Housewife using her new credit card to buy tea

Can a housewife apply for a credit card?

Every adult needs a credit card. Whether you hold down one job (or three!) or you’re a housewife, you should always have at least one credit card. Credit cards should never be treated as free money though, but often housewives seem to think they can’t get a credit card because they’re not working at an official place of business and receiving pay.

Housewives work extremely hard though, and if it weren’t for their efforts, the kids would be in daycare or with a nanny and nothing around the house would get done. Whether you’re a husband wondering if your wife can get her own credit card, or you’re a housewife yourself, you can take comfort in knowing that yes, a housewife can apply for credit cards.

However, there is something important you should know. There are many different credit cards out there and not every credit card option will be right for a housewife. It’s important to choose carefully to find one that fits the needs of a housewife. While it’s certainly nice to have so many options to choose from, focusing on the ones offered by reputed banks will be best. Then you’ll need to figure out what is best for your situation.

Remember, a credit card isn’t free money that you can use to go out and buy everything you ever dreamed of. So many people get in over their heads when they get their first credit card, not realizing how quickly seemingly small expenses can add up. When that bill comes, it can be a bitter pill to swallow.

If you keep in mind your actual budget though and use your credit card responsibly, by only buying things you can afford, keeping your credit utilization under 30% and paying it off as soon as it hits that threshold, it can help you establish your own credit. Plus, if there’s an emergency, you can easily cover it with your credit card as long as the amount is less than 30% of your line of credit and pay it off afterward.

So now, the next thing to do is keep reading to find out how a housewife can apply for a credit card and learn everything there is to know about choosing the best credit card option for you!

Having a job is not a credit card requirement

While I personally happen to think that being a housewife IS a full-time job, it’s not one that receives pay. I’ve researched all of these points I’m about to lay out here, so you’ll know exactly what to expect and how to apply for your credit card as a housewife.

On most credit card applications, you’ll see generic information requested about employment and income. Some of them will ask if you’re a student, homemaker, self-employed, work for the government, or unemployed. You may see an application that asks for the name of your employer, but they usually allow you to put “None” in that slot. There are even some credit card applications you may come across that don’t ask for information about your employer.

If you are filling out a credit card application and it requests information about your employer though, you are required by law to answer the questions it asks truthfully. In this day and age, it’s very easy for them to verify what you put, and while some types of credit cards may decline you, there are many that will approve your application. You don’t want to be dishonest and have that work against you in the future for obtaining a credit card in your name.

For all credit card applications, total annual income is requested. In this area, you can tally up other income to be considered. For a housewife, this could be her husband’s income, or any alimony or child support from a previous marriage. This is what the credit card company will consider for repaying the balance on your credit card.

For those over the age of 21, you can legally use the income from someone else like your spouse to list in this area as long as you have access to the money they make to pay your bills. So the credit card could be linked to your joint bank account or to an account that money is transferred in for you to pay the bills. If this is the case, a housewife should have no trouble getting a credit card in her name to use for daily expenses or to keep handy for emergencies.

That’s great news for any women that stay at home with the kids all day and need a credit card. You’ll want to build up your own credit by paying it on time each month which can help your husband too if you venture into a joint purchase together (like for a new investment property for example).

So how can you apply for that credit card as a housewife? Keep reading and you’ll know how to fill out your applications just right!

How can a housewife apply for a credit card?

The funny thing about credit is that having no credit is often seen as worse than having bad credit. So, for some housewives, it might not be as simple as filling out an application and getting approval. If you never held a job of your own before, you’ll have to consider other options for obtaining a credit card in your name.

I’ve detailed below the different ways a housewife can apply for a credit card.

– Become an authorized user

One way to go about this is to become an authorized user. You’ll get a credit card with your name on it, just like the primary account holder (the husband or wife for example). All the purchases you make go onto the same credit account and appear on the same credit card statement each month. The line of credit is shared between the authorized user and the primary account holder.

The difference here is that a joint account holder, unlike an authorized user isn’t required to pass a credit check in order to be put on the account. Read all the fine print though because your credit card company may impose a fee for adding an authorized user. Others, like many reward credit cards, may offer a bonus upon adding an authorized user to the account.

