The Business Card Denial: Lessons Learned for Non Income Earning Spouses

One of the most under-utilized tactics for fast tracking mileage earning is applying for business credit cards.

The best current example is the Chase Ink Bold credit card that gives 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points for signing up and spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.

Most folks don’t actually realize that they have a business, but with a little searching, you’d be surprise to find that many of you actually have a sole-proprietorship business.

However, I’m going to offer a big public caveat that these methods may not work very well with Chase.

Before we get too far into this discussion, you should know that back in October, 2011 a federal rule said to credit card companies that household income was no longer going to be considered on credit card applications. Instead, it was an individual’s income.

However, I’ve not noticed a change on credit card applications … till today.

The Ink Bold Experience

This is going to sound silly to many of you, but for Christmas my wife gave me permission to sign up for credit cards in her name as long as I’d manage everything. I tell her who to call and when to call, and she gladly does it.

So *my wife* signed up for the Chase Ink Bold.

Not surprisingly, she was denied. I wasn’t surprised because she has been approved for 4 Chase cards in a 12 month period. We weren’t worried because the folks at the Chase Reconsideration Department have always been good about working towards an approval.

Not in this case.

The agent on the phone was very specific about the nature of the business and the income it earns.

Her business only had minimal profits.

They asked about her ‘full time job’ income. She inquired to see if they were asking about the household income, and they clearly indicated that iit had to be her own income. The agent mentioned something about the new law passed last year.

There we had it. There was nothing she was going to be able to do because, as a stay-at-home mom, she has a very low income.

She was denied.

Mommy Points explained that she had similar issues with the Ink Bold. In her case, she had other income to back up the application.  The comments on this post by the Points Guy seems to indicate that there is indeed a pattern.

Previously, we’ve not had any issues getting Citi or American Express business cards, but we’ve not tried since the new law.

Anyway, I just wanted to let all the non-working folks out there know that applying for a Chase Business card might now officially be out of your reach.

I can see why banks are doing this because of the extra liability they assume by extending business credit.


  1. Anna says

    I was also denied and when I called to inquire about it was given the same reason. Not only
    that but the person on the line that I spoke with re-checked my credit without my asking her
    too and I only knew about it because I received a letter in the mail notifying me that I was
    denied again!!!!!!!! No matter that I have thousands of dollars in the bank and plenty of household
    income and have paid my credit cards off monthly for over 20 years. I think other things should
    be taken into consideration and feel it is very discriminatory against stay-at-home spouses,or
    in my case, spouses who do volunteer work in their community freeing up jobs for people who
    really need them to support their families.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *