WASHINGTON — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Monday finalized its rule to help stay-at-home partners get a credit card.

The regulation, first announced in October, allows credit card issuers to look at the income of the working spouse as shared with the unemployed partner at home who is applying for a credit card or amount increase. The agency noted Census data suggests more than 16 million married people stay at home, equating to one out of every three married couples who could find access to credit difficult under current rules.

"Stay-at-home spouses or partners who have access to resources that allow them to make payments on a credit card can now get their own cards," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray, in the release. "Today's final rule is an example of the bureau's commitment to working with consumers and financial institutions in order to ensure responsible access to credit for American families."

The rule expands current card regulations that say an issuer may only consider the applicant's independent income or assets. The bureau's revised rule allows card issuers to consider third-party income if the applicant is 21 or older and "has a reasonable expectation of access" to the income.

Card issuers have six months to comply.

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