Real Life

Credit card discrimination

Where do you stand when the bank rejects your credit card application on shaky grounds?

My husband and I have been gifted an all-expenses paid trip to Melbourne as a bonus from his employer, but have run into a problem. I applied for a credit card in case of an emergency while we’re away, but the credit card company has declined my application because I don’t have enough income. My husband earns a substantial income but, because of health issues, I do not work.

Still, I own 80% of the house we live in and we rent out his house. I have been with my bank for nine years and had a mortgage with them for seven, in which time I’ve never missed a payment or run into overdraft. My bank supports my application for a card. Is it legal to discriminate against married women supported by their husbands in this way?

I find it almost impossible to believe a credit card company won’t supply you with a card in the circumstances. After all, apart from the house you nearly fully own, after five years of marriage, your husband’s wealth is probably also yours.

I recommend you call them again and demand to speak to someone more senior. If you still have no luck, contact the Office of the Banking Ombudsman and ask if you can discuss the situation with one of their advisors. I have found them very approachable and useful, and they aren’t in the pockets of either the banking or credit card industries.

Do you have a consumer question for Kevin? Email [email protected], or post to Weekly Consumer, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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