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Business Credit Scoring 101… How the Business Reporting Agencies rate your Business

August 15, 2017
Business Credit Scoring 101 Credit Suite

Business Credit Scoring 101: Understand the System So You Can Get the Most Out of It

Class is in session! It’s time for Business Credit Scoring 101.

So, what affects business credit score? And how is business credit score calculated? The answers may surprise you. But the first thing you will need to know is where to establish business credit.

Because any discussion of business credit scoring goes hand in hand with getting business credit in the first place. Without business credit, your business credit score is very low, if it exists at all. That should not come as a great shock to anyone.

Keeping your credit scores high is crucial, so make sure you don’t miss any of these.

Business Credit Scoring 101: Dun & Bradstreet’s PAYDEX

A PAYDEX Score from Dun & Bradstreet ranges from 0 to 100. This score has a basis in payment data which is on report to the bureau. Or it is on report to data-gathering companies partnering with the CRA. https://businesscredit.dnb.com/business-glossary/paydex-score/

D & B uses this data, along with a credit score and Financial Stress Score, so as to advise just how much credit a lender should extend to your business.

Getting a PAYDEX Score

To get a PAYDEX score, you have to apply for a D-U-N-S number by using Dun & Bradstreet’s website. The number is cost free. Plus the CRA will require to have reports of your payments with four or more merchants.

Your company’s PAYDEX score shows if your payments are generally made promptly or ahead of schedule. As you might expect, a higher number is better.

PAYDEX Score Information

The scores break down as follows:

  • 80 – 100: A low risk of late payments
  • 50 – 79: A medium risk of late payments
  • 0 – 49: A high risk of late payments

D&B Business Credit Scores

Your company’s credit score ranges from one to five 1 is the very best score. This matches your company with various other businesses with equivalent payment histories. The score demonstrates exactly how commonly those companies often tend to pay immediately.

This data can really assist lending institutions to identify your company’s standing. But it does not truly mirror every one of the payment records from your business.

Financial Stress Score

The Financial Stress Score likewise runs from one to five. It matches your business with other companies sharing comparable financial and company qualities.

These similarities are in areas such as size or amount of time in business. This score demonstrates exactly how regularly those companies tend to pay in a timely manner. As before, 1 is the very best score. This score is a much more thorough examination of the business landscape, versus an evaluation of your business’s actual payment history.

An incredible PAYDEX score for your company is 80 – 100.

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

Business Credit Scoring 101: Experian Credit Scores

Experian’s scoring system is called Intelliscore Plus. https://www.experian.com/business-information/credit-risk-management

What is the Intelliscore Plus Credit Score?

The Intelliscore Plus credit score is a statistically based credit-risk evaluation. The key function of Intelliscore Plus is to assist companies, investors, and possible future loan providers make wise judgments about who they should or should not do business with.

Like an auto dealership uses a consumer’s FICO score to quickly figure out just how much of a credit risk a prospective customer may be, the Intelliscore Plus credit score can provide insight on just how much of a credit risk a business or entrepreneur might be.

Intelliscore Plus Credit Score Range

The Intelliscore scores range from 1 to 100. So the higher your score, the lower your risk class. The chart below details each Intelliscore Plus credit score range as well as its associated meaning.

Score Range/Risk Class

  • 76 – 100 Low
  • 51 – 752 Low – Medium
  • 26 – 503 Medium
  • 11 – 254 High – Medium
  • 1 – 105 High

Computing an Intelliscore Plus Credit Score

In the credit world, Intelliscore Plus is considered one of the most dependable tools in effectively forecasting risk. Among the ways Intelliscore Plus maintains this claim to fame is by acknowledging the major variables that show if a business is likely to pay their debts.

Though there more than 800 commercial and owner variables constituting an Intelliscore Plus credit score, the variables can be broken down into these essential elements:

Payment History

The agencies call this recency however in the real world, it’s nothing more than your current payment status. This includes the number of times your accounts end up being delinquent, the number of accounts that are currently delinquent, and your overall trade balance.


Just like payment history, frequency represent the amount of times your accounts have been sent to collections, the amount of liens as well as judgments you may have, as well as any bankruptcies connecting with your company or personal accounts.

Frequency can also consist of details relating to your payment patterns. Were you on a regular basis slow or tardy with payment? Did you start paying costs late, but over time, stopped doing so? These factors will all be taken into consideration.


This specific aspect concentrates on how you make use of credit. For example, how much of your offered credit is currently in operation? Do you have a high proportion of overdue equilibrium in contrast with your credit line?

If you’re about to start a company or are rather new to this game, the list above may seem a bit overwhelming. If you haven’t begun or don’t have a long history of business-based deals, exactly how will Intelliscore Plus rate you?

