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Have YOU Been Reading Your Business Credit Report? It’s a Blunder Not To

Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at December 27th, 2018

Are You Reading Your Business Credit Report? Your Underhanded Competition Might Be – And You Would Never Know

So your best bet as a company owner is to stay on top of reading your business credit report. Get a report from each big credit reporting agency. These are: PAYDEX, Equifax, and Experian.

With the three big credit reporting bureaus for businesses, you really need to evaluate all three of them frequently. This is because they use slightly different measurements therefore moving the needle for one can move the needle for both of the others, although perhaps not as much.

Do not permit your company credit scores to slide, as you must pounce on any mistakes fast as you can. Plus locate anything which is pulling your scores down and afterwards take corrective action. You can get your reports conveniently and stay right on top of all three scores by following a few simple steps.

Reading Your Business Credit Report at Dun & Bradstreet (PAYDEX)

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.

Getting a D-U-N-S Number

Dun & Bradstreet requires that you register on their site (registration is free) before they will give you a D-U-N-S number. There are a few slightly different ways to get a D-U-N-S if your business belongs to a special class. This can be if 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 agree to the Terms and Conditions, you are immediately taken to a dashboard where you either request a D-U-N-S number or you look up to see if your business is already there. Then click on your business name to make any necessary changes.

Expediting Getting a D-U-N-S Number

If you don’t want to wait and deal with any paperwork, D & B offers a service called D-U-N-S File. You can get a D-U-N-S 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 D-U-N-S number.

Building Credit with Dun & Bradstreet

D & B also offers CreditBuilder Plus. It currently costs $159/month and includes D-U-N-S 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 check your credit file, and you even get access to LegalZoom.

Credit alerts

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 check 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 business 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.

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Reading Your Business Credit Report at Experian

Experian, another big credit reporting agency, also provides a means for receiving a business credit report for a price. Hence you can monitor your Experian small business credit score and the setup is simple. However, if you prefer to not get continuing reports (and pay for them), then you can order an individual Experian business 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.

Business Owner Profile

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 can 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 Products

Experian sells a number of products to keep track of your business’s credit.

  • Business Credit Advantage Plan– this one is presently $149 monthly and features mobile-friendly alerts and score improvement suggestions.
  • Profile Plus Report– this report currently costs $49.95. It consists of in-depth financial payment information and predictive information on payment behavior.
  • Credit Score Report– this is the least costly of the reports, currently costing $39.95. This standard report includes detailed company and credit information, and summary financial payment information.
  • Valuation Report– this report at present costs $99. It displays the worth of your firm and features Key Performance Indicators. It also shows your company’s fair market value.

Premium Corporate Profiles

Experian also offers (for a fee) premium corporate profiles. These enhanced profiles contain more information, like sales figures, size, contact details, and products and operations. They also have a credit summary, UCC filings, and fictitious business names. Plus they include 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.

Credit Alerts

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:

  • Company address changes
  • Updates in your business credit score
  • Credit inquiries on your business profile
  • New credit trade lines
  • Any type of USS filings
  • Collection filings and
  • Any public record filings, like liens, bankruptcies, and judgments

Reading Your Business Credit Report at Equifax

Equifax, the third major credit reporting bureaus, furnishes a risk monitoring service. So it 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, it’s easy. You can do so by abiding by the directions on their website.

Your company will get an Equifax listing once it has a line of credit or credit cards from a bank. As a result, you really set up your Equifax business credit profile by taking action and getting credit.

Equifax’s Business Risk Monitor

Business Risk Monitor allows you to check on these important data points:

  • Public Records Alerts – these can indicate potential risk due to one or more new public records. Equifax bases these alerts upon a comprehensive, multi-source search of public filing records for judgments, liens, and bankruptcies.
  • Credit Alerts – these indicate potential risk due to one or more new credit activities. These activities include aged balances, charge-offs, and collection inquiries. They also include involuntary account closures, new credit inquiries, and the opening of new accounts.
  • Risk Score Alerts – these show possible risk which is based upon a significant drop in any of four of their predictive risk scores. They are: Payment Index, Business Failure Score, Business Credit Risk Score, and Business Delinquency Score.

Business Credit Report

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:

  • Company Profile – important basic information like company name, address, and phone numbers.
  • Credit Summary – a synopsis of the business’ credit accounts with suppliers, banks, and service providers.
  • Public Records – these include Secretary of State records on business registration, liens, judgments, or bankruptcies

It also contains:

Equifax Business Failure Score

It predicts the likelihood of a business failing via formal or informal bankruptcy over the next 12 months. The score runs from 1000 – 1610 with a lower score meaning higher risk.

Equifax Business Credit Risk Score

It predicts the likelihood of a business incurring a 90 days severe delinquency or charge-off over the next 12 months. This score runs from 101 – 992 with a lower score meaning higher risk.

Payment Trend and Payment Index

This is a twelve-month payment trend. It compares the company to the industry norm.

Additional Company Information

This is information such as alternate business names, owner and guarantor names, business and credit grantor comments, etc.

Business Credit Monitor

Business Credit Monitor currently costs $19.95/month and it allows you to get timely alerts about:

  • Bankruptcy Alert – this is any bankruptcy event.
  • Derogatory Alerts – these include liens, judgments, delinquencies and charge-offs. Plus any delinquent amounts greater than or equal to sixty days past due.
  • New Inquiry Alert – this is any new inquiry on the credit file.
  • Equifax Score Drop Alert – this is any negative risk score change of twenty points or more.

Spend Time Reading Your Business Credit Report and Stay Ahead of the Competition

In many instances, it is a good idea to hand over a few dollars. This is so as to ensure you get your business credit reports routinely. It’s a lot less complex than have to always remember to do this. And you’ll probably evaluate these reports more meticulously, as they come with a price tag.

Stay on target and make use of the tools that these credit reporting agencies supply, and make your life easier. It goes without saying; you’ve already got enough on your plate.

Because of the recent data breach, there are even more reasons to check your small business and consumer credit reports, and be vigilant about any problems you identify. Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN. Your Social Security Number and date of birth are necessary for verification purposes only. Don’t use them for credit checks or guarantees. Instead, use your EIN.

And start reading your business credit report, if you aren’t already!

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