Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at December 27th, 2018
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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, 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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
This is a twelve-month payment trend. It compares the company to the industry norm.
This is information such as alternate business names, owner and guarantor names, business and credit grantor comments, etc.
Business Credit Monitor currently costs $19.95/month and it allows you to get timely alerts about:
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.
There are several 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!