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Consider a person with no income for the first 6 months of this year (from January to June), who gets a job offer for $AAA per year and applies for a credit card in July:

The credit card application asks for annual income. Is this the amount expected this calendar year ($AAA / 2) or the nominal salary $AAA?

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    "annual income" = Starting today, in the next 12 months how much do you expect to earn? – MonkeyZeus Jun 7 at 12:44
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    If you were in a scenario in conversation where someone said "Well as someone making $AAA a year, you can finally afford that foo you always wanted!" You wouldn't correct them by saying "Actually, $AAA / 2 this year..." – corsiKa Jun 7 at 22:48
  • You need to ask each of your credit providers what they specifically mean. Most people's annual income might well be no more than the salary from their main employment… and do you not know people who have investments beyond that, including stocks, shares and rental properties, let alone second jobs? – Robbie Goodwin Jun 12 at 23:07
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You should enter your current salary as an annual amount. In your example, that would be $AAA.

The credit card company does not care about your past income; they only care about your current and future income. They ask you to express it an an annual amount to avoid confusion, but it really has nothing to do with the past or the current calendar year. They just want to know what you are currently bringing in.

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    Thanks, Ben Miller. That sounds right to me too. :-) – Job_September_2020 Jun 6 at 20:04
  • Probably that depends on region. Where I live they always ask you for past 6/12 months declared income. – akostadinov Jun 8 at 12:06
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Ben Miller's answer is certainly accurate, but there's another angle that you should be made aware of.

Under the 2013 amendment (PDF) of the federal regulations regarding the Credit Card Act of 2009, persons 21 and older may report their total household income as their own personal annual income on a credit card application, provided that they have a reasonable expectation of access to household funds.

In other words, you may combine the annual income of yourself and your spouse / partner / significant other with whom you share a household if you typically share household expenses and expect that the other person would help pay your debts if you were unable to pay on your own. In fact, you may both use the combined total on all of your credit card apps. You don't need to disclose the fact that you are reporting total household income -- this is your right under federal regulations. Note that a credit card application may explicitly tell you not to include income of another member of your household as income -- this is allowed by regulation -- and in that case you would only list your own income . . . or pick a different credit card to do business with!

The rationale behind this amendment is that it affords equal credit treatment to both parties when one works outside the home and one is primarily a stay-at-home parent.

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    Does that "household income" include your parents' income, if you're one of those "failure to launch" types still living in their basement? – jamesqf Jun 7 at 17:30
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    @jamesqf - I don't know the legal answer (I feel like it should be "no"), but if your parents would pay your bill if you can't, then I'd say, conceptually, yes. – TTT Jun 7 at 17:42
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    Page 24 of that PDF appears to contradict your answer: "In other words, a card issuer may consider income and assets to which an applicant has a reasonable expectation of access, but is not required to do so. A card issuer has the option of limiting its consideration of an applicant’s income and assets to his or her independent income and assets." So if the issuer specifically asks for your individual income, it appears that you're supposed to provide your individual income. – Kevin Jun 7 at 21:36
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    @Kevin Good catch! I've added language to that effect to my third paragraph. Thanks for helping make this a better answer. – MTA Jun 7 at 22:18
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    @jamesqf The regulation doesn't specifically consider "failure to launch" types, but lists a number of factors that support a reasonable expectation of a household member covering debts, such as shared bank accounts or regular transfers of funds from the other household member's bank account to the applicant's account. – MTA Jun 7 at 22:25
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Excellent answers here about spousal income and salary, and using your forward-looking income. I have one addition. If you have regular bonus income, stock income, or other generally expected compensation, which may or may not include 401k matches and things like (employer, 100% nothing-out-of-pocket) covered healthcare, those may be fair to include. It never hurts to have more available credit.

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