Photo: Flickr / x-ray delta one
Stay-at-home spouses are having a tough time applying for credit thanks to a quirky clause in Obama’s CARD Act, but they shouldn’t lose hope just yet. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is hard at work reviewing a Change.org petition against the law created by Holly McCall which she delivered to its doorstep on Tuesday.
The petition has 30,000-plus signatures and has even spawned others like it.
We tapped John Ulzheimer, president of SmartCredit.com, to find out how consumers can get around the problem in the meantime:
Include household income on your credit application. “What you put on the income section is up to you,” says Ulzheimer. “(Credit issuers) don’t ask for your tax return or W2 to verify income. I’d suggest putting the household income as your income because if you have access to it, you do have access to capital, and you’re using it. There aren’t credit card police going around to check that you’re working.”
Co-sign for the card with your spouse. Though this would make the card accessible to both of you, be forewarned: Co-signing is a huge liability for both parties. You’ll both be held liable if there’s a default or collection on the account, so make sure you’re on the same page financially. “Lenders love co-signers because they have two people to go after for payment,” says Ulzheimer, adding that “there’s no such thing as a benign co-signer.”
Ask your spouse to add you as an authorised user. “That’ll certainly get you on a card with no liability, and that’s a good thing,” says Ulzheimer.