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How to Easily See if Your Business is Set Up with Business Credit Bureaus D&B, Experian, and Equifax

Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at October 7th, 2017

Check Your Listings in the Business Credit Bureaus – They Are NOT Automatic!

When you are first starting out, even before you sell one product or service, your company exists, of course. Even if it’s just conceptual, there’s a company or a proto-company at least. But your small business hasn’t ‘arrived’ until it’s on the radar of the major business credit bureaus. So those are Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax.

So, how do you determine if your company is in any of the databases for these business credit bureaus? Fortunately, that’s a simple matter.

The Big Business Credit Bureaus: Dun & Bradstreet

For a Dun & Bradstreet company search, it is slightly tricky to find a business, just because the website does not spell that out completely and clearly. You navigate to here. Then you select Company Search in the upper right hand corner. A dark screen comes down with a straight line, a pull down for country, a pull down for state (which intelligently switches to province for Canada and then completely disappears for Mexico), a place to select whether or not you’re searching for your own business, and a Submit button.

I admit it took me a few tries before I realized the idea was to type on the horizontal line.

Note: if you search for more than one company, it can sometimes take a couple of tries before it clears the old name and/or state.

The search turned out to be well put together. I was about to locate a former employer from a good 30 years ago and I didn’t even have the correct company name anymore. However, once I went back to one name iteration just before the one I remembered, D & B could no longer find the company. Hence a company with several name changes might require a little Googling to get some business name choices.

Business Credit Reporting Agencies Credit Suite

Monitoring Your D&B (PAYDEX) Score

Dun & Bradstreet’s PAYDEX score of your company can wind up being one of the prime reasons why your small business acquires credit in any manner.

D & B furnishes Credit Signal, which is a means to keep track of your credit score by having the reports come directly to you, for a charge. You may discover the expense is well worth it in order to avoid the frustrations that can come from letting this score slip. And you will not need to develop and handle the scheduling and reminders you might need to keep track of if you do not make use of it.

Alternatives to Credit Signal

Don’t want to make use of Credit Signal? Don’t worry, as you can get your PAYDEX report via D & B and, if necessary, you can speak to their Customer Service department (this department exists as a section of Dun & Bradstreet itself).

Plus, in order to review your PAYDEX report, check out what D & B provides, which is a sample report as well as some higher level support in the best way to decipher it.

The Big Business Credit Bureaus: Experian

Experian has an easy form which you fill out in order to see if your business is in their system, located here. For example, because I know Credit Suite is in Florida, I can search for Credit Suite in Florida. Adding the city (in this case, it’s Land O’ Lakes), was not necessary. Either way, I get the company on the first try. Easy as pie.

When I searched for that same former employer, I could not find them at all in the Experian business search database until I added the street address and the city name. I did not have to add the ZIP code. Much like with Dun & Bradstreet, the system at Experian was smart enough to match an older version of the name to the successor name. However it, too, did not match up to the oldest name I could remember for this particular company.

Business Credit Bureaus Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Risk Monitoring at Experian

Experian, one more big credit reporting bureau, also offers a method for getting reports sent to you for a charge. Thus you can oversee your Experian company credit score here and the setup is easy.

On the other hand, if you prefer to not get continuing reports (and pay for them), then you can order a single Experian report for your small business on their web site.

Also, if there are any complications or mistakes, you can dispute any mistakes on your small business’s Experian report if you follow the directions on their site.

Learn about reviewing your Experian report by examining an example Experian business credit report.

The Big Business Credit Bureaus: Equifax

The Equifax form is a little bit more involved than the Experian form, but not by much. It is located here. In the case of Equifax, you can add street address and telephone number. However, just like with Experian, the only information you truly need is the company name and state. Equifax also offers a helpful search just under their identification number.

When looking for that same old employer, Equifax ran into the same issue, where there was one older name from about 22 years ago but not the one from 30 years ago.

Because all three business credit bureaus ended up (with some extra work on my part at the Equifax business search page) agreeing on having the 22 year old name. But they did not have the 30 year old one for this business. Still, it is also possible that there was no credit history back three decades. Note: this is an insurance company’s inside counsel law firm. Hence it is not a typical small business. Therefore it’s possible their credit transactions were through the insurance company 30 years ago.

Business Credit Bureaus Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Risk Monitoring at Equifax

Equifax, one of the big credit reporting bureaus, supplies a risk monitoring service which is more convenient as it enables reports to come straight to you.

If you don’t wish to pay for continual reports, you can as an alternative order your business’s Equifax report.

Additionally, if you want to contest your business’s Equifax report, you can do so by following the information on their web site.

You can learn how to check your Equifax report by taking a look at an example of their reports.

Monitoring Your Business Credit For Less than the Business Credit Bureaus Charge

Know what is happening with your credit. Make certain it is being reported and address any inaccuracies as soon as possible. Get in the habit of taking a look at credit reports and digging into the particulars, and not just the scores.

We can help you monitor business credit at Experian and D&B for 90% less than it would cost you at the CRAs. See: www.creditsuite.com/monitoring.

But if you still want to go with what the business credit bureaus provide, we have that information, too. At D&B you can monitor at: www.dandb.com/credit-builder. At Experian, you can monitor your account at: www.smartbusinessreports.com/Landing/1217/. And at Equifax, you can monitor your account at: www.equifax.com/business/business-credit-monitor-small-business. Experian and Equifax cost about $19.99; D&B ranges from $49.99 to $99.99.

Update Your Data

Update the relevant information if there are errors or the info is incomplete. At D&B, you can do this at: https://iupdate.dnb.com/iUpdate/viewiUpdateHome.htm. For Experian, go here: www.experian.com/small-business/business-credit-information.jsp. So for Equifax, go here: www.equifax.com/business/small-business.

Business Credit Bureaus Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Fix Your Business Credit

So, what’s all this monitoring for? It’s to dispute any errors in your records. Errors in your credit report(s) can be corrected. But the CRAs usually want you to dispute in a particular way.

Get your small business’s PAYDEX report at: www.dnb.com/about-us/our-data.html. Get your company’s Experian report at: www.businesscreditfacts.com/pdp.aspx?pg=SearchForm. And get your Equifax business credit report at: www.equifax.com/business/credit-information.

Disputes

Disputing credit report mistakes commonly means you send a paper letter with duplicates of any proof of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never mail the originals. Always mail copies and keep the original copies.

Fixing credit report errors also means you precisely spell out any charges you contest. Make your dispute letter as understandable as possible. Be specific about the problems with your report. Use certified mail so that you will have proof that you sent in your dispute.

Dispute your or your company’s Equifax report by following the directions here: www.equifax.com/small-business-faqs/#Dispute-FAQs.

You can dispute inaccuracies on your or your business’s Experian report by following the directions here: www.experian.com/small-business/business-credit-information.jsp.

And D&B’s PAYDEX Customer Service phone number is here: www.dandb.com/glossary/paydex.

Differences Between the Big Business Credit Bureaus

As you can see, the three business credit bureaus do not exactly, perfectly line up with one another. Hence it makes sense to not only check whether your small business is on all three of the credit reporting bureaus’ databases, it also makes sense to perform a more extensive search if you do not see it on the first shot. And then proactively add your small business if by then you cannot find it. And it also makes sense as to why credit scores can differ. This is because data sources differ. All this checking, by the way, took less than 15 minutes.

Takeaways on the Big Business Credit Bureaus

Often, it is a good idea to hand over a few dollars in order to ensure you obtain your company credit reports on a regular basis. It’s a lot more convenient than to have to remember to do this.

And you’ll probably take a look at these reports more carefully, as they come at a price.

Keep on target and make use of the resources that these credit reporting bureaus supply, and make your life less complex. It goes without saying; you’ve already got enough on your plate.

Because of the recent data breaches, there are even more reasons to evaluate your business and personal credit reports, and be vigilant about any problems you see.

 

 

 

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