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How to Build PAYDEX Score Fast: And Other Dun & Bradstreet Reports You Need to Know About

December 4, 2019


Build PAYDEX Score Fast Credit Suite

If you know anything about business credit is it probably about the Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX score.  D&B is the largest and most commonly used business credit reporting agency. The PAYDEX score is the score from Dun & Bradstreet that lenders use most often.  This is likely because it is the most comparable to the consumer FICO, so they feel like they can easily understand the information it is telling them. Follow these tips to build PAYDEX score fast.

Build PAYDEX Score Fast, but Don’t Forget the Other D&B Reports

Your Dun & Bradstreet report is among the first things a lender will look at when determining whether to do business with you. They offer database-generated reports to their clients to help them decide if you, a potential vendor, supplier, or business partner, are a good credit risk. 

A company will rely on the D & B Report about your firm to make informed business credit determinations and avoid bad debt. Dun & Bradstreet takes several factors into account in creating such a report. Let’s look at all of these factors in turn, starting with the PAYDEX.  Afterall, you cannot understand how to build PAYDEX score fast without understanding what exactly the PAYDEX is.

Discover our Get Business Credit guide, with everything you need to know about building credit for your business.


The PAYDEX Score is Dun & Bradstreet’s score that tells the lender how well your business has paid the bills over the past year. D & B bases this score on trade experiences documented by vendors.  It ranges from 1 to 100. The higher the score, the lower the perceived risk.

We will discuss this more in depth later, but the quick answer to how to build PAYDEX score fast is to pay your business obligations on-time and consistently. The trick is getting those payments reported to D&B and not personal credit reporting agencies.

In addition to the PAYDEX, D&B uses the following. 

Delinquency Predictor

To estimate how likely a company is to be late in paying debts, Dun & Bradstreet uses predictive models. They use predictive scoring, which takes historical data to try to predict future results. They do this by figuring out the potential risk of a future decision, then they compare the historical information to a future event. Thus, predictive scoring only represents a statistical probability, and not a guarantee.

Financial Stress Percentile

The Financial Stress Percentile compares companies in categories such as region, industry, number of employees, or number of years in the business. Financial Stress Score Norms determine an average score and percentile for similar firms. 

Financial Stress Score

Dun & Bradstreet generates Financial Stress Scores to predict how likely it is a business will fail over the next twelve months.  These scores range between from 1,001 to 1,875. A score of 1,001 represents the highest probability while a figure of 1,875 shows the lowest probability of business failure.

Financial Stress Risk Class

This is a rating from D&B that places business in classes from 1 to 5. Class 1 includes businesses least likely to fail, while class 5 includes those firms most likely to fail. Therefore, a D & B customer can rapidly divvy their new and existing accounts by risk and then determine how to proceed. If your business is shown as being Discontinued at This Location; Higher Risk; or Open Bankruptcy, you are going to automatically get a 0 score.

Financial Stress Score Percentile

This score has a 1-100 ranking where a 1 percentile is most likely to fail and a 100 percentile is least likely to fail. If D&B identifies a company as financially stressed, that indicates it has stopped operations following assignment of bankruptcy, voluntarily withdrawn from business operation with unpaid obligations, or closed up shop with a loss to creditors.  It could also mean a company is in receivership, reorganization, or has made some sort of an arrangement for the benefit of creditors.

Supplier Evaluation Risk Rating

The Supplier Evaluation Risk Rating (also called a SER Rating) predicts how likely it is a company will get legal relief from creditors or end operations without paying creditors in full over the next twelve months. Once Dun & Bradstreet calculates the Financial Stress Score percentile for your company, they apply a second set of rules to calculate the SER Rating, on a scale of 1 – 9. A 1 means your company is least likely to fail to pay suppliers. A 9 is the opposite, showing the highest likelihood.

Discover our Get Business Credit guide, with everything you need to know about building credit for your business.

Credit Limit Recommendation

A D&B Credit Limit Recommendation includes two recommended guidelines:

  • A conservative limit, recommending a dollar benchmark if a company’s policy is to extend less credit to minimize risk and
  • An aggressive limit, suggesting a benchmark if a firm’s policy is to extend more credit with potentially more risk.

D & B bases these dollar guideline levels on a historical evaluation of the credit demand for similar businesses, with respect to employee size and industry. Dun & Bradstreet assesses how likely a business is to continue to pay your according to the agreed-upon terms, and how likely it is to experience financial stress in the next twelve months.

D & B Rating

A D&B Rating helps lenders swiftly assess a business’s size and credit potential. Dun & Bradstreet bases this rating on details in your company’s balance sheet, plus an overall evaluation of the firm’s creditworthiness. The scale goes from 5A to HH. 

Composite Credit Appraisal

This number, between 1 through 4, makes up the second half of your firm’s rating. It reflects Dun & Bradstreet’s overall rating of your business’s creditworthiness. They analyze company payments, financial information, public records, business age, and other factors.

If your company does not supply current financial information, you cannot get a Composite Credit Appraisal rating of better than a 2. The 1R and 2R rating categories show company size only based on the total number of employees.  Consequently, these ratings are assigned only if your company’s file does not contain a current financial statement. Employee Range (ER) Ratings apply to specific lines of business not lending themselves to categorization under the D & B Rating system. These kinds of businesses receive an Employee Range symbol based upon the number of employees and nothing else.

In general, when Dun & Bradstreet does not have all of the information they need, they will show that in their reports. However, omitted information does not necessarily mean your firm is a poor credit risk.

