Clark Howard

Am I Required To Comply When My Credit Card Asks For Updated Income Information?

Most of us have seen it at some point. You log into your credit card account and BAM! Staring you in the face is a popup box asking you to update your income and housing costs.

It can catch you off guard and leave you wondering whether you should, or even have to, fill out that info.

Let’s explore those questions.

Do I Have To Update My Income and Housing Costs With My Credit Card Company?

Do I have to answer when my credit card company asks for updated income and housing costs?

That’s what a Clark Howard podcast listener recently asked.

Asked Todd in Washington: "I have seen something on credit card websites that seems new to me. I have an Alaska Airlines Visa card and a Macy's card and both are managed by Citibank. When log onto the site, I'm taken directly to a screen that says, 'Update your income information so we can consider you for a future credit line increase or other offers you may find valuable.'

"There's a form that asks for total annual net income, residential status, and monthly housing payment. Is this information required? I really don't want to share this info with Citibank! I assume it's optional, but they make it very inconvenient to close this screen if you don't fill it out. What's going on here, and would Clark provide this information?"

It’s an easy question to answer. You don’t have to fill out the information your credit card is asking you to update. But you won’t find that answer on the credit card website, which can be confusing.

However, if you don’t fill out the information, you may have to deal with your company displaying that popup box over and over.

Now, as to whether you should update your income with your credit card company? That depends. Credit card companies are worried that people's income is changing drastically. If your income is the same or better, update your credit card issuer.

“Because then you’re not going to have to worry that they’re going to say, ‘Well, what we don’t know about this person might hurt us, so maybe we’re going to cut their credit limit or cut off their card or whatever.’

“[Instead, they may say,] ‘We really like what they told us. So let’s give you, if you want it, more available credit.’ Which helps improve your credit score.”

Expect Credit Card Issuers To Ask About Your Income More Often

Checking on your income and monthly rent or mortgage used to be a sporadic practice. It’s becoming much more commonplace, Clark says.

“This income thing, all the big issuers are doing it,” Clark says. “Because when they check your credit score every month. But credit scores don’t take into account income. So they’re all trying to get you to say what your income is.

“So it’s a standard operating thing you’re going to see from – it’s not quite universal yet but it’s going to become very common when you sign into a credit card portal.”

For some credit card issuers, the popup can be annoying as you’re trying to navigate the website. And it can also make you feel pressure.

Clark feels a similar vibe when he logs into Citibank since he’s not a paperless billing customer.

“They put this thing up trying to [get me to] go paperless every single time I sign in. And you’re looking around trying to figure out how to get out of it,” Clark says.

“It’s like you were put in a straight jacket. ‘OK. So we’ve got 30 seconds to get out of this straight jacket. Let’s see you do it.’ It’s really funny how they do that.”

Worried About Getting Fired By Your Credit Card Company? Follow This Rule To Be Safe

Clark also mentioned his “Noah’s Ark” credit card rule to Todd.

He wants everyone to have at least two credit cards from two different issuers. That way, whether you're updating your income with your issuer or not, you're not left in the lurch at any point.

“You said something that has me worried. You said you have two Citibank cards. Make sure you have credit cards from more than one issuer,” Clark says.

“Because if Citibank ever decides they hate you and they close both those cards on the same day and you have no other cards anywhere else, you’re suddenly without credit all at once.”

Final Thoughts

You aren’t required to update your income with your credit card issuer. But if your income has stayed the same or improved, it’s not going to hurt you. It may help you.

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