If this sounds like an option you and your spouse want to explore, the primary account holder has to contact the credit card company to do it. These days, you don’t have to sit on the phone and wait until someone can help you (unless you want to). You can do it online. You’ll need important information about the authorized user handy like their full name, date of birth, address, and SSN to finalize this request and make it official.

You could add children in this way too as a way to protect in the event of an emergency, like a broke-down car on the side of the road for example. However, be advised that the primary account holder is held responsible for all charges made on the card. The credit card company may also limit the maximum number of authorized users allowed on the account. That’s a good thing too. You don’t want to add all your teenage kids to the account and find that they took it as an opportunity to buy more shoes they didn’t need.

The primary account holder should also be fully aware that the authorized user gets all the privileges of using the card but isn’t legally bound to purchases made with the card. Make sure your marriage is in good standing, for if a lawsuit arises with debts on the account, the authorized user won’t be named even if he or she was the one that made the purchases in question.

While that is one downside, the upside is that authorized users can’t conduct any account maintenance like changing the address on the credit card account or adding more users. They can’t ask to increase the credit limit or lower the interest rate either. They can, however, make a payment to cover the credit card bill, do note, however, that this is not mandatory.

This is just one way a housewife can apply for a credit card. If you’re worried about being in your husband’s shadow or as a husband, you worry about spending habits, you can always opt for a secured credit card. Keep reading to learn about that!

– Get a secured credit card

When you fill out your credit card application with the household income and any other forms of legitimate income that don’t come from employment (as mentioned above), a housewife should easily be able to qualify if she has good credit. But if you’re a housewife that never held a paying job before, this is considered as ‘no credit’ which as I said before is regarded as worse than bad credit.

If that’s the case, you may be turned down, but don’t worry because I’ve got good news for you. You can apply for a secured credit card.

Put simply, a secured credit card requires you to pay a deposit first (it’s completely refundable if you abide by the requirements) to get a line of credit. That line of credit will be equal to the amount you pay on the refundable deposit. So, for example, if you give a deposit of $500, your credit line with only be $500. If you pay $1,000, it will be $1,000, and so on.

This gives you an advantage since it allows you to use it just like any other credit card out there. You can use it to rent a car or reserve a hotel room, things that are very difficult to do without a credit card. This can be helpful when planning the family vacation or if your husband is going to be on a business trip, for you to make plans to visit your relatives without having to rely on your husband to help you. Secured credit cards can even offer auto rental insurance to help keep you covered. Car rental agencies notoriously charge exorbitant fees for their coverage.

With a secured credit card, the holder of this card must make the minimum monthly payments on time or charges will be incurred. This is why it’s so important to only get a secured credit card in an amount you can afford and not spend more than 30you’re your line of credit at any given time, then pay it off in full immediately and you’ll have your full line of credit again, while building credit yourself. When you pay it on time every month for anywhere from 9 months to a year (depending on the credit card company), you’ll receive your deposit back and then be issued an unsecured credit card.

It also helps to know that your credit standing on the secured card will be reported to the 3 major credit bureaus so if you play your cards right (pardon the pun!), you can rebuild credit this way.

If you get a secured credit card, you will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act, which is what applies to every standard credit card out there. Secured credit cards might have higher interest rates and annual fees though, but as I said, if you take it easy during this period and pay on time, you can build up credit and get that deposit back, plus, you shouldn’t worry about interest rates since you’ll only be paying for what you can afford in cash and pay it off immediately just to churn (take advantage of) the credit card rewards or to build your credit.

A housewife can become a joint account holder

There’s another option for housewives too. Becoming a joint account holder could be the solution you need. This might sound similar to the authorized user, but it’s different.

With a joint account, that means both husband and wife can make charges to the credit card. The history of the card is on each of your credit reports. A joint account means you are both liable for the payments to be made on this card. Should those payments become delinquent, then the credit card company can go after both of you.

There are definitely some situations where a joint account would be most beneficial, not just for the housewife but for the spouse too. If you keep reading, I’m going to tell you about the benefits so you can decide if this fits your situation best.

Why a housewife would want to become a joint account holder

While the risks are greater, there are some reasons that becoming a joint account holder for the housewife would be best. Read on!

