Your business credit report states the creditworthiness of your business and provides the history of your business’s financial management. However; there are some stark differences between the two and learning how to read and interpret your credit score is paramount to improving it.
Unlike personal credit reports, you do not have the right to a free report and they are not private. Business credit bureaus can legally sell your info to anyone who is willing to pay for it. Each individual reporting agency offers memberships and plans that allow you to download reports each year; however, none of them are free. There are companies that allow you to access each report through their membership plans and offers.
There are three main reporting agencies that produce different scores (1) Dun + Bradstreet (PAYDEX), (2) Experian Business (Intelliscore PlusSM), and (3) Equifax which is used for small businesses. Each report contains background information, the company’s financial information, the age of the business, payment history as well as any lawsuits, liens, bankruptcies, and court judgments.
Your business profile will list all key personnel, the number of employees, names of any parent companies or subsidiaries as well as your businesses’ location and contact information. The summary will contain the number of tradelines your business has open, closed, or in collections. It will also report the number of credit inquiries, the amount of credit extended, credit limits, credit utilization as well as balances.
It’s important to note that tradelines (e.g., commercial vendors, suppliers, and lenders) may not be labeled clearly on your report. With a small business, it may be easy to match up the lender’s name and account with your business records. With larger companies, this may prove to be difficult so it’s important to stay on top of what is being posted and what is not because the largest component of your score is data consistency.
Most business lenders only report to one of the major agencies and some only report negative information, while others may report nothing at all. It’s important to continuously check your report to make sure everything is accurate.