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Understanding Business Credit Scores
Before we dive into the details about business credit scores, how they are used, and how to keep track of them, its important to understand why they are so important, and why this is such a difficult topic for so many. Even highly educated business owners find business credit difficult to understand. There are a lot of reasons that make it complicated…and very important.
What Are The Factors Influencing A Company Credit Report
The CCR for your company is prepared by CIBIL after having a good look at your company traits and financial history. Here are a few factors that impact your companys CCR:
1- Length of Credit History Similar to an individuals credit report, a CCR is also influenced by the length of credit history. Longer the credit history, better it is for your Company Credit Report.
2- Credit Utilization Ratio CCR of a company works in a manner similar to that of an individuals. A higher utilization of available credit portrays a company as credit hungry and hence it is considered less creditworthy.
3- Repayment History Companies also have to avail several loans to keep their operations running and have to pay EMIs. Timely payment of outstanding amount is always good- whether it is a company or an individual.
4- Outstanding Debts The amount of debts outstanding with different credit institutions is taken into account by CIBIL while preparing your CCR. Hence, it is important to maintain keep only feasible amounts outstanding.
5- Size and Life of the Company Older firms are likely to have better scores on their CCR as compared to start-ups. The reason behind this is that the companies operating for a longer time with continuous growth ought to be more credible as compared to the ones that are smaller and newer.
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How Do Business Credit Scores Work
CRAs take into account several things to calculate a businesss credit score, like how long a company has been in operation, whether or not a company has previously defaulted on payments and more.
So, if youve been clearing your balances on time, keeping your in check and your suppliers have reported your good credit behaviour, theres a higher chance that your business will be deemed creditworthy and acceptable for a loan.
Each business credit rating agency uses a different method to measure and rank your creditworthiness. They use a diverse scoring range to help you judge the quality of your score.
Top Tip: Building a strong business credit score takes time, but it can help you land better financing options, interest rates and repayment terms. Learn what a business credit score is, how its calculated and why its important in our guide on everything you need to know about your business credit score
What Is A Canadian Business Credit Report
The break down of a business credit report is different than a personal credit report. Business credit reports are also more complex than personal credit reports, the subsections are discussed below.
- Business Information: The companys legal name, address and phone number are displayed here. There is also a section with additional business information such as the number of employees and sales volumes.
- Score Summary:Using visual graphs, this section displays a brief summary of the businesss score. Below this section, there is another section which highlights details of the report such as the number of accounts, credit limits, number of collections, the number of legal items, and various other details.
- Score Details: This section deep dives into the factors that are used to calculate the credit score.
- Industry Summary: In order to better understand the companys activity, information about the companys industry is provided in this section as a benchmark.
- Company Details: In this section, very detailed information is provided about the business regarding specific activity such as returned cheques, accounts in collections, legal information, inquiries, and banking, among many other details.
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How To Protect Your Credit
Check these ways to protect your business credit card:
- Place a security hold on new credit inquiries. The reason is that sometimes thieves may try to make unauthorized inquiries to open new credit lines. However, it is not required every time you open a new account.
- Use ID theft protection programs. They alert you if any changes or activity are suspected. Moreover, there are various programs that offer insurance for any financial loss caused due to online fraud.
- Make use of multi-factor ID systems. It would help you to get extra security for your account. Moreover, you can set some security questions or locations along with your regular passwords.
- Make sure to review your business credit records. Moreover, if you see any suspicious changes then you must get an alert. So, regularly check the updates.
- It would be great if you use virtual credit card numbers. It helps to generate security from hackers or online frauds.
How To Improve Your Company Credit Report
You can improve your company credit report in the following ways:
Pay off business loans and corporate credit card bills on time. Additionally, partially or fully prepay the loan amount as and when possible
Maintain a low credit utilisation ratio
Keep the old credit cards issued to your firm handy until expiry
Improve the profitability of your firm
Check your CCR frequently and keep an eye out for any inconsistencies, misprints, or potential acts of frauds. If you find anything suspicious, report them to CIBIL or the concerned lender immediately
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Using Business Credit Scores
Although most start-up businesses must rely on personal credit for initial financing and use personal assets like homes for collateral, it is a good idea to establish a business credit score as quickly as possible to limit personal exposure. Create a business credit profile by separating your business credit from your personal credit.
