My sister is a stay at home wife while her husband works. She has been interested in getting an Amex since she does quite a bit of traveling but when I informed her about FR's she is now stuck. They file joint taxes every year and the question came up. I told her about the Card ACT and that they will change the law for stay at home spouses but if she claims a certain amount of income and she got FRed would Amex be able to tell who actually brought in the majority of the income since they file joint tax returns or would they just see all of the income?
Is her husband a W2 employee? If so, I think it would be pretty easy to tell. Not so sure if they run their own business, as I have never completed business taxes so I don't know if there is an easy way to track it there as well.
But, she most likely will never get FR'd, so I wouldn't make this a big concern. Would probably be good to have another method of payment on her especially if outside the country, but other than that, I wouldn't worry about it. Even if she is FR'd, I don't know that they would close her accounts for claiming HHI. There is a lot of confusion on here about the CARD Act and HHI. As far as I am aware, it is a lender directed provision that states that if lenders ask for HHI, they have to take additional steps to verify ability to pay. If they just ask for income, they can base ability to repay solely on that number. I don't think it states that applicants cannot list HHI for income. And even if it did, I doubt Amex or any other lender expects people to be intimately familiar with the CARD Act. In the extremely unlikely event of an FR, I think it would be a reasonable explanation to state that you thought you could list HHI.
Starting Score: ~500 (12/01/2008) Current Score: EQ 681 (04/05/13); TU 98 728 (01/06/12), TU 08? 760 (provided by Barclay 1/2/14), TU 04 728 (lender pull 01/12/12); EX 742 (lender pull 01/12/12) Goal Score: 720