Understanding Business Credit Bureaus 

business credit bureaus

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Staying on top of your business credit means knowing where to turn to for your business credit reports. Much like with personal credit, there are several credit bureaus that will provide you with your reports on demand.

Let’s take a closer look at the top business credit bureaus and what you need to know about them before you begin your credit-building journey. 

What Are Business Credit Bureaus?

Business credit bureaus are credit agencies that keep tabs on the financial health of businesses. 

They accomplish this by gathering data from various sources. This includes vendors and lenders that report to major credit bureaus.  You may also find public information and filings and even various internet sources (though this will vary depending on the bureau). 

The role of business credit bureaus is to provide lenders with the state of your business and the risk of failure or delinquency in the future. They also help you know your business credit score.

With all this in mind, no two business credit bureaus are going to function exactly the same. 

There are differences in how they calculate scores, the types of services that they offer, and how they can help you along your business journey. 

If you want to know your credit report, you first have to be familiar with each of the business credit bureaus and how they operate. There are several agencies that you can turn to, but we’re going to focus on the three most significant for this guide. 

What Are The Top 3 Business Credit Bureaus?

The top 3 business credit bureaus you will likely turn to include Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax Business, and Experian Business. Here’s what you need to know about each credit bureau to get the most out of your credit monitoring experience.

Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet is one of the oldest business credit bureaus in operation, and for good reason. They help businesses understand their score and work towards financial security. 

Dun & Bradstreet business credit reports feature more than just your credit score. They also provide scores that will help you determine future delinquency, risk, and financial stress. Some of the scores worth looking into include: 

  • D&B Score
  • Delinquency Predictor Score
  • Financial Stress Score
  • Maximum Credit Rating
  • Overall Business Risk Score
  • Supplier Evaluation Risk Rating
  • Viability Rating

Dun & Bradstreet is one of the few businesses that offer free services as well. 

If you’re looking for resources to help build business credit, you can get your free score with CreditSignal

They give you 14 days to access four scores: 

  • The D&B PAYDEX®
  • The Delinquency Predictor Score
  • The Financial Stress Score
  • The Supplier Evaluation Risk Rating

Once those 14 days are up, you can then upgrade to services that are tailored to your business’s financial needs. 

With credit monitoring, resources like business credit builder tools, and more, Dun & Bradstreet is a stellar agency. 

Equifax Business 

Equifax Business is another business credit bureau that has a strong reputation. They offer comprehensive credit/business analysis strategies that lend themselves to new businesses. 

Equifax Business credit scores operate differently than others offered by business credit bureaus. 

Traditionally, you might have a business credit score that ranges anywhere from 0 to 100. For the two major scores that Experian Business offers, this is not the case. Here’s a breakdown of the scores they believe matter most. 

The Equifax Business Credit Risk Score™

The Equifax Business Credit Risk Score predicts the likelihood of a charge-off or a 90-day delinquency in a 12-month window. These scores range from 101 to 992. 

The Equifax Business Failure Score™

The Equifax Business Failure Score predicts the likelihood of bankruptcy within a 12-month period. These scores range from 1,000 to 1,880. 

Equifax offers unique scores that center around business failure instead of normal credit scores. This helps businesses take necessary action immediately. 

Using these scores alongside other reports on this list can be an effective way to gauge where your business stands. It can also help you figure out how quickly you need to act to get your credit in good standing. 

Experian Business

Experian Business is another bureau that breaks the traditional credit score reporting model. It instead offers its own unique scoring system. 

Experian Business offers its own credit score called the Experian Intelliscore PlusSM. The score range is from 1 to 100 with 1 representing high risk and 100 being low risk for lenders. 

For those who run their own small business and are not as familiar with how business credit functions yet, this may be a much more approachable model.  

Experian offers other scores that businesses can use to stay on top of their credit and financial health as well. Some of these include the Financial Stability Risk ScoreSM V2 and their Experian Business Credit Score. 

Why Are Business Credit Reports Important For Businesses?

To better understand the role of business credit, think of personal credit. 

Personal credit determines whether you can do basic things like apply successfully for a loan or find an apartment in your area. Business credit functions in a similar way. 

Business credit scores tell lenders, vendors, and other entities how much of a risk you are if you’re looking to apply for a loan, for example. A low credit score can have major financial implications for your business. 

This is why business credit reports are so important. They give businesses like yours insight into where your credit stands. They also display the reasons why your credit score is in its current range and what could happen should you not take action to repair your credit. 

Of course, you shouldn’t feel as though you’re limited by one option. 

You should use free business credit scores, paid business credit reports, and other resources to track the health of your business. This is especially true for focused reports that target specific elements of your credit, like the risk of delinquency. 

Staying on top of your business credit reports can mean the difference between bankruptcy and success.  

How to Get Business Credit Reports

Many consumers are likely aware of their ability to obtain a free credit report. 

This is not possible when you’re looking for a business credit report. 

You will typically have two choices. The first choice is to look for free resources that can give you a better idea of where your credit stands (but may be limited in available information). 

The second choice is to reach out to business credit bureaus like those above to get your business credit report directly from them. For businesses with room for this in their budget, the latter is highly recommended. 

All you have to do to request a business credit report is: 

  1. Visit your chosen business credit bureau’s website.
  2. Select the right credit report solution (or, in the case of bureaus that only have manual processes, reach out to them with your request). 
  3. Pay the necessary fee. 
  4. Access your business credit report. 

If you need them, many business credit bureaus will offer additional credit services. These may feature tools to help you better understand your credit as well as tools designed to build your business credit over time. 

How Long Does Information Affect a Business Credit Report?

Business credit scores and reports are regularly updated as new data comes in. The amount of time it takes to see a change will depend on the business credit bureau in question. 

But when new information is made available that could impact your business credit, how long does that stay on your business credit report? 

It’s often the more damaging elements that affect your score the most. This is why it’s so important to stay on top of your business credit from the beginning. Here is some data found on business credit reports and how long you can expect them to stay on your report. 

  • Bankruptcy: 9 Years, 9 Months
  • Banking Data (Government, Leasing): 36 Months
  • Collections: 6 Years, 9 Months
  • Judgments: 6 Years, 9 Months
  • Tax Liens: 6 Years, 9 Months
  • Trade Data: 36 Months
  • UCC Filings: 5 years

Should you find any incorrect data in your report, it’s crucial that you reach out to a bureau immediately to resolve it. Why? It could impact your business credit score and prevent you from receiving the financing you require. 

Checking your business credit report is a simple process. 

However, knowing which credit reporting agencies to turn to and what they have to offer isn’t common knowledge. But it is essential to those who want to build business credit or get their business credit on track. 

If you want to know where you stand,  you can start here. The above will help you understand the top three business credit bureaus, what they offer, and how you can request your first report. 

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