Acknowledging Small Business Week, New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY12/Rockland-Westchester) introduced legislation into Congress to expand consumer credit card protections for small businesses.
Reports in Patch.com said Rep. Lowey introduced the Small Business Credit Card Act, an effort that would include small businesses in a set of protections currently covering consumers that use credit card products. Included in the bill is language that would prohibit credit card companies from suddenly raising interest rates on small business customers, raising interest rates on existing balances, charging interest on debt paid on time and requiring card companies to apply payments over the minimum to apply to balances with the highest interest rate.
“Small businesses are the foundation of our economy,” the lawmaker said. “To mark Small Business week, I have introduced the Small Business Credit Card Act to provide small business owners the same consumer protections as individual credit card holders, like eliminating unfair fees and deceptive billing practices. It’s a key step for New York’s small businesses that is, quite frankly, only fair.”
This is the second time Rep. Lowey has introduced the legislation, which failed to land enough support the first time around, according to separate reports from local news outlet News 12.
The legislation has gained the support of the National Small Business Association, whose President and CEO Todd McCracken said in a statement, “I applaud Congresswoman Lowey for her continued advocacy on this issue and look forward to working with her to ensure small businesses have access to fair, affordable financing.”
“One in three small business owners look to credit cards as a critical source of financing, yet these cards typically are not protected against the most unfair and deceptive credit card practices,” McCracken stated.
Rep. Lowey is the top Democrat on the House of Representative’s Appropriations Committee. Reports in Patch.com said her time on the committee so far has included support for a $2 million increase in funding for Entrepreneurial Development Programs and a $1.5 billion increase in lending authority for 7(a) loans for the government’s FY2018 spending bill.