– Sharing a bill as a joint account holder is convenient

When spouses share certain payments, it’s just easier. It means you have one less bill to remember to pay at the end of the month. Some people even set an auto-pay for certain bills (like to the electric company so they don’t forget) and this can make life easier for husband and wife when it all comes out of the same place. This way, neither of you forgets to pay for what you must pay.

– Housewives can get better credit this way

Whether you got duped into a high-interest credit card in college and learned about credit the hard way or you’ve never had credit before, getting a joint credit card can help earn better credit for a housewife. For this method to be effective though, you must pay the bill on time and keep the balance low.

– Better credit card or interest rate

When you add a joint user to the card, it might be the only way a housewife can get the credit card she needs. It can also secure her a low interest rate which is great if she’s trying to build her credit back up after making a mistake or simply to apply for a better interest rate on a mortgage.

We’ve all made mistakes before, but credit card mistakes are certainly the most costly. Still, punishing yourself forever isn’t the answer. To fix your credit and get a credit card as a housewife, it really makes a lot of sense to go for a joint credit card, but there are some reasons why you should mull that over first. I detail those below so dig in!

What you should consider before getting a joint credit card

While I think a joint credit card is great for a housewife, there are definitely some things to think about that might make you decide against it. So here’s what I have to say about that.

– You’re both legally responsible for those payments

Hopefully all is well in your marriage. But if it isn’t, you should know that the credit card company can take legal action for those charges that you haven’t paid. Think about getting sued or having your wages garnished. Yikes!

– Disagreements on the credit card could cause a rift

Money is one of the biggest things that ever comes between people, especially in a marriage. It’s easy to see why sharing an account might lead to arguments, and you might find you argue less if you don’t share an account. If you can’t spend responsibly or if you’re the one yelling at your spouse for buying something deemed necessary, perhaps sharing an account isn’t a good idea but that’s probably the least of your problems since you shouldn’t yell at your significant other in the first place.

– Ended relationships make it hard to deal with the card

What if you get a divorce? Well, with a joint credit card, you’re both still on the hook for the original credit card agreement. That means if your ex isn’t paying their share of the credit card charges, your credit suffers. While a joint account is less risky between married people, it’s much riskier when you are merely dating the person or go in a joint account with a family member or friend.

– It could be used to hurt one another

Not everyone is vindictive, but there are spouses who will use the card against the other after a vicious breakup. One could go spending and leave the other card holder to foot the bill. Someone with bad credit really has nothing to lose by maxing out a credit card, especially if they skip town.

While that’s a bit extreme, it’s always wise to know just what you’re getting into, both in marriage and in credit. Assuming we’re all responsible adults here, let’s carry on to find out what a housewife should list on the credit card applications to start the process for obtaining a credit card in her own name.

What should a housewife put on her credit card applications?

For one, you could put that you have the income of a working spouse on there. But the thing about that is the banks enacted the CARD Act of 2009 which took effect in 2010. So now banks were required to evaluate applicants based on their own individual ability to pay the fees they incurred.

Unfortunately, it resulted in hindering stay-at-home moms, housewives, and others with unusual financial situations being left in the dark in the credit market. Applications began requesting individual income so that begged the question: Do housewives list $0 as their income? Honestly, if housewives were paid for the work they did, it would be a 6-figure salary.

Some went around this by putting household income and told the truth when asked, but thankfully, they resolved the problem in April 2013 by amending the CARD act. This now allows that credit card issuers must consider income of a housewife that is aged 21 or older that is shared with a spouse during the application evaluation.

In other words, that means that most housewives shouldn’t encounter a problem because they chose to (or need to) stay at home with the kids and take care of the house. Most credit card companies are aware that an income is coming from the spouse and will evaluate your situation based on that information.


A housewife can apply for a credit card and now has many options to look to. This is great way to build credit from nothing or rebuild bad credit made from mistakes in the past.

A credit card is something every housewife should have, for there are often purchases that must be made for the home where a credit card would come in handy. It’s also essential for anyone to have in case of an emergency.

With any credit card though, knowing your limits and that it’s not like being given free money will help you to spend appropriately on it so you won’t wind up in debt.


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