WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), and John Kennedy (R-La.) reintroduced the Small Business Credit Protection Act, legislation that would require credit bureaus to inform small businesses of a nonpublic personal data breach within 30 days. The bill would also prohibit credit bureaus from charging small businesses for a credit report within 180 days following a breach. In response to data breaches in recent years, Congress amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act to enhance some federal credit protections for “consumers.” However, business credit is excluded from the statutory definition of “consumers” and thus, while small businesses’ nonpublic information was subject to the breach, the changes did not apply to those using business credit.
“Entrepreneurs need to build and maintain healthy credit as they grow their businesses,” said Senator Coons. “That’s why it is so vital that government help protect the private credit information of small business owners, just as they do for consumers. I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan Small Business Credit Protection Act, which ensures if a small business’s private data is breached, business owners will be notified by credit bureaus just as swiftly as individuals are."
“The federal government must uphold the trust that Americans need to fully participate in our economy,” said Senator Rubio. “My legislation, the Small Business Credit Protection Act, would ensure that small businesses receive protections in cases of a security breach. I urge my colleagues to join me in passing this bipartisan bill so that we can continue to protect America’s small businesses – the cornerstone of our economy.”
“Our state’s small businesses too often fall victim to the financial burdens of credit reporting bureaus and security breaches,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “This legislation is an important step to ensure Georgia small businesses have the tools and information to protect their private credit information against any and all security threats.”
“We’ve taken important steps to protect consumers, but small businesses’ credit data have also been compromised, and they deserve protection,” said Senator Kennedy. “Consumers and mom-and-pop businesses are counting on us to safeguard their data privacy when new threats arise every day.”
The Small Business Credit Protection Act is supported by the Cooperative Credit Union Association, Inc.
“Credit unions greatly value their small business members and are pleased to support legislative efforts to extend transparency and important protections to them in the increasingly common and harmful occurrence of data exposures,” said Ron McLean, President and CEO of Cooperative Credit Union Association, Inc.
A one-pager of the bill is available here.