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As a business owner, business tradelines are critical to getting good financing. Trade credit and other credit tradelines help build your business credit history and business credit scores.
We’ll outline the type of business tradelines you need to build your business credit and how to get them.
- What Are Business Tradelines?
- Business Tradelines List
- Is Buying Business Tradelines Legal?
- What Should You Do Instead?
- How Many Tradelines Does a Business Need?
What Are Business Tradelines?
Business tradelines can be any tradeline that appears on your business credit reports. There are two main categories: financial tradelines and vendor tradelines. Financial tradeline examples include loans and credit cards. Vendor tradelines include net 30 accounts that you have with vendors and suppliers.
Business tradelines can consist of:
- Business credit cards
- Business loans
- Business lines of credit
- Equipment leases
- Supplier credit (products & business services)
Sometimes they report payments to your business credit reports, and sometimes they report to your personal credit reports, and sometimes they report to both. You need to verify which they will report to before you apply for the financing.
A business tradeline reports information, including the account opening date, amount owed, payment history, credit limit, etc. But perhaps the most important aspect of business credit is the payments.
Business tradeline payments include a history of on-time and late payments. The different business credit bureaus score this information a little differently. For example, the Equifax Business score and Dun & Bradstreet’s PAYDEX score vary in how they weight payments.
Regardless, paying on-time or even early is the key element with all of them.
Business Tradelines List
Each of these are essentially business tradelines for sale at a very good price! They are each designed to build your business credit with multiple business credit bureaus.
1. Divvy Corporate Card
Divvy offers a business credit card that reports to Dun & Bradstreet as well as the Small Business Finance Exchange (SBFE). Keep in mind that the SBFE reports that information to other bureaus, including Experian and Equifax.
Their unique credit card comes with zero annual fees and includes a rewards program with incentives for making frequent payments.
If your business is just starting out and you have poor credit or no credit, Divvy can set you up with their credit builder program that acts like a secured credit card.
This card operates like their other products, except that it is a secured by your deposit. So you’ll need to provide funds upfront to cover your credit line.
In other words, if you don’t qualify for their normal corporate card, their credit builder card acts as a secured business credit card. They allow you to upgrade to an unsecured card as you build your business credit.
This is rare because there aren’t many good secured business credit cards out there, and Divvy’s product is exceptionally easy to qualify for and use. They don’t require a personal credit check or personal guarantee, so this is a great way to build business credit.
2. Nav’s Business Boost Plan
Nav is an excellent resource for viewing and tracking your business credit scores. But did you know they also provide a way for you to build your business credit?
Nav’s basic business credit score monitoring service is free. It gives you limited access to your business credit scores and reports for Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax. Their paid plans give you full access to your scores and reports.
The Business Boost plan reports your monthly subscription payment to those same credit bureaus as a vendor tradeline. You can monitor your credit and build it at the same time!
Nav will never report negative information to the business credit bureaus, in case you end up paying your subscription late.
Also read our full Nav Review
3. CreditStrong Business Credit Builder Loan
CreditStrong is well known for the credit builder loans they provide to individuals who are trying to build personal credit. But CreditStrong also offers loan options for building business credit.
These business credit builder loans work much like their personal ones. There is no hard inquiry and once approved, the loan funds will be locked away in a savings account until the loan is paid off.
Currently, a CreditStrong business credit builder account will be reported every month to PayNet, Equifax, and the SBFE. (Again, the SBFE reports these payments to Dun & Bradstreet and Experian Business.)
Also read our full CreditStrong Business Credit Review
Can You Buy Tradelines for Business Credit?
You can’t buy business tradelines in the same way that you would rent an authorized user tradeline in personal credit.
The equivalent to this in business credit is purchasing a shelf corporation.
When you purchase a shelf corporation, you are essentially buying the business credit profile of a previous business. This includes the existing tradelines that the shelf corporation possesses. This, in theory, could give you access to higher credit lines, and a lengthy credit history.
Creditors are wise to the practice of buying shelf corporations. While not illegal, if creditors believe you are using the shelf corporation for the express purposes of credit hacking, they could close all of your existing accounts and lock you out of applying for accounts in the future.
