What is in a Business Credit Report?
Credit bureaus track business credit activity through your EIN (employee identification number); or, if you have one, your D.U.N.S. number. Business credit reporting agency, Dun & Bradstreet, issues this identification number, and it’s free for businesses that have to register with the federal government to receive contracts or grants.1
This information helps build your credit report, which contains details on reported past and current borrowing arrangements. These include loans, credit lines, credit cards, and mortgages. The report may also include information on judgements, liens, and any accounts that may have gone to collections agencies. Your business credit report will also include a credit score, which generally represents how the issuing agency views your business’ ability to make payments on time and in full.2
How Lenders Use a Business Credit Report
Lenders use the information in your business credit report to help inform financing decisions for credit applications from businesses. They may take into account your business credit score, payment history, length of credit history, and any derogatory or negative information.
Why You Should Request Yours
It’s important to see the information on your business credit report to ensure that it is accurate. If you find that it is not, contact the reporting companies to have it corrected. Incorrect information could negatively impact your next loan application.
Seeing what lenders will see on your business credit report can also give you the opportunity to prepare to explain any unusual or less-than-desirable information on your business credit report. And it also gives you an idea of areas for improvement, such as paying bills on time or keeping credit card balances within limit.
7 Business Credit Report Providers
If you’re curious about what’s in your business credit report, check out these seven providers – including five that offer free business credit reports.
One of the better known personal credit bureaus in North America, Experian, also offers paid business credit reporting services. Experian offers a one-time business report which includes a credit summary report, credit score, and business summary for one business. Or, you can choose a monthly or annual service with the ability to check your own business credit reporting and business information plus details on other businesses (such as your existing or potential customers) as well.
Operating across the globe, Equifax offers an entire suite of business credit reporting services for businesses large and small. While they don’t currently offer a free business credit report checking service, their Business Risk Monitor for Small Business Service starts at just $5.99 per month. It provides Public Record, Credit, and Risk Score email alerts to notify customers of activities and inquiries impacting their business credit in these areas.
#3. Dun & Bradstreet
The CreditSignal site operated by business credit bureau giant, Dun & Bradstreet, lets you monitor changes to your Dun & Bradstreet business scores and ratings — for free. It also notifies you either through email notifications, or via an app, when someone else requests access to your business score. However, take note — to get your actual business credit score you’ll need a paid subscription.
Credit monitoring system, Nav, gives both individuals and businesses access to free credit summaries. Check your business report summaries from Experian and Dun & Bradstreet — you don’t even need to provide a credit card number to do so. Yet, bear in mind that these are only summaries. If you want access to more detailed business credit information, you’ll need the paid service.
Although free access to your business credit report through the Credit.net website is limited to a seven-day free trial, it’s a good place to start if you want to get a look at your current business credit situation, plus check credit summaries on others. During this time you’ll have access to seven business credit reports, so you may want to consider checking credit reports on customers looking for credit terms with your own business.
Here’s another online option that lets you access a free business credit report before committing to a longer-term paid arrangement. With a customized CreditSafe free trial, you’ll have access to credit scores and limits, company financials, adverse credit insights and more for not only your own business, but other businesses as well.
Currently in beta, new business reporting credit bureau, Scorely, gives business owners access to their own business credit rating (FICO) score. Sign up for a free account then search for information on any business, including your own. You’ll be able to see information such as credit reports, customer and satisfaction ratings, and business rankings by trust ratings.
1. Credit Karma, How to Build Business Credit
2. FitSmallBusiness, Business Credit Score