able to consider the income of a spouse or partner, who is 21 years or older, when issuing new credit or approving higher credit limits. The credit card issuers will have six months to comply with the new rules.
With the rules changing and a family’s ability to take out more credit, financial honesty within any relationship is a must. “So many times we see clients in our offices where credit cards have been opened without the knowledge of the other partner,” continues Castanon. “This often creates a financial hardship where all expenses are not being met.” It is important to talk about your financial goals and develop a strategy to reach them together. Apprisen offers these suggestions to help families work together financially:

  • Have a conversation about how any new credit card will fit into your current credit use. Unexpected surprises can compromise your family’s financial health and possibly your ability to obtain future credit.
  • Develop short-term and long-term goals. It’s ok to have individual goals, but you should have family goals, too.
  • Construct a new joint budget that includes savings. Emergency situations drop into your life at the most inopportune times. Without a rainy day fund, the financial hole becomes even deeper.
  • Decide which person will be responsible for paying the monthly bills. It is likely that one person will be a good fit for this task, while the other finds it burdensome.
  • Allow each person to have independence by setting aside money to be spent at his or her discretion.



Apprisen, a national nonprofit credit counseling agency, has been helping consumers manage their finances and get out of debt for over 55 years. Certified counselors provide money management and debt counseling, HUD-approved housing counseling, and financial education. Services are provided in 10 states through local offices and nationally by phone or via the Internet. The oldest nonprofit credit counseling organization in the country, Apprisen was formerly known in its local communities as Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). Accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), CCCS is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and AICCCA. Information is available 24/7. Call 800-355-2227 or visit the website, You can "like us" on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at

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