Shelf corporations are shady. They’re not worth it!
What Should You Do Instead?
Purchasing shelf corporations is expensive, often exceeding $2000. And if the investment doesn’t always pay off, it could even backfire.
Instead of wasting your hard-earned business funds on a quick fix that might not even work, there are other proven, legal options for quickly building your business credit.
Start with the options listed earlier in this article. With Divvy, Nav, and CreditStrong, you will have one secured business credit card, vendor tradeline and financial tradeline that all will build your business credit.
An excellent first step is to open a business credit card. Even if you have just launched your business and do not yet have a business credit score, you can usually qualify for a business credit card if you have decent personal credit. This is because the application process pulls your personal credit reports and scores.
If your personal credit isn’t that great, you can try opening a secured business credit card instead. These will require an upfront security deposit but will allow you to build your business credit.
Opening a credit builder business loan from CreditStrong is worthwhile as well. Just like personal credit, credit mix is important to your overall score. And a credit builder loan will only require a small upfront investment.
You can also build business credit by opening vendor tradelines, like net 30 accounts. Opening accounts that relate to your industry is best. Still, there are a variety of general vendors who offer easy to acquire tradelines. Examples include Nav, Staples, Business T-Shirt Club, and more.
How Many Tradelines Does a Business Need?
There is no hard number of tradelines that you need to achieve a good business credit score. This is because a variety of factors influence business credit.
At a minimum, you’ll want three business tradelines, but having four or more would be better.
The concern with business tradelines is that not all vendors and creditors will send information to all the business credit bureaus. Most will send your account information to only one or two bureaus. (With the exception of our recommendations mentioned above.)
When you are applying for new business credit, there is no way of knowing which credit reporting agency the creditor will pull from unless you ask them.
The other aspects of business credit are equally important to the number of tradelines. To optimize your business credit score, you’ll also want:
- Low credit utilization
- Low payment index (making payments on-time)
- High credit lines
- Old accounts (current accounts, not closed ones)
So, while having at least three tradelines open is important, making sure each of your tradelines benefits your overall business credit is also vital.
Whether you are launching your small business or just working on building business credit, knowing which tradelines you have reporting and how they influence your credit history and credit score is vital.
Good business credit will make you appear more favorably to lenders and help you get the funding you need to expand your business.
Bad credit will hamper your cash flow and potentially ruin your vendor relationships. And there is no quick fix credit repair scheme that will magically improve your business credit score.
Successfully managing your business tradelines will help set your business up for future success.
Can You Buy Business Tradelines?
Not in the same way that you can buy authorized user tradelines for personal credit.
What people do instead is buy a shelf corporation. This is where you buy an existing aged company that’s been “sitting on the shelf” to tap into their credit lines. In theory, this gives you a higher business age and access to existing credit lines.
But again, there is no guarantee this will work.
Creditors have gotten wise to this scheme, and while not illegal, utilizing this trick could be considered fraud.
The totally legal and ethical way to buy a business tradeline is to open vendor tradelines and use secured business credit cards and loans. A few of these types of tradelines can quickly build your business credit.
How Much Do Business Tradelines Build Your Business Credit?
If you make your payments on time and stay consistent with it, you could achieve pretty good business credit scores within 6 months. Top-tier scores are not out of the question at all.
Business credit cards and vendor accounts that report to the business bureaus work particularly well.
If you pay these types of accounts on time, keep your balance low, and qualify for a high credit limit, a single account will significantly impact the building of your business credit.
High balances or late payments on a business tradeline will hurt your business credit.
Having installment loans report to your business credit is important as well. Credit mix is a factor that many lenders look at when assessing your business credit reports.
- How To Build Business Credit Without Using Personal Credit
- Net 60 Vendors
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- Tier 1 Business Credit Vendors
- Business Credit Builder
Amanda Garland is a personal finance blogger living in Dallas, TX. 10 years ago she was living paycheck to paycheck and knew nothing about how credit works. She learned some hard lessons in her fight for financial stability. Now she has a friendly competition going with her husband to see who can reach a credit score of 850 first. She is also a poet, having obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing.