Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at August 30th, 2018
Written by Janet Gershen-Siegel
What? What are BizSource and TrueSearch? They have to do with the Experian database. But before we get into that – what the heck is a database, anyway?
I’m glad you asked.
First off, a database is a collection of data that you can slice and dice in all sorts of ways. And YOU have a database in your home right now!
Don’t believe me?
Go get your phone or address book. It doesn’t matter if it’s electronic or on paper. Or it could be a bunch of sticky notes.
It is a set of records, yes? And those records (even if parts of them are blank) have some obvious pieces. Those pieces are names, addresses, and phone numbers.
But those aren’t really the pieces. A name actually has several pieces in it. These are first name, middle name, and last name. A name can also include a married or maiden name (and maybe more than one married name) and a suffix like Junior. It also includes a title like Mrs. or Dr.
You can put together those pieces. So if your list has two people named Jones, you can put those records together. Those people may or may not be relatives.
When you break down address, you get street number and name, and city and state. You also get the ZIP code. You could also have apartment numbers. And you’ve got street suffixes like the ‘Road’ part of Second Road, or the ‘Avenue’ part of Main Avenue.
Do two people share the same last name and the same city and street? Then you’re using your data. You might be able to conclude that they’re relatives.
Big databases, like at Experian, do matches in the millions every day. That’s how they can compare businesses intelligently.
Let’s ask Experian!
TrueSearch is Experian’s official name for its search and match technology. This is the smarts behind BizSource (see below). TrueSearch combines all the data on any variations of a company’s name and address. This is to ensure the right match. Experian continually improves the quality of these matches. It does so as the system learns how to classify new data and starts to associate it with the right business.
The idea here is to get Experian to recognize that ‘St.’ and Street mean the same thing. But because ‘St.’ can also mean Saint, the system may take a while to learn the nuances. It’s likely that there are rules built into the database. One of those rules might be that ‘St.’ is more likely to mean Saint at the start of an address. Or the rule might be that ‘St.’ is likely to mean Street if it’s at the end.
You and I know these rules and might not even call them rules. But the database has to learn all this. It’s only as good as its programming and the information in it.
BizSource is Experian’s new business credit database. The idea is for it to put together all of Experian’s commercial intelligence. It’s going into a single master database.
Experian is putting everything they know into one big database. That means that they can make matches and draw conclusions like never before. This is all done with what’s called business intelligence.
Quite a bit! Used together, BizSource and TrueSearch give Experian’s clients more complete credit records. This is so they can make better informed credit decisions.
The problem Experian has had is that business intelligence tends to be all over the place and hard to track. This happens when businesses change names or ownership. It can also happen when companies move. It can happen when they start or end affiliations with larger entities.
That is, a company is bought or spun off. BizSource and TrueSearch help overcome these business data management challenges.
Most of the oldest companies we all know about have been through at least one name change. Take ExxonMobil, for example. Before 1973, it was the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. Other names include Humble Oil. And brand names have included Esso, Enco, and Humble.
So Experian is looking to wrap its arms around all those kinds of changes. Business intelligence means the kinds of information they use. It can include any time a business gets credit. It can also include UCC filings, bankruptcies, lawsuits, and the like.
You bet! Experian tested some 100,000 businesses in the BizSource database. They compared those records to the ones in Experian’s old legacy database. As a result, the amount of credit information available for each business increased.
With better detailed credit records, your credit issuers can make better decisions. And so can you! When you look up records in Experian, they will be a lot more complete from now on.
Experian has a lot more on liens, collections, judgments, and other legal information.
They will all have to migrate to the new system. And they won’t be able to use BizSource and TrueSearch until they do so.
You may be wondering how Experian defines each unique business in BizSource.
It’s a lot like the D&B D-U-N-S number. BizSource assigns a Business Identification Number (BIN) for each business location. This BIN is a unique 9-digit number. This ID allows BizSource to track all information about a business over time. BizSource can do this even with address or name changes.