Intelliscore Plus deals with these scenarios by using a “blended model” to develop your rating. This means that they take your consumer credit score into factor to consider when determining your business’s credit score.

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

Business Credit Scoring 101: Equifax Business Credit Scores

The Equifax Credit Risk Score originates from a model which they use to place certain risks. Equifax makes use of these information in its calculations, consisting of the depth of the credit information Experian can get the length of your business’s credit history, and your business’s payment delinquency history. https://www.equifax.com/business/equifax-risk-score

Equifax then segments some five different scorecards together, by using statistical analysis. In order to boost their precision, Equifax recommends integrating their Credit Risk Score with their proprietary Equifax Bankruptcy Navigator Index.

The Bankruptcy Navigator Index helps predict the likelihood of your company declaring bankruptcy in the next 24 months. Equifax bases its predictive model on over 270 million different accounts.

Equifax shows three different company determinations on its commercial credit reports. These are the Equifax Payment Index, your company’s Credit Risk Score, and its Business Failure Score.

Equifax Payment Index

Comparable to the PAYDEX score, Equifax’s Payment Index, which has its measurement on a range of 100, demonstrates how many of your business’s payments were made promptly. These include both information from credit issuers and suppliers.

However it’s not indicated to anticipate future behavior. That is what the other two ratings are for.

Equifax Credit Risk Score

Equifax’s Credit Risk Score examines how likely it is your business will end up being badly overdue on payments. Scores vary from 101 to 992, and they evaluate:

  • Available credit limit on revolving credit accounts, e. g. credit cards
  • Your company’s size
  • Evidence of any kind of non-financial transactions (e. g. supplier invoices) which are delinquent or were on charge off for two or more payment cycles
  • Length of time since the opening of the earliest financial account
Discover our Get Business Credit guide, with everything you need to know about building credit for your business.

Equifax Business Failure Score

Last but not least, Equifax’s Business Failure Score looks at the risk of your business closing. It varies from 1,000 to 1,600, evaluating these elements:

  • Total balance to total current credit limit average utilization in the previous three months
  • How much time since the opening of the oldest financial account
  • Your company’s worst payment status on all trades in the previous 24 months
  • Documentation of any type of non-financial transactions (e. g. vendor billings) which are past due or have gotten on fee off for two or more billing cycles.

Equifax Scoring Analysis

For the credit risk as well as business failure scores, a rating of 0 means bankruptcy.

A remarkable Equifax score for your company is as follows:

  • Payment Index 0 – 10
  • Credit Score 892 – 992
  • Business Failure Score 1400 – 1600

Business Credit Scoring 101: FICO Business Credit Scores

FICO uses its SBSS (Small Business Scoring Service) Score to incorporate consumer bureau, monetary, application, and business bureau data. FICO then validates their SBSS models for deals such as Line of Credit transactions, Term Loans, and Commercial Card obligations which go up to $1 million. Their idea is to evaluate just how your small business repays all kinds of loans.

Business credit providers make use of the FICO SBSS score as a device to make a decision whether they should authorize a loan to your company at all.

The SBA employs this score also, to authorize or approve business loans. It has a basis in your company and consumer credit history as well as not just your company’s financial health.

The score factors in the evaluation of the risks inherent in your company’s credit applications. With SBSS, lenders make their decisions in a matter of hours, instead of days. Lenders are more confident in their lending judgments, and your business gets faster decisions on your loan applications.

The SBA’s Participation

The FICO Small Business Score or SBSS score is the main figure that the SBA considers while determining to accept a loan. This is particularly when it involves the SBA’s 7(a) loans.

Computing a FICO SBSS Score

The FICO SBSS Score shows the likelihood of you, the applicant, covering your month-to-month bills on time. The score runs from 0 to 300. A higher score means reduced risks and normally creates more positive credit terms. The score originates from your company as well as individual history of credit usage together with your company’s financial data.

Variables also include your business’s age, as well as its years or complete time in business.

As of 2014, all SBA 7(a) loans must go through a business credit score pre-screen, and for SBA loans, you can perhaps not get an approval if you had a score less than 140. But the cutoff was typically set to 160, and in many cases, a score below 160 meant a denial.

A lot of loan providers will only approve scores above 160 or 180, to lend up to $1 million. But a score lower than 160 or 180 can still qualify you for a smaller sized loan.

The formula for the FICO SBSS Score is as follows:

  • The last year of PAYDEX scores from Dun & Bradstreet
  • Amounts and types of any judgements against your company
  • The amounts and kinds of any liens against your business’s real or personal property.
  • Your firm’s available resources
  • Your business’s profit
  • Plus other, less distinct monetary information

If you have no document of company credit and had a modest or short time in your business, then the possible highest FICO SBSS score you can perhaps expect is 140.