Use only business credit cards for business expenses and do not mix personal and business credit cards. Keep your financial records, tax information and insurance coverages separate and you may even want to consider using separate banks.
If your business is just getting off the ground, youre probably lending money to your business from your personal finances and recording it as “loans from officers.” Once you have been in business for a while you will want to establish separate credit for your business. This can limit your personal liability and improve your ability to secure a business loan.
Wallethub: Best For Credit Alerts
WalletHub provides you with credit reports from TransUnion and the TransUnion VantageScore. To register, you’ll need to provide your personal details and the last four digits of your Social Security number , and you’ll have to answer a few questions to verify your identity. The site also asks other questions, such as your annual income, monthly expenses, and credit card debt to complete the registration.
The dashboard shows all of your credit accounts and balances while the credit alert section gives you a report card-style letter grade on the factors that influence your score. For example, the site warns you if your debt load is too high relative to your income or if your is too high and hurting your score.
Drop-down menus provide additional details, such as your credit utilization ratio. An easy-to-read version of your credit report shows all of your current and closed accounts, and any negative items, like collection accounts.
A menu bar across the top of the page provides information about financial products and services, such as checking accounts and car loans. WalletHub earns money from some of these companies, which advertise and pay for premium placements on the site.
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Breaking Down Business Credit Score
If a company wanted to take out a loan to purchase equipment, one factor the lender would consider is the businesss credit score. It would also look at the businesss revenue, profits, assets and liabilities, and the collateral value of the equipment it wanted to purchase with the loan proceeds. In the case of a small business, the lender might check both the businesss and owners credit scores, since the personal and business finances of small business owners are often closely intertwined.
The three major business firms are Equifax, Experian, and Dun and Bradstreet, and each uses a slightly different scoring method. Unlike consumer credit scores that follow a standard scoring algorithm and range from 300 to 850, business credit scores generally range from 0 to 100. Regardless of the specific method used, a business will have a good credit score if it pays its bills on time, stays out of legal trouble, and doesnt incur too much debt.
Are There Any Free Options For Checking A Business Credit Score
If you want to get a peek at your business credit score and gain access to important credit-tracking tools, then there are a few free options to consider. Keep in mind that free business credit reports tend to be lighter in terms of what they include, but they can provide a good place to start.
Free options to check your business credit score include:
- Dun & Bradstreet CreditSignal: This free service from Dun & Bradstreet lets you gain access to your business credit score and receive notifications when someone accesses your business credit profile. You can also sign up for free email alerts that let you know when a change occurs to your credit score. Note that most of the benefits of this free program only last for 14 days, at which point they suggest upgrading to one of their paid options.
- Nav: Nav also offers a free option that lets you access your Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Equifax business credit reports and scores. This service includes a summary of your business credit reports, credit-building tools and even your personal credit score from Experian.
- Tillful: Tillful is a mobile app that lets you monitor your business credit score for free while accessing all of your business accounts in one place. The app itself is also free to utilize, and you can use it to monitor your credit, your spending and your overall financial picture in one place.
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Factors That Impact Your Business Credit Score
Despite the lack of consistency between the various business credit reporting agencies, you can generally expect that regardless of the agency involved, your business credit score will be impacted, at least to some extent, by these five factors:
1. Time in Business
When your business is brand-new, your business credit score will be lower simply due to a lack of credit. This will matter less after your business reaches two years of operations, which is when banks become more willing to fund business loans.
2. Payment History
Your consistency in paying bills on time, every time, is the single most important factor that will impact your business credit score. Even a single late payment can weigh heavily on your future access to capital, so youll want to be sure to set up a system to maintain payments from the beginning of your business.