A BIN is completely random. So if your company’s BIN is even or it starts with a 7 or anything else, that doesn’t give anyone any information. Instead, to get information, a credit issuer or lender will need to search for your company. They can do so by using your BIN in the BizSource database.
And since the BIN has a basis in location, more than one business location can link together. This forms what’s called the Business View.
So BIN replaces the Experian File Number. You can still use an Experian File Number to search for a business in the BizApps online application. Or you can use it with a cross reference table from an Experian sales representative.
Here’s what happens when you search with the File Number. If there’s a one-to-one match between the legacy file and BizSource, you’ll get a business record. And that record will come with the BIN for the business. If there is no match found, then you’ll see a message letting you know a match was not available.
Your business has its BIN, for all intents and purposes, forever. No one can ever reuse a BIN, and no one can reassign one. So if BINs merge, then Experian keeps the lowest BIN and then retires all other BINs.
Your Experian report will show the new BIN in the company information section. But the product elements, layouts and data delivery will not essentially change. So the newer reports will look and function a lot like older reports. The only major changes are more accurate matches to inquiries. You’ll also see more thorough credit reports and scores.
Then there are IntelliscoreSM and Small Business IntelliscoreSM (Blended Score) scores. So there will be more credit information. This will be on many businesses. This is because of the improved way BizSource and TrueSearch combine records. A score pulled using BizSource may differ from a score pulled via the legacy system. But this is because Experian uses more data to calculate the score. So the net result is a score becomes even more predictive than before.
They all start with 7 or 8. And they are all nine digits long. And a BIN stays with your business (but see above about what happens in case of a merger).
Right now, the credit database BIN and the marketing database BIN will differ. But the search match process is very similar.
Experian will be integrating the two systems in the future. The idea is to deliver a single, persistent ID. They want this ID to be the same across the commercial credit and marketing environments and products. But during the dual operating period, BINs can be cross-referenced at Experian. This allows for a single view for marketing and credit purposes.
Experian combines credit information for single business locations of the same company. This forms a Business View. It lets Experian clients to see the full liability of a business. Then they can better determine credit worthiness.
A Business View is automatically enabled for all Experian commercial reports and scores. You can get one with each request. Experian rolls up information. This is data like business name, addresses, Tax ID number, phone numbers, and public records. It does this to get a Business View.
Franchises get different treatment; they don’t roll up to a Business View.
Business View differs from Corporate Linkage. Before, Corporate Linkage would show a parent-child relationship. This would be for all subsidiaries and branches of a company to HQ. But Business View links many locations together to create a credit or risk view of the business.
The Business View brings together businesses for better credit decisions. Corporate Linkage is often used to find associations. Those associations are within an Experian client’s own database or sales processes. The Business View is for credit purposes.
Remember when I mentioned ‘St’ and how it could mean Street or Saint?
Experian uses what’s called referential matching and data triangulation. This is to link many records behind the scenes. During the process, they identify many variations in name and address. Then Experian applies best name and address rules. They do so to choose the name and address of the main location.
So the name and address returned may look different than an inquiry. But Experian does this after matching the inquiry to one of the variations in their reference file. This is how they ID the match. Experian can use the Match Reliability Code to deliver more intelligence.
But right now, many name and address variations are available. Yet Experian can only return the primary. They are considering an enhancement. So it would allow for the display of more names and addresses.
According to Experian, BizSource gets its data from:
Firmographics are just basic information about businesses, like number of employees, revenue, and industry.
According to Nav’s Small Business American Dream Gap Report, “Small business owners who understand their business credit scores are 41% more likely to be approved when they apply for a business loan.”
Also according to that report, “45% of small business owners don’t know they have a business credit score and 82% don’t know how to interpret their score.”
Understanding BizSource and TrueSearch puts you in some rarified company indeed. After all, if you had a way to get a 41% better shot at getting your business money, wouldn’t you take it?
Need to learn more about BizSource and TrueSearch? Experian has more of the information you need.
Now that you’ve got a better handle on the changes at Experian, you’ll have better chances for getting funding that your business owner peers. Now that’s some knowledge you can use.
Learn more here and get started toward understanding more about your business credit scores than ever before.