This week, Senators John Kennedy of Louisiana and Marco Rubio of Florida unveiled the Small Business Credit Protection Act. If passed, the legislation would require credit bureaus to notify small businesses of nonpublic personal data breaches within thirty days of a breach. The bill also mandates that credit bureaus must provide free credit reports to small businesses for 180 following a breach.
Unlike consumer credit scores, business credit reports are not free of charge. Small businesses are required to pay between $40 to $100 to view a single report from one of the three credit reporting agencies. The scores range from a 0-100, though there apparently is not an industry standard.
The proposed legislation marks a notable change for small businesses and business credit. Following the Equifax breach just over a year ago, Congress amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act to provide additional protections for “consumers.” However, the legislation did not extend those protections to small businesses because the statutory term of “consumer” was defined to exclude business credit.
So far, the proposed legislation is only one page, as it appears Senators Kennedy and Rubio are looking for early support for their initiative from fellow Senators. Presumably, the Senate will release a formal draft of the proposed legislation in the coming months if they can wrangle support for their legislation. We also expect the bill to undergo amendments in Committee and on the floor before a final vote before it is brought to a final vote (if it advances that far). Stay tuned.