3. âCredit Mixâ
As we briefly mentioned, you can build credit in a variety of ways, such as using a business credit card, taking out loans, or establishing trade lines. This being said, future lenders want to know that you can appropriately manage your finances in any borrowing situation. Therefore, your credit mix will influence your business credit scoreâby taking out multiple forms of credit and managing them appropriately, youll be able to maximize your credit score in this category.
4. Credit Utilization Ratio
5. Mistakes on Your Business Credit Report
What Are The Components Of A Company Credit Report
Your CCR will typically consist of the following bits of information:
Profile: This section contains details such as the name of your company, its address, and contact details. Additionally, it also contains a unique number which has been assigned to your company by CIBIL, which is also known as the DUNS number.
Identification: These details will pertain to a copy of the report you have generated. It houses details such as the method in which it was generated, the time of its generation, and the person who generated it. This section will also contain a number which will only be unique to the report.
Types of Credit: This section contains details such as the type of credit accounts that are active in the name of your venture the outstanding amount, as well as the total available credit of your establishment. This section will be analysed by the lender to determine the credit utilisation ratio of your business.
Report Summary: As the name suggests, this section is a summation of your credit profile. This part of the CCR has information regarding the number of loans your company has taken, the outstanding debt, and the number of financing sources through which your firm has availed credit. This particular portion of the CCR will also have a mention of whether your venture has acted as a guarantor for a loan for some individual or entity.
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How Is A Business Credit Score Calculated
A business credit score considers many of the same factors as a personal credit score, such as payment history and amount of debt used. However business credit scores use different scoring models.
For two main types of business credit scores, Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX Score and Experian Intelliscore Plus, scores range from 1 to 100, and the closer to 100, the better. Consumer FICO scores, on the other hand, are ranked 300 to 850, with 800 and above being consider excellent credit.
Business credit scoring models weigh different factors when calculating scores, but you can anticipate that your payment history, age of accounts and amount of debt will be considered. If you carry a balance on The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, that will be factored into your business credit score. And if you miss a payment on your Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, that can negatively impact your score.
How Private/public Are Business Credit Scores And Fico Scores
While personal credit scores are kept private for legal reasons, business credit scores and FICO scores are considered a matter of public record and are easily accessed by banks, auto dealers, realtors, suppliers and customers. Bad credit reports follow your business wherever you go and can definitely work against you and your ability to conduct business.
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Why Separating Personal And Business Credit Matters
Trade credit reporting is beneficial for helping you separate your business and personal finances, which is particularly advantageous in regard to credit. A business credit report offers a clear view into the financial standing of your business, providing you with a clean report of the companys credit inquiries, lines of credit and delinquencies. This streamlined information makes it easier for fraud monitoring and for lenders to accurately assess creditworthiness .
Furthermore, separately listing business credit information protects your personal credit standing. Your company will typically have more annual inquiries and for larger lines of credit. With combined information, these inquiries could hurt your credit score, but a trade credit report gives your business its own history to list your business credit activity.
What Is The Importance Of A Business Credit Score
A company’s credit score is the same as its financial profile. In other words, lenders must be informed of the applicant’s capacity to make regular payments and the guarantee that they will receive their money back when asking for any type of credit facility. This is accomplished by reviewing the credit history, which is represented in the credit score.
Therefore the chances of loan approval are significantly higher if you have a greater credit score. Usually, credit scores higher than 750 are favoured by the lenders, and the approval process is initiated. On the other hand, a low CIBIL score provides a negative impression of the financial profile, and thus the loan may be rejected. It is always the best thought to check your CIBIL score regularly, and when you know that you have a bad credit score, you must try to improve it before you try to avail a loan.
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Select Reviews Common Questions Surrounding Business Credit Scores And Reports So You Can Familiarize Yourself With Your Business’s Credit Standing
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While you may think are reserved for individuals, businesses also receive that ever important number.
Similar to personal credit scores, business credit scores play a part in how lenders judge your business’s eligibility for credit products, such as loans and . If you’re a small business owner applying for credit, it’s important to understand what makes up your business credit score and how you can access your business credit report.
Below, Select reviews common questions surrounding business credit scores and credit reports, so you can familiarize yourself with your company’s credit standing.