Usage and Sorts of SBSS Model Lenders

A FICO SBSS score includes the option to choose particular models which are market-specific for improved and far better decision making. For instance, one model is a farming leasing and lending model.

Another model was made particularly for Canada. Further, the insights of the SBSS rating provide support for the SBRI (Small Business Risk Insight, from Dun & Bradstreet) and the SBFE (Small Business Financial Exchange) data repositories.

Verifying the SBSS models is necessary for credit lines, commercial cards, and term loans of as much as one million dollars. If you are asking for one million dollars or less from bank funding, then there are chances that your SBSS rating will be under review.

The Kind of Information in the Score

The SBSS gives the credit issuers of businesses various data blends to make certain that they can assess your business’s credit risks. For instance, a specific issuer of credit can select only to examine a principle proprietor’s application information, or the credit provider can select to consist of one or multiple business bureaus’ data.

Or the credit issuer can only choose to prioritize one aspect over another. This smart score comes from various business agencies on an automated basis, in any type of order or whatever priority the provider of the credit likes. As a result, if the loan provider chooses the score of Dun & Bradstreet’s PAYDEX as its default, the SBSS will pull that set of information.

SBSS Credit Offer Index: How It Works and Why It Is Essential

The Credit Index is an element of the FICO SBSS Credit Score for your business, made to assist credit issuers understand your capacity. It works as the standards against all the businesses with similar profiles.

The SBSS Credit Offer Index contains financial application info, business credit agency documents, and credit bureau data for consumer. It provides a percentile ranking of the present versus other smaller sized companies with identical or similar characteristics and total requested money from all those businesses.

The Updated SBSS

Reporting bureaus like Equifax power the newer FICO SBSS Score model. The SBFE information might be used to anticipate charge-offs, bankruptcy, or three plus cycles past due or delinquency over a duration of two years.

Business Credit Scores Explained Credit Suite

Business Credit Scoring 101: SBA Credit Scoring

The SBA’s tool has a basis in FICO. Their idea is to speed up their credit decisions for loan authorizations.

The tool uses numerous information sources and over one hundred combinations of company and consumer analytical models. They use a designated cutoff. https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/mo/st-louis/resources/small-business-loan-credit-scoring

Their general statistics on their over $60 billion profile demonstrate that businesses with ratings at, or above the assigned cut-off will have very good payment history.

Business Credit Scoring 101: How Do You Improve Your Business Credit Scores?

The big question has arrived, and while there is no golden answer, these ideas can certainly aid you increase your rating.

Make All Payments on Time

Your payment patterns and history are a driving force in your overall credit score. Over time, paying your bills in a timely manner will help establish your company as one that pays their financial obligations. This will certainly help push your rating up and show other firms you are a low risk.

Use Your Credit

Keeping your debts low remains sound advice. Still, opening and sensibly capitalizing on business credit accounts can help you expand your available credit. And you can boost your credit score.

Maintain a Healthy Personal Credit Profile

Now, you realize that your own personal credit is fair game when it comes to your Intelliscore Plus score. Running a business is tough work. But don’t let your personal finances suffer. Make sure that you remain on top of your personal monthly expenses, and stay clear of unnecessary credit inquiries. And don’t compromise your personal credit for company demands.

Check Your Credit Reports

Irrespective of what your credit score is, it is vital that you continue to be thorough. So assess your personal and business credit reports. This can help you find feasible problems and stay informed on your own credit profile.

Business Credit Scoring 101: Common Ground

All three big credit reporting bureaus, in essence, want to:

  • Make sure you’re paying your bills on time
  • Make sure you’re not borrowing more than you can comfortably pay back
  • And make sure you don’t have too many outstanding judgments, liens, and other demands for funds which are outside of those from creditors

Business credit scoring isn’t quite so mysterious after all.

Business Credit Scoring 101: Takeaways

When you understand where to check your business credit score, you have a much better chance of getting on top of it, and staying there. Business Credit Scoring 101 – class dismissed!

About the author 

Janet Gershen-Siegel

Janet Gershen-Siegel is the Head Finance Writer and Content Manager at Credit Suite. She has been admitted to practice law for over 30 years, with a focus on litigation and product liability, and is a published author, with writing credits at Entrepreneur, FedSmith.com and BusinessingMag.com.

She has a BA in Philosophy from Boston University, a JD from the Delaware Law School of Widener University, and a MS in Interactive Media (Social Media) from Quinnipiac University.

She regularly writes for Credit Suite, which helps businesses improve Fundability™, build credit, and get approved for loans and credit lines.

Her specialties: business credit, business credit cards, business funding, crowdfunding, and law

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