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Why Stay At Home Moms (and Dads) May Not Be Eligible for Credit Cards Anymore

by on May 25, 2011

Hmmm...those new Fed regulations really will set women back 50 years.

We get it, Fed. You’re taking heat from all sides over this whole financial crisis thing and what many see as your lax oversight of consumer credit regulations. But did you have to go and take it out on all the stay at home moms and dads of the world?

Sure, the new rules you proposed were meant to keep people without individual income or adequate personal savings (like college kids or the unemployed) from getting their hands on a credit card. But what you failed to realize is that homemakers, Mr. Moms, and even retirees all fall into that category, too.

Which means that even the loaded ladies on the Real Housewives of Wherever technically wouldn’t be able to sign up for a Barney’s card without a husband there as a co-signature, all because household income or assets will no longer factor into the equation if someone needs credit.

That also means a woman considering divorce will find it harder to untangle her credit card accounts from her spouse’s and establish credit on her own. Or a stay at home mom stuck in an abusive relationship will find it even more daunting to leave and start a new life.

It’s those unintended consequences that have US Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) putting up a fight, writing to the Fed that,

“While stay-at-home moms may not be contributing to the market economy as workers, they make the majority of the day-to-day financial decisions on behalf of their household. Women’s consumer power represents 73 percent of household spending, or over $4 trillion in annual discretionary spending.”

Statistics like that are making chain retailers like Dress Barn and Sears join the fray, arguing that the regulations will unfairly hinder their mostly female customer base and cause a steep drop in the use of private-label store cards.

The Wall Street Journal reports that even Home Depot is upset, claiming that male and female consumers will be unable to access the credit they might need for emergency repairs or natural disaster relief.

Get it while you can ladies!

That might be a stretch, but there’s little doubt that the financial security of unemployed spouses could be at risk. If you’re worried about how the unintended consequences of the Fed’s latest credit clamp-down could affect you, there are a few steps you can take.

Divorce financial strategist and blogger Jeffrey A. Landers advises stay at home moms/dads to:

  • Create a solid credit history as an authorized user on a shared credit card
  • Build a credit history by putting utilities and other accounts in your name and paying the bills on time
  • Use a secured credit card that’s linked to a savings account

Speaking of savings accounts, go ahead and open a personal one just in your name and start stashing cash, just in case. And if you’re really worried, try to open a credit card now—the regulations haven’t gone into effect just yet.

Image Credits:Örey
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