D & B Data

Finally, any report is only as good as the data it originates from. Dun & Bradstreet’s database includes over 250 million companies around the world. It includes around 120 million active companies and about 130 million companies which are out of business but kept for historical reasons. D & B continuously gathers data and works to improve its systems to ensure the greatest degree of accuracy feasible. Businesses should provide D&B with a  complete financial statement to ensure as accurate a report as possible.

Build PAYDEX Score Fast: Practical Tips

While it is tremendously helpful to understand all the different reports Dun & Bradstreet can generate for your business, when it comes to getting funding you need to know how to build PAYDEX score fast.  Keep in mind however, fast is relative. Will it take years like it does to build a personal credit score? No, it won’t. Will it happen overnight? That’s a resounding no as well.  

It also will not happen on its own.  You cannot passively do business and expect to build PAYDEX score fast.  You have to take intentional steps toward building your business credit score.  It’s a process, and it starts with how your business is set up. Some of these steps may already be done, as often they happen in the course of opening a business.  Some of them however, may not have seemed necessary at the time. When it comes to building PAYDEXs however, they are absolutely necessary. 

Regardless of where you are in the life of your business, it is never too late to take the steps necessary to build PAYDEX score fast. 

Build PAYDEX Score Fast: Set Up Your Business as a Fundable Entity

Many times, in the early days of a business, business owners find it easy to run the business as an extension of themselves.  They operate as a sole proprietorship, using their own address and phone number as contact information. There seems to be no reason for a separate bank account, and an SSN works just find when asked for. 

To build PAYDEX score fast however, this will not work.  Your business needs to be separated from yourself as the owner.  It needs to appear to lenders to have fundability on its own merits, not yours.

Steps to Set Up Your Business as a Fundable Entity

establish PAYDEX quickly Credit SuiteSeparate Contact Information

Contact information is an identifying factor.  If you apply for credit with your personal address and phone number, that application is going to pick up you’re your personal credit report. Your business needs its own phone number and address.  If you don’t have an actual location or separate phone line, you can still accomplish this. There are a number of options for phone numbers that will ring to your current line, and virtual offices offer a physical mailing address along with many other services. 

Get an EIN to Use in Place of an SSN

This is easy to do and completely free.  It can be done online at IRS.gov in a matter of minutes.  The point is to use this number, instead of your social security number, to apply for credit in your business name.  This way, the account will report your information to the business CRAs, including Dun & Bradstreet.

Incorporate Your Business

Whether you choose to incorporate as a corporation, S-corp, or LLC does not matter when it comes to fundability.  Make that decision based on other factors, like how much liability protection you need and your budget. You do need to choose one though. Operating as a sole proprietorship will not work well if when building business credit.

Get a D-U-N-S Number

If your follow every single step and do not do this one, you will never build PAYDEX score fast.  In fact, you cannot have a PAYDEX score at all if you do not have this number. It’s free also, and easy to get on the D&B website.   However, they will try to sell you a ton of other services that you really do not need.  Just get the number and move on. 

Open a Separate Business Bank Account

Not only will this help you keep your business expenses separated from your personal expenses for tax purposes, but it will also help you when you apply for credit in your business name.  Some vendors and lenders like to see a business bank account with a minimum average balance before extending credit.

Build PAYDEX Score Fast: Vendor Credit

Separating your business from yourself is not the whole story. That’s really just laying the foundation that you can build on.  You have to stack the blocks, and they have to be stacked in order. You can’t just follow all these steps and then go apply for regular business credit cards with your business credit.  It still doesn’t exist. 

The key to building PAYDEX score fast is the vendor credit tier. This is how your will initially build your PAYDEX score so that you can apply for credit from those lenders that will want to see a strong score.   

The vendor credit tier includes starter vendors that will issue invoices with net 30 terms without even checking your credit.  Set up your account in your business name, and they will report your on-time payments to the business credit reporting agencies.  It is important to note that not all of them report to all the CRAs, so be sure you find those that report to Dun & Bradstreet if you want to build PAYDEX score fast.  The more of these vendors your have reporting, the faster your score will grow. Remember though, you have to pay on time.  

Build PAYDEX Score Fast: Other Ways to Get Accounts Reporting

At the same time, you can talk to vendors you already do business with.  In light of the fact that you already have a relationship with them, they may be willing to offer net terms without checking credit and report payments.  Check with utilities too. They will sometimes report payments to D&B if you ask. The more accounts you get reporting, the faster your score will build. With each on time payment your score will only get stronger.

Discover our Get Business Credit guide, with everything you need to know about building credit for your business.

It is Possible to Build PAYDEX Score Fast with the Vendor Credit Tier

This process is not only important for building PAYDEX score fast, but really for building PAYDEX, or any business credit at all.  If you do not separate your business from yourself, any credit accounts you get approval for will report payments to your personal credit.  That doesn’t affect your business credit score. If you follow these steps however, you will be able to build your business credit score on each report, including your PAYDEX report, faster. 

About the author 

Faith Stewart

Faith is a content writer at Credit Suite. She has a BBA with a major in accounting and worked for 10 years in the fields of finance and accounting before she began writing. This includes working as an auditor, bookkeeper, and credit analyst, among other things.

She has spent the past 10 years writing blog posts, articles, and web content primarily in the financial niche, with writing credits at Businessingmag.com and Neonbrand.com. That’s a total of 20 years of experience.

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