But that said, it sure feels like 1950 all over again. But protest 2012-style means getting savvy about taking on the powers that be. There is much stay-at-home mothers can do to get the credit they deserve.Research, research, research A great source to use is www.nfcc.org (National Foundation for Credit Counseling). It offers some great tips on establishing credit. CreditCards.com also has a tool called CardMatch which matches your credit profile with credit card offers that you might have a higher probability of qualifying for, says Steve Repak, author of Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training For Your Money. Join forces Co-sign a loan, be it credit card or mortgage for example, with your income-earning partner. Joint loans build up the credit score of every person on the loan, says Anisha Sekar, vice president of credit and debt products at NerdWallet.com. You can also have your spouse include you as an authorized user on his existing card.
However, make sure the card is used prudently, and pay at least the monthly minimum on time every month, advises Andrew Schrage, of MoneyCrashers.com. Better still, if you can pay off balances in full each month. After 6-12 months of transaction history, check your credit score. If you can build your credit score to 720 or more, you've got a good chance of getting a secured card with a low limit. Once you do get approved for an unsecured card, set up a few of your utility bills on this card for auto-pay, such as your electricity. This will automatically establish more payment history with a few low dollar purchase items. Taking this track with your new low limit card won't encourage you to make indiscriminate purchases just for the sake of "establishing" credit, points out Bill Hazelton, founder of CreditCardAssist.com.
Find a credit unionThere are credit unions that specialize in offering loans to those with low or no credit. Some credit unions offer to evaluate applicants holistically, rather than relying on credit scores, explains Sekar. They may allow you to borrow in exchange for attending financial literacy programs or fulfilling other requirements. You can explore credit union options at www.findacreditunion.com. Go for secured credit cards Unlike prepaid cards, you will be given a credit line and payment activity is reported directly to major consumer reporting agencies. The real difference between secured and unsecured credit cards is secured cards require collateral, meaning the money you deposit in the bank will be used as collateral for your credit card purchases, says Howard Dvorkin, founder of ConsolidatedCredit.org. Know the laws If you live in a community property state, (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin), the stay-at-home spouse may legally claim her spouse's income as her own. "This should pretty much solve the problem for those living in those states," says Erik Larson, founder of NextAdvisor.com. McCall says it all in her petition, "It is 2012, and because I'm a stay at home mom, I can't get my own credit card. My husband has to give me permission to get my own line of credit. This is demeaning and flat out unfair. This is despite the fact that I make 95% of our household purchases, have an impeccable credit score and handle the majority of my family's finances. The CARD Act set the United States back almost half a century."