New rules governing how credit card companies screen applicants will make it difficult for stay-at-home moms or dads to get their own credit cards. While they previously accepted a combined household income on the application, they will now require individual income.
Under the changes, effective this month:
The Card Act now requires issuers to consider a consumer's ability to make payments before opening a new credit card account or increasing the credit limit on an existing one. Issuers must also consider the consumer's individual income or salary.
The Federal Reserve's web site says the changes were designed to keep consumers from incurring unreasonably high levels of credit card debt.
Some of the nation's largest consumer advocacy groups praised the Fed's move, saying card issuers have long used the household income measure to give credit to people who can't afford it.