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What are our best options for credit? Husband, who already has a current card, applying for another? Wife without a card applying for one? Or a joint card?

By , CardRatings contributor
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Q: What are our best options for credit? Husband, who already has a current card, applying for another? Wife without a card applying for one? Or a joint card?

A: I'm not sure who is writing me, husband or wife, so I'll just answer as if you were both sitting across from me.

I also don't have all the facts of your situation, so I'll make a basic assumption that you're a traditional couple in which you both work, but the husband gets a paycheck and the wife does not.

Who holds the paying job will matter significantly after Oct. 1, when the Credit CARD Act will require consumers to provide individual income, instead of household income, on new credit card applications. If you are trying to build up credit for the non-working spouse, now would be an excellent time to do so.

Assuming your finances are in good shape and you are both responsible credit users, I think your best option is to try to bring the wife aboard in some way, so you both are building a credit history. It's certainly in the wife's advantage to establish credit in her own name, as you never know what the future will bring.

I don't know whether you two are big spenders or big misers, and how much debt is on the husband's credit card. If you're paying a high interest rate on existing debt, you might consider transferring the balance to the new card and paying the debt down.

If you have low debt, a good credit history and a good income, it's just a question of which card fits your particular spending patterns. If you're needing a second card to build a credit history, your best bet, especially if you're on a single income, is probably to choose a low introductory interest rate offer such as the ones above and get in the habit of paying off the balance every month before the regular APR kicks in.

 

 

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