Stay-at-Home Parents Win Financial Victory

stay at home mom credit cardStay-at-home parents won a victory over their own financial futures late last week when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) agreed to propose a new rule requiring credit card issuers to take household, rather than just individual, income into consideration on an application for credit.


The proposed rule will remedy an issue that arose last year when the Federal Reserve stipulated that credit card agencies could only consider individual income on an application. The Credit Accountability, Responsibility & Disclosure Act (CARD), which was intended to protect consumers, essentially barred non-working spouses–including stay-at-home parents–from gaining their own lines of credit.


The change comes after a grassroots initiative by stay-at-home mom Holly McCall who was declined for a credit card because her husband was the one earning the money in their household. The denial felt like an unwelcome throwback to another time in American history when in 1974 Bella Abzug, women’s rights activist and congresswoman, realized she was not able to gain her own line of credit without her husband’s permission. Azburg fought to change that restriction and won, but the enactment of CARD in 2011 created a new financial wall for parents who choose to stay home with their children.


McCall filed an online petition that received tens of thousands of signatures and teamed up with mothers’ rights group MomsRising, prompting the CFPB to take action.


“I am an American and I’m a stay-at-home mom. There are millions of parents out there, just like me, who should be given the right to their own credit, but we need the CFPB to make this service work for us,” Holly writes in her call to action on


Thanks to her hard work she should now have that right come November.


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Melanie Mayo-Laakso is the Content Manager for Mothering is the birthplace of natural family living and attachment parenting. We celebrate the experience of parenthood as worthy of one’s best efforts and are at once fierce advocates for children and gentle supporters of parents.


11 thoughts on “Stay-at-Home Parents Win Financial Victory”

  1. This is wonderful – a friend of ours just lost the right to have her name on their mortgage because she has been a SAHM for 6 years & hasn’t been able to “have” her own credit. So now, only her husband owns their house and cars. Just not right – glad the laws are going to address it.

  2. Thanks for reporting on this – and thank you Holly! I hope the next step (Congressional approval of the rule proposed by CFPB) goes smoothly.

  3. So sad. These people won the right to rack up even more debt than they otherwise would have been able to. So much better to live within your means and pay cash for what you need. I rue the day I got my first credit card and wish that I had been a Dave Ramsey follower back then. I could’ve saved myself a lot of trouble by avoiding credit and debt in the first place.

  4. Just because her name isn’t on the loans doesn’t mean it can’t be on the title or deed. The title gives ownership, not the loan. If someone told her she doesn’t ‘own’ those items, I would question their motives.

  5. Not only is this a win for stay home parents and their right to fair access to credit, but also a testament to the fact that anyone can take action when they see something they feel is wrong. I hope this inspires others to stand up for causes they feel strongly about too because change is possible!

  6. Let’s remember that not all stay-at-home parents are moms. My husband, along with many other men represent a growing number of dads who stay home full-time. This financial issue is important for any parent who devotes stay-at-home time to their children, and does not have an income. Since co-parenting this way, I’ve been surprised at how many groups, blogs, etc. always mention “moms” or “mommy and me” time, etc. but make no mention of dads who stay at home full-time. Research has shown that stay-at-home parents work about a 60 hour week – I am glad this issue is being addressed from a financial viewpoint – SAHPs need our support!

  7. I am a stay at home mom, and I have my own personal CC, as does my husband. We also each have a “personal” checking account, linked to all our joint accounts. This allows us each for our own spending money, and for being able to get gifts for each other without the other seeing where we have shopped. Its rare we use the CCs, or even our “personal accounts” but it is nice, If say, you want to go out w/ the girls for the night, and not worry about moving money around. We can both access each others accounts, but will be sure to tell the other not to, if a birthday or holiday is coming up. Of course, we always agree on a spending limit too. I feel like it you are the other adult caring for the children and running the household, you should be seen as a shareholder of the income the one at work brings in. Besides, sometimes you see a deal on something you may need (which was the case with our new couch, a steal at an clearance center) and just because you do not have the cash and your husband (or wife, for you stay at home dads) is at work and cannot sign for the credit, is no reason you are not “good for the credit”

  8. I agree with you, Jamie, but not everyone knows how to live within their means. We should try to educate people, not judge them for their mistakes.

  9. Not everyone who has access to credit racks up debt! I have been using credit cards responsibly since I got my first one in college.

    Having a credit card means being able to book airline, train or bus tickets, rental cars and hotel rooms when traveling alone or with my family; to order items online, including birthday and Christmas gifts for my husband without spoiling surprises; to pay for gas at the pump without leaving my child in his car seat or having to bring him into a convenience store; and other spending that is within my budget. I never spend more than I can pay for when the bill comes. I do choose to use cash most of the time (most of my spending is on groceries), but I still want to be ABLE to use credit.

    I am sorry you got in over your head, but that speaks to a need for a home economics (I guess now they’d call it consumer science or microeconomics) education, rather than denying access to credit.

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