Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at August 12, 2017
When most of us think of business credit reports, we probably think of a lot of numbers and painfully large and dull words. We may be wondering: where is business credit reported? And: what affects business credit score?
Not to worry. Here’s what you need to know.
Before your company credit can even be calculated, your business needs a DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet. Fortunately, these are easy to get, and they are free. You do, however, have to do the work, tofile for a DUNS number via Dun & Bradstreet’s website. The number doesn’t just appear without you requesting one first.
Why do you need a DUNS number? It’s to distinguish your business from similar ones. For example – how often have you gone to an unfamiliar city or town and seen a business with the exact or almost exact name of one in your home town? I’m not talking about franchises here. It’s more like, your town has a Dave’s Restaurant and the place you’re visiting has a Davey’s Restaurant.
By getting a DUNS number, D & B puts your company into their enormous database. But they also get the means of quickly and easily differentiating Dave’s from Davey’s. After all, their DUNS numbers are probably not sequential (and even if they are, the database can still tell them apart).
No DUNS number means no credit score at all – and you don’t want that.
Your credit scores from Experian, D&B (through what’s called PAYDEX), and Equifax are – assuming there are no errors on the reports – all going to be pretty similar. For example, all three credit reporting bureaus offer a bird’s eye view at your recent payment history. Experian calls that Payment Information at a Glance; PAYDEX calls it Yearly Trend: Payment Summary; and Equifax refers to it as Financial Account Highlights and Details for the most recent 36 months. However, the trends and activities being measured are close (although not exactly the same).
The easiest way to see how the big three look at your credit is to get a hold of sample reports.
Once the sample reports feel familiar, ask for the real thing! Get your company’s real Experian report here.You can get your business’s real PAYDEX report here. And get your Equifax business credit report here.
Each of the credit reporting bureaus calculates your score based upon various weights given to the following data points:
There now, that wasn’t so bad.