Over the past 40 years, consumer protection laws have changed the way we borrow money to the same degree that technology has changed how we watch television, credit.com reports. The 1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) “made it illegal for creditors to discriminate against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status or age,” according to the article. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray declared, “[t]his statute expressly prohibits discrimination in all manner of financial credit transactions, thus affirming that economic rights are civil rights.” Legislation enacted in 1989 requires credit card issuers to provide costs including the annual percentage rate (APR), fees, and grace period; before then-U.S. representative Charles Schumer (now Senator) championed these rights, consumers often found out the costs of a credit card only after they applied for and received it. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act “gave consumers the right to a free credit report once per year from any national consumer reporting agency.” Before this act, customers could be turned down for credit based on a report they were not permitted to see. For more on how these laws changed the way we obtain and use credit, read the full article.