Credit Card Updates – Household Income for Stay-at-Home Partners & More

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1.   Household Income for Stay-at-Home Partners.   One of the unintended consequences of the CARD act was that it became harder for stay-at-home partners to apply for credit cards and claim their partner’s income as “Household Income” on credit card applications.

But there was a workaround.  Folks living in a community property state, where each spouse is assumed to have a half share of the debt and income acquired during marriage, could include household income on the card application.

And some banks let you include income from other sources (a spouse etc.) in the “other” field provided that income can be used to pay back credit card debt incurred.

But it is nice to know that stay-at-home partners (unmarried and married) will soon be able to include household income on credit card applications.  View From the Wing links to a New York Times article which explains that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has made it easier for spouses OR unmarried partners above 21 years who don’t work outside the home to apply for credit cards.

Credit card companies have 6 months to implement this, but I suspect it will be implemented much sooner because banks are eager to approve more folks for credit cards.

 2.   American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum.   Scott from MileValue emailed me that the minimum spending on the Mercedes-Benz Platinum has increased from $1,000 within 3 months to $3,000 within 3 months.

The sign-up bonus is still 50,000 points and is a better choice than the regular Platinum card which earns only 25,000 points (but which pays me a commission).  The card has a hefty $475 annual fee, but also gets you lounge access to US Air, American Airlines and Delta lounges in addition to reimbursing you the $100 fee for Global Entry and $200 per calendar year in airline fees (which some use to buy airline gift cards directly from the airlines).

3.   Southwest 50,000 Points Targeted Offers.   The Southwest 50,000 point offer after spending $2,000 within 3 months is available to some via targeted emails, but there isn’t a public link which I know about.

But targeted emails with the 50,000 point offer usually mean that it is only a matter of time before the public 25,000 point offer becomes a public 50,000 point version!

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5 responses to “Credit Card Updates – Household Income for Stay-at-Home Partners & More

  1. This is an interesting post,one I was discussing with my sister this week,as she had been denied a cc based one her p/t income alone… This is the reverse of my experience, we don’t live in one of those states,I have been at home for 20 years with the kids,and cc companies seem to LOVE me…..technically my income is $0 yearly,yet I have no problem getting credit cards. ( I also have a good credit history,but still) thanks for the info,love the blog posts!

    • @JM – Thanks for reading!

      @James K. – It depends on what the application field says. Some banks just say “income” and some specify your income. You can sometimes include her income in the “other” field if you can use it to pay back the credit card debt as well.

  2. Wait so when I apply for a credit card, I can list the household income (which is twice as much because my wife and I have the same job) rather than just my own? Have I been a sucker for the last year or so?

  3. @James K

    Which agency do both of you work for?

  4. Daraius, two quick questions about the Mercedes Amex:

    1. Are you sure that this version of the care offers the $200 airline statement credit? I know the personal and business ones do as it is clearly stated in their T&Cs but I looked at the T&Cs for the Benz card and couldn’t find this provision (instead it seems to be replaced with some sort of companion ticket offer). Could you please confirm.

    2. If I have had a Personal Platinum card in the past 90 days am I eligible to apply for the Benz or the Business Platinum card or can I only apply for the Gold version?

    Thanks for your help!