Home > Credit Cards > CFPB: We’re Fixing the Credit Card ‘Stay-at-Home Parent’ Rule

Comments 0 Comments

Many consumer groups have spoken out against rule that was designed to prevent borrowers from obtaining credit cards they can’t afford, but has also stopped stay-at-home parents from getting any such account. Now, the federal consumer watchdog is moving to fix that issue.

One provision of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2007 that has drawn ire from consumer advocacy groups is the so-called “mom rule,” which prevents stay-at-home parents of both sexes from being able obtain a credit card because they have no income of their own. When the particular rules of that law went into effect, the Federal Reserve Board interpreted it as designed to prevent lenders from being able to consider household income as part of the application process.

[Free Resource: Check your credit score and report card for free before applying for a credit card]

Free Credit Check & MonitoringHowever, Richard Cordray, the director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, recently told the House Financial Services Committee that while this interpretation has caused problems for stay-at-home parents, it was merely an “unintended consequence” of the law. As such, his agency will soon try to enact new regulations to alter the current credit card rules so that household income can be included as part of the application process in certain cases. That change could come by the end of the year.

Experts have noted that stay-at-home parents being unable to obtain a credit card of their own can be particularly problematic if they had few lines of credit to themselves prior to entering their current partnership. This is because, after potentially years of not utilizing much in the way of credit in their own name, their credit standing may deteriorate. Further, if they were to enter into a co-signed account with their partner, but then were to split either through divorce or separation, it may be difficult for them to have the other party’s name removed from the account in many cases.

[Credit Cards: Research and compare credit cards at Credit.com]

That lack of recent borrowing activity and inability to extricate their former partner’s name from shared accounts, in turn, could cause problems when it comes to once again getting credit in their own name, which may be crucial to making ends meet if a stay-at-home parent’s separation were to happen in a relatively brief period of time. By fixing the rule, the CFPB might be able to help them better handle such an issue.

Image: Jeremiah Roth, via Flickr

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team