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How to Check Your Business Credit

Written by Banks Editorial Team

Updated October 19, 2023​

4 min. read​

Every business wants to keep expenses low, and most of these same companies need to borrow money. Obtaining additional funds helps business owners pay wages, invest in equipment, and buy additional assets. A good business credit score helps you qualify for better loans and lower your expenses. Lenders aren’t the only people who look at your credit. Suppliers and insurance companies are two of the many entities that will look at your credit score before deciding how much to charge.

Checking your business credit keeps you up to date on your current score. Knowing your credit score helps you measure progress and potentially raise your score over time. We will discuss how you can check your business credit so you can improve your score.

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What Is Business Credit?

Credit bureaus use a credit scoring system to assess your ability to manage debt. This system decreased lending bias and gave financial institutions a way to measure creditworthiness. For example, most banks will ask for your business credit score before giving you a loan. Seeing this score reveals the amount of risk a bank assumes by giving you a small business loan. Consumers with higher credit scores are more likely to cover loan payments.

How Business Credit is Created

Not every business owner has established business credit. You do not automatically build credit by starting a business. