In 2009 the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act was passed, which in many cases ended up preventing stay at home spouses from applying for credit cards, as they had to list their individual income (as opposed to household income) on applications. Via The New York Times, this will be changing soon:
Stay-at-home spouses and partners may find it easier to get credit cards under a regulation revised by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The change, first proposed by the bureau last fall, lets spouses and unmarried partners who are 21 or older and don’t work outside the home, apply for credit based on shared income.
It’s worth noting that the regulations are more generous than before as they apply not just to those that are married, but also to unmarried partners. Credit card companies will have six months to comply with the new rules, so keep an eye on credit card applications as they should soon switch from asking for individual income to asking for household income.
(Tip of the hat to Gary)