Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at January 3rd, 2019
Learn how to get your company credit report and save your business money.
Your best choice as a small business owner is to remain on top of your company credit report from PAYDEX, Equifax, and Experian. There are three big credit reporting bureaus for businesses. And you really need to assess all three of them frequently.
This is because they use marginally different measurements. So moving the needle for one can move the needle for the two others. But it’s possibly not as much.
Do not let your company credit scores slide, as you have to catch any inaccuracies as fast as you can, plus pinpoint anything which is pulling your scores down and afterwards take remedial action. You can get your reports conveniently and stay right on top of all three scores by following a few simple steps.
Dun & Bradstreet’s PAYDEX score of your company can end up being one of the prime reasons that your company acquires credit in any manner. D & B offers Credit Signal, which is a means to track your credit score by having the reports come straight to you, for a price.
You may discover the price is well worth it in order to avoid the annoyances that can arise from letting this score slip, and to not have to produce and stay on top of the scheduling and reminders you might need to keep up with if you don’t make use of it.
Don’t wish to use Credit Signal? Not a problem, as you can receive your PAYDEX report through D & B and, if needed, you can check with their Customer Service department. Note: this department exists as a part of Dun & Bradstreet itself. D & B provides a sample report and even some higher level guidance in how to interpret it.
Dun & Bradstreet requires that you register on their site (registration is free) before they will give you a DUNS number. There are a few slightly different ways to get a DUNS if your business belongs to a special class, such as it is a US government contractor or grantee, or you are an Apple developer, or your company is Canadian.
Registration is simple and, once you have agreed to the Terms and Conditions, you are immediately taken to a dashboard where you either request a DUNS number or you look up to see if your business is already there. Then click on your business name to make any necessary changes.
If you don’t want to wait and deal with any paperwork, D & B offers a service called DUNS File whereby you can get a DUNS number and a basic business credit file in 5 days. The current cost is $299. Without this service, it can take up to 30 days to get your company’s DUNS number.
D & B also offers CreditBuilder Plus. It currently costs $159/month and includes DUNS File as one of its benefits. This product provides unlimited access to ratings and scorings, and enables you to add positive experiences to your credit file. You get alerts when others have accessed your credit file, and you even get access to LegalZoom.
If you prefer a free version, you can get CreditSignal. This product can show you how your business activities are affecting your credit score, so you’ll know when to take action. Like with CreditBuilder Plus, you’ll get an alert whenever others have accessed your credit file. This version allows you to access D & B’s mobile app CreditReporter.
You get free alerts to changes to your D & B scores, which includes PAYDEX. You also get a monthly summary with an overview of changes in your report. This company credit report just shows changes. If you want the specifics, you’ll have to pay for one of D & B’s credit building or business credit monitoring solutions.
The last two are not strictly necessary, but they’re helpful. In particular, if your business is already on the D & B site, it quite literally pays to use that time and check on your business credit score.
Equifax, another of the major credit reporting bureaus, furnishes a risk monitoring service which is more convenient as it allows for reports to go directly to you. If you don’t wish to purchase ongoing reports, you can instead order your company’s Equifax report. In addition, if you have to dispute your business’s Equifax report, you can do so by abiding by the directions on their website.
Your company will get an Equifax listing once your small business has a line of credit from a bank it has or bank issued credit cards. As a result, you really set up your Equifax business credit profile by taking action and getting credit.
Business Risk Monitor allows you to check on these important data points:
Currently, for $99.99 for a single pack, or $399.95 for a multi-pack, Business Credit Report lets you track these key pieces of information:
It also contains:
Business Credit Monitor currently costs $19.95/month and it allows you to get timely alerts about:
Experian, the third big credit reporting agency, also provides a means for receiving a company credit report for a price. Hence you can monitor your Experian small business credit score and the setup is simple. But if you prefer to not get continuing reports (and pay for them), then you can order an individual Experian company credit report for your small business on their website.
Likewise, if there are any problems or mistakes, you can contest any inaccuracies on your company’s Experian report if you follow the directions on their website. Find out about assessing your Experian report by examining a sample Experian business credit report.
Furthermore, for a smaller company, Experian will add a business owner profile to show the connections between you, the individual, and your small business. Experian’s Business Owner Link is used to automatically connect the credit history of over 5 million business owners to your business credit history.
This makes it easier for your credit issuers to get access to a Business Owner Profile on small business accounts. It also makes it simpler for your credit issuers to determine your overall creditworthiness.
Experian sells a number of products to keep track of your business’s credit.
Experian also offers (for a fee) premium corporate profiles. These enhanced profiles contain more information, like sales figures, size, contact details, products and operations, credit summary, UCC filings, fictitious business names, plus payment and collections history.
In addition to the data in their standard low-risk corporate profiles, these premium profiles have information on credit inquiries made in the last nine months, UCC details, and also Standard & Poor’s financial information.
Experian’s Business Credit Advantage program can work as a self-monitoring service. You get limitless access to your company’s business credit report and score. You can use this tool for proactively managing your business credit. Alerts are sent for:
Oftentimes, it is a good idea to hand over a few dollars in order to ensure that you receive your small business credit reports consistently. It’s a lot more convenient than have to always have to remember to do this and you’ll probably check out these reports more carefully, as they come with a price.
Continue to track and use the resources these credit reporting companies offer. And make your life easier. Because it’s obvious; you’ve already got enough on your plate.
Thanks to the recent data breach, there are even more reasons to inspect your small business and personal credit reports, and be vigilant about any errors you see.