Mar 11, 2024

Question of the Day [Women's History Month]: When were women first able to get credit cards without a co-signer?

It's very possible that you know a woman who wasn't allowed to get a credit card on her own at one point in her life. 

Answer: 1974 with the passage of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age in credit transactions.” 


  • Were you surprised at how recently women were unable to get credit cards on their own (someone who was 18 in 1974 would only be 67 in 2023)? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think it took until 1974 for women to apply for a credit card without a co-signer? 
  • What do you think has changed since 1974 as it pertains to women's participation in finance? 

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (Bankrate):

"After widespread complaints from women about unfair gender-based lending practices, legislation was introduced and passed into law. In 1974, the Fair Credit Opportunity Act made it illegal for any financial institution to discriminate against applicants based on their religion, race, national origin — and gender. Lenders were no longer able to ask applicants about their marital status, except in states with “community property” laws on the books."


Looking for more credit resources and activities? Check out the Types of Credit unit!


And to keep that credit healthy, be sure to visit the Managing Credit unit!

About the Author

Ryan Wood

Ryan grew up with and maintains a love for learning. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a degree in Business Administration and worked in sports marketing for a number of years. After living in Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, and Minnesota, the call of education eventually brought Ryan back to his home state of Wisconsin where he was a Business and Marketing teacher for three years. In his free time he likes to spend time with his wife and daughter, play basketball, read, and go fishing. Now with NGPF, Ryan is excited to help teachers lead the most important course their students will ever take.

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