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Stay-at-home moms and credit cards

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If you don't earn a paycheck, the Federal Reserve doesn't think you should get a credit card.

Card issuers consider individual income, not household income, in qualifying customers for credit cards under the CARD Act. So what does this mean for stay-at-home moms? I'm Janet Stauble with your Personal Finance Minute.

Stay-at-home parents can still get a credit card if they apply with their spouse or if they're an authorized user. But it will be hard for housewives to get cards on their own.

Stay-at-home spouses can still build credit. You'll have a credit history as a joint account holder or authorized user on a credit card. You can also build credit if your name is on a mortgage, auto loan or student loan -- either individually or as a co-signer.

And stay-at-home spouses still have their own credit report. When you marry, credit histories don't merge.

Unless you live in a community property state, stay-at-home spouses are off the hook for debt obligation. Creditors see the person who signed up for the card as the one responsible for the debt.

Want to learn more? Log onto I'm Janet Stauble.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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