Stay-At-Home Mom Fights New Credit Card Rule

Credit Card ActBy Blake Ellis

After nearly five years managing her family's finances, Holly McCall, a 34-year old stay-at-home mother of two from Vienna, Va., never thought she would have trouble getting a credit card.

She makes the majority of family purchases, has an excellent credit score and has been approved for several cards in the past. But when McCall applied for a Target (TGT) card last fall, she was denied.

She blames that denial on a recent Card Act rule.

The law was passed in 2009 to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive credit card practices. But some stay-at-home parents argue that a Card Act rule that took effect last October has made it harder for them to get approved for credit cards.
Aiming to protect consumers from racking up too much debt, the Federal Reserve now requires credit card issuers to consider individual income from applicants instead of household income.

As a result, stay-at-home parents who rely mainly on their spouse's income have a harder time getting approved for credit cards on their own.

"I think it's demeaning -- I don't want to ask my husband's permission for a credit card," McCall said. "Just because I don't get a direct paycheck for [my work], doesn't mean it's not worthwhile work that I'm doing."

Outraged by the new requirements, McCall created an online petition at a couple weeks ago and has already received more than 30,000 signatures -- many of which are from other stay-at-home mothers and fathers.
"I used to be CEO of a small software consulting business and am now staying at home to take care of a toddler and first grader. If you had to pay someone to do what I do now, it would cost you at least $120,000, which is a lot less than what I used to earn," one stay-at-home mom wrote on the online petition. "BTW, it's a 24x7, not a 40 hour per week job. Don't you think I should be allowed to get a credit card on my own?!"

On Tuesday, McCall said she and about half a dozen other petitioners delivered the signatures in thick binders to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C.

Some petitioners dressed up as housewives from the 1950s -- complete with A-line skirts, pearls and tightly pulled back hair -- since the rule "feels like a flashback to the 1950s because of the way women aren't empowered financially." One petitioner held a sign in the shape of a credit card with the word "DENIED" stamped on it in red.

McCall said she hopes the petition will push the CFPB to amend the Card Act rule in order to protect the rights of all stay-at-home parents -- both moms and dads alike.

"It's about fair and equal access to credit," said McCall.

The CFPB inherited the Card Act rules from the Federal Reserve last summer, when the bureau was launched.

The agency said it is looking into the issue.

"We recognize that stay-at-home spouses have significant financial responsibilities and play an important role in the U.S. economy," said CFPB spokeswoman Jen Howard.

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December 14 2012 at 7:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Face it: The U.S. has gone to hell in a handbasket; there is no turning back and there is no hope.

June 13 2012 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Moms are always right.

May 21 2012 at 8:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve Swindle

The services she provides to her husband and to her family are only uncompensated in the sense that there is not paycheck. The husband's income isn't being spent on day care for one thing. She likely has an allowance. Of course that's not income. And someone's got to pay the credit card bill. So for the bank to want to have her husband vouch for her is not entirely unreasonable.

Would she rather have to take an allowance as an income and pay income tax on it. Then she would have a legitimate, verifiable income and the bank could qualify her based on having an income. Of course not.

She doesn't have a job she lives a lifestyle that is uncommon yet is in many ways desirable. You'd think it minor inconvenience for having the ability to live that lifestyle.

May 21 2012 at 2:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Target doesnt want to give her a card, Target doesnt have to. Target is protecting themselves from something they see everyday. . people unable to pay their dues. Good enough reason for me. . IF she doesnt like it move to the next card company, dont take it personally. If you have other cards use those. Be thankful for what you have now. Complaining to the media about how disgusted by this comes across as greed speaking or emotional. You dont get hotels, cars or loans at Target. Try Walmart they can cover so much more than target, not to menti Have your husband provide you some sort of income, if its the both of yours anyhow I dont see an issue.on coffins(ya look that up online). Now how many credit cards/loans do you need? What is at Target that you wanted so badly to put it out to the pubic for discrimination?
Now the whos money. . Well if Im putting up with all the BS and long hours it will be my money. . Married or not. Was married to a stay at home husband who paid the bills, it was my money. Unforseen things happened like him getting a credit card and I was the one stuck paying it all when he decided to move on with his girlfriend. Ya, not so great. wont happen again either. My time, my money into my account. Years later and another relationship, we both have seperate accounts. I do my thing he does his. I cover all childcare, groceries, and everything a SAHM does, not to mention everything my military job throws in. My kids are great mannered.
No sense in attack other people. If you want to look at the bigger picture ask yourself, "what was their reason for turning you down?" Also ask why is there a law like this made? Do some research. Then help change the situation not add onto it.

May 21 2012 at 12:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wittyb's comment

oops. . uh walmart sells coffins. . noticed my bad post

May 21 2012 at 1:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"We're from the government and we're here to help you."

May 21 2012 at 12:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Stay at home parents can still get a credit card, they just cant get one behind their working spouses back. Sounds like this rule just prevents spouses from racking up secret debt, so whats wrong with that? Neither spouse should be taking out credit cards without the other knowing about it anyways, to do otherwise is very shady imo.

May 21 2012 at 12:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chronicbs's comment

Kindergarten stuff. We don't need government sticking their noses into the bedrooms and making rules for families. The gov already has a very bad track record already for turning marriages into economic arrangements.

June 13 2012 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Boohoo, moo. If you don't want to have to ask your husband, go back to work. If you *really* can't understand why someone who doesn't have an income shouldn't be able to rack up credit card debt that the working spouse is legally obligated to pay for without his permission, then I can't imagine how you ever had a good job at all because you're a moron. If your husband wasn't working and he got a credit card and bought luxury cars and all kinds of stuff and was putting you on the hook for it all because you're married and your debts are shared, you would be furious. And by the way, I'm a liberal.

May 20 2012 at 10:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Since she was once a CEO and is now a SAHM, that one would assume that her spouse makes a killing. Put a couple of the high earing investments and a bank account or two in her name only. Now you have investment income for the last year.

May 20 2012 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sf98pinto's comment

Right, and to that she could add half of her husband's income. I believe that may apply in community property states (or partnership income). Marriage is a de facto partnership.

May 21 2012 at 12:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Unknown Subject

"Fair and equal access to credit." If you can document income, you get credit. She can't document income. Her problem. A big problem for her, but not an unfair one..

May 20 2012 at 8:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply