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How to Establish Business Credit for the First Time

Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at November 27th, 2017

Are You Looking to Establish Business Credit for the First Time?

When you establish business credit for the first time, it means that your company gets opportunities you never knew you would. You can get all-new equipment, bid on realty, and cover the company payroll, even when times are a bit lean.

This is specifically helpful in seasonal companies, where you can go for calendar months with solely hardly any sales.

Given this, you should really work on developing your company credit. Improve and maintain your scores and you will have these chances. Do not, and either you do not get these chances, or they will set you back you a lot more. And no company owner wants that. You ought to recognize what affects your company credit before you can make it better. Here’s how to establish business credit for the first time.

Credit History Length Matters

This is in essence the length of time your small business has been using business credit. Of course newer firms will have short credit histories. Though there is not too much you can particularly do about that, do not worry.

Credit reporting agencies will also evaluate your personal credit score and your very own history of payments. If your personal credit is good, and especially if you have a somewhat long credit history, then your individual credit can come to the rescue of your company. That is, you did not just get your first credit card not too long ago.

Normally the opposite is also true. So if your personal credit history is poor, then it will have an effect on your corporate credit scores until your company and individual credit can be split.

Do Not Enable Your Credit Utilization Rate to Damage Your Company

Your credit utilization rate just means the amount of cash you have on credit which is then divided by your overall available credit. Lenders typically do not like to see this exceed 30%. So for every $100 in credit, do not borrow on more than $30 of that.

If this percentage is rising, you’ll need to spend down and repay your financial obligations prior to borrowing more.

Your Payment History is Important

Overdue repayments will have an effect on your company credit score for a good seven years. If you pay your small business (and personal) debts off, as speedily as possible and as fully as possible, then you can make a very real difference when it comes to your credit scores.

Make certain to pay without delay and you will enjoy the rewards of punctuality.

Your Personal Credit can Influence Your Corporate Credit

Are you having a dissatisfactory business year? Then it could wind up on your consumer credit score. And in the event your firm has not been in existence for too long, it will directly impact your corporate credit. Nevertheless, you can unlink both by taking measures to uncouple them.

As an example, if you get credit cards just for your company, or you open up business checking accounts and various other bank accounts (and even get a business loan), then the credit reporting agencies will start to treat your private and corporate credit separately.

Also, ensure to incorporate, or at least file a DBA (doing business as) status. You can also take care of your company’s bills with your small business credit card or checking account, and make sure it is the small business’s name on the bill and not your own.

The Credit Reporting Bureaus Can Just Plain Get it Wrong

Just the same as every single organization around, credit reporting bureaus like Equifax and Experian are only as good as their files. If your firm’s name is similar to another’s, or your name is a lot like another company owner’s, there can potentially be some errors.

So check those reports, and your company report at Dun & Bradstreet, PAYDEX. Stay on top of these reports and dispute charges with documentation and clear-cut communications. Do not just allow them to stay incorrect! You can fix this!

And while you’re at, it you should also be overseeing the credit reporting agency which only handles individual and not small business credit, TransUnion.

If you do not know the way to pull a credit report, do not stress. It’s easy.

How to Establish Business Credit for the First Time

So, here’s the how-to.

When you establish business credit for the first time, it is a process, and it does not happen without effort. A business needs to proactively work to establish company credit. Nonetheless, it can be done readily and quickly, and it is much swifter than developing individual credit scores. Vendors are a big part of this process.

Doing the steps out of order will lead to repetitive rejections. Nobody can start at the top with business credit. For instance, you can’t start with store or cash credit from your bank. If you do you’ll get a rejection 100% of the time.

Company Legitimacy

A business has to be genuine to creditors and merchants. Therefore, a corporation will need a professional-looking website and e-mail address, with website hosting from a merchant like GoDaddy. In addition business phone and fax numbers should have a listing on

At the same time the company telephone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or similar).

A company will also need a bank account dedicated solely to it, and it needs to have all of the licenses essential for running. These licenses all have to be in the specific, accurate name of the corporation, with the same corporate address and phone numbers. Bear in mind that this means not just state licenses, but possibly also city licenses.

Working with the Internal Revenue Service

Visit the Internal Revenue Service website and obtain an EIN for the business. They’re totally free. Choose a business entity like corporation, LLC, etc. A small business can begin as a sole proprietor but will most likely wish to change to a type of corporation or partnership to diminish risk and make the most of tax benefits.

A business entity will matter when it involves tax obligations and liability in case of a lawsuit. A sole proprietorship means the owner is it when it comes to liability and tax obligations. No one else is responsible.

If you operate a company as a sole proprietor at least file for a DBA (‘doing business as’) status. If you do not, then your personal name is the same as the company name. Because of this, you can find yourself being directly accountable for all company financial obligations.

Also, per the IRS, using this arrangement there is a 1 in 7 probability of an IRS audit. There is a 1 in 50 chance for corporations! Avoid confusion and drastically reduce the chances of an Internal Revenue Service audit simultaneously.

