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  • Will Stay-at-Home Moms Be Allowed Credit Cards Again?

    Much has been discussed on the “war on women” this presidential debate season, and yet we haven’t heard much about those rules made in Washington that actually hurt women in very real ways.

    One such rule denied stay-at-home moms access to their own credit cards. A proposed amendment finally seeks to correct this injustice.

    In a perfect example of unintended consequences, “consumer protections” required by Congress in 2009 to reduce defaults instead ended up denying access to credit cards to stay-at-home moms and others lacking personal income. Never mind that Washington has no business whatsoever dictating how credit card companies manage their own credit risks.

    As Heritage’s Diane Katz reported:

    In its ceaseless quest to protect us from ourselves, Congress in 2009 compelled credit card companies to confirm an applicant’s “ability to pay” before approving an account.… [T]he law is widely interpreted as prohibiting millions of stay-at-home moms (and a few dads) from obtaining credit cards of their own altogether—just like the 1950s.

    Outraged moms and dads engaged in citizen petitions, and organizations like the Independent Women’s Forum cried foul, saying that stay-at-home moms were the ones paying the price for the government’s misguided attempt to “clamp down on Wall Street fat cats.”

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finally issued a proposed amendment this Wednesday to correct the error. A Los Angeles Times headline proclaims in response: “Proposed rule would help stay-at-home moms get credit cards.” That’s a rather misleading way of describing a correction to a rash rule that led to stay-at-home moms and other partners being denied credit cards in the first place.

    The rule in question is the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD). The agency is proposing to amend the requirement that card issuers “consider the consumer’s independent ability to pay, regardless of the consumer’s age” to apply only for those under the age of 21. The agency would also graciously “permit issuers to consider income to which such consumers have a reasonable expectation of access,” meaning a stay-at-home parent could apply for a credit card using the working spouse’s paycheck to verify ability to pay. Oh, how generous!

    What about those stay-at-home moms under 21, you might ask? I happened to get married at the lovely age of 20, and although I wasn’t a stay-at-home mom, I didn’t work, either. Thankfully for me, the CFPB did not exist then to protect me from myself. But for today’s young brides: Sorry, no credit card for you.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

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