Credit Card Competition

Small business owners operate on thin profit margins, which have been increasingly cut into in recent years as credit card “swipe fees” have increased. Small businesses do not have the market power to negotiate with large credit card companies on “swipe fees,” so legislation in Congress is seeking to introduce crucial competition into the market.

Swipe fees have more than doubled since 2012 and the problem has been exacerbated by pervasively high inflation, which acts as a multiplier as swipe fees are a percentage of each sale. NFIB urges Congress to consider legislation that will harness the power of competition to give small business owners real choices when it comes to credit card processing networks. In an NFIB member ballot, 92% of NFIB members believe small business owners should have the right to choose among multiple credit card processing networks.

Two identical pieces of legislation were introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate that would promote the freedom of choice and allow small businesses the ability to choose between at least two credit card network options to process transactions. NFIB wrote letters of support to the House and Senate for H.R. 8874 and S. 4674 in the previous Congress and will submit new letters of support when the bills are re-introduced this Congress.

A recent credit card anti-trust settlement where Visa recognized their anti-competitive practices have caused ‘true pain points small businesses have identified’ was a step in the right direction. Learn more about the settlement and the impact of the House and Senate bills if Congress moves forward.

Take Action: Tell Congress to rein in credit card swipe fees and allow small business owners the ability to choose between credit card networks.

Big Tech Antitrust

Big Tech companies like Amazon and Google, which run online marketplaces, engage in practices that are biased against small businesses, which lack bargaining power and alternative choices. For small business sellers using marketplace platforms, competition between the operator’s own products and third-party sellers creates conflicts of interest and has been shown to lead to unfair business practices.

On Nov. 17, 2022, NFIB members Mark Faulkner and Deeannah Seymour made the case for Big Tech antitrust legislation in front of a U.S. Senate briefing and explained their concerns in brief video testimonies. NFIB also hosted a virtual briefing with a panel of five small business owners and Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) who was a principal U.S. House author of the House of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (H.R. 3816, 117th Congress). Each of the five panelists spoke to their experience using big tech across a variety of platforms.

In an NFIB member ballot, 84% of NFIB members favor Congress taking legislative action to control dishonest and anticompetitive practices of large tech companies.

S. 2033, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, introduced in the Senate on June 15, 2023, would ensure equality for small businesses and options for consumers. NFIB supports preventing companies like Amazon and Google from engaging in practices such as promoting their products over higher reviewed products from a small business and adding accountability so small business owners can trust their products will be sold impartially.

Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) Reform

Anti-competitive behavior and a lack of transparency on the part of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) have resulted in significant barriers to affordable healthcare. PBMs have created barriers to competition in the delivery of pharmacy services in community pharmacy settings, resulting in increased costs and reduced choices for small business owners and employees.

NFIB supports reforms to ensure healthy competition and affordability by increasing transparency and ending anti-competitive behavior that harms small businesses and small business pharmacies.

NFIB is a founding member of the Coalition for PBM Reform to engage and amplify the voices of small businesses regarding how PBMs threaten broad and affordable access to local healthcare. The goals of our coalition are:

  • Patient choice of pharmacy
  • Patient access to lowest-cost medications
  • Transparent pharmacy reimbursement
  • Full transparency of true drug costs to employers/plan sponsors

Take Action: Join other small business owners in telling Congress to support the PBM reform and to promote transparency for small businesses.

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