Starting Off the Business Credit Reporting Process

Begin at the D&B website and obtain a free DUNS number. A DUNS number is how D&B gets a company into their system, to generate a PAYDEX score. If there is no DUNS number, then there is no record and no PAYDEX score.

Once in D&B’s system, search Equifax and Experian’s websites for the small business. You can do this at If there is a record with them, check it for accuracy and completeness. If there are no records with them, go to the next step in the process. By doing so, Experian and Equifax will have something to report on.

Trade Lines

First you must establish trade lines that report. This is also known as vendor accounts. Then you’ll have an established credit profile, and you’ll get a business credit score.

And with an established business credit profile and score you can begin obtaining revolving store and cash credit.

These sorts of accounts often tend to be for the things bought all the time, like coffee, shipping boxes, outdoor work wear, ink and toner, and office furniture.

But first of all, what is trade credit? These trade lines are creditors who will give you initial credit when you have none now. Terms are normally Net 30, versus revolving.

Hence if you get an approval for $1,000 in vendor credit and use all of it, you will need to pay that money back in a set term, such as within 30 days on a Net 30 account.


Net 30 accounts need to be paid in full within 30 days. 60 accounts have to be paid completely within 60 days. In contrast to with revolving accounts, you have a set time when you have to pay back what you borrowed or the credit you made use of.

To kick off your business credit profile properly, you ought to get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting bureaus. As soon as that’s done, you can then make use of the credit.

Then repay what you used, and the account is on report to Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, or Equifax.

Not every vendor can help like true starter credit can. These are vendors that will grant an approval with hardly any effort. You also need them to be reporting to one or more of the big three CRAs: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.

But you may have to apply more than one time to these vendors, and you may need to buy some things you don’t need to have, to confirm you are reliable and will pay punctually. Consider giving nonessential things to charitable organizations.

Accounts That Don’t Report

Non-Reporting Trade Accounts can also be helpful. While you do want trade accounts to report to at the very least one of the CRAs, a trade account which does not report can also be of some worth. You can always ask non-reporting accounts for trade references. And also credit accounts of any sort will help you to better even out business expenditures, therefore making budgeting simpler. These are providers like PayPal Credit, T-Mobile, and Best Buy.

Revolving Store Credit

Once there are 5 to 8 or more vendor trade accounts reporting to at least one of the CRAs, move to revolving store credit. These are companies which include Office Depot and Staples. These companies are likelier to have products you need.

Use the business’s EIN on these credit applications.

One instance is Lowe’s. They report to D&B, Equifax and Business Experian. They want to see a DUNS and a PAYDEX score of 78 or higher.

Fleet Credit

Are there 8 to 10 accounts reporting? Then move to fleet credit. These are businesses like BP and Conoco. Use this credit to buy, repair, and take care of vehicles. Make certain to apply using the corporation’s EIN.

One such example is Shell. They report to D&B and Business Experian. They need to see a PAYDEX Score of 78 or better and a 411 small business telephone listing. Shell may claim they want a specific amount of time in business or revenue. But if you already have sufficient vendor accounts, that won’t be necessary and you can still get approval.

Cash Credit

Have you been sensibly managing the credit you’ve up to this point? Then progress to cash credit. These are companies like Visa and MasterCard. Keep your SSN off these applications; use your EIN instead.

One such example is the Fuelman MasterCard. They report to D&B and Equifax Business. They want to see a PAYDEX Score of 78 or more; 10 trade lines reporting on your D&B report; and a $10,000 high credit limit reporting on D&B report (other account reporting). Plus they want you to have an established company.

These are businesses such as Walmart and Dell, and also Home Depot, BP, and Racetrac. These are usually MasterCard credit cards. If you have 14 trade accounts reporting, then these are in reach.

Monitor Your Business Credit

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

We can help you monitor business credit at Experian and D&B for 90% off what it would cost you via the business credit reporting agencies. See: Update the information if there are errors or the data is incomplete.

Challenging Problems

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

Disputing credit report errors usually means you send a paper letter with copies of any proofs of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never send the original copies. Always send copies and keep the original copies.

Disputing credit report inaccuracies also means you precisely itemize any charges you contest. Make your dispute letter as clear as possible. Be specific about the problems with your report. Use certified mail so that you will have proof that you mailed in your dispute.

A Word about when you Establish Business Credit for the First Time

Always use credit smartly! Never borrow more than what you can pay off. Keep track of balances and deadlines for repayments. Paying on schedule and fully will do more to raise business credit scores than virtually anything else.

Growing business credit pays off. Good business credit scores help a small business get loans. Your lender knows the business can pay its debts. They recognize the company is bona fide. The company’s EIN connects to high scores, and loan providers won’t feel the need to demand a personal guarantee.

Business credit is an asset which can help your company for many years to come.

Takeaways for How to Establish Business Credit for the First Time

Once you recognize what has an effect on your business credit score, you are that much closer to creating enhanced corporate credit. Learn more here and get started and establish business credit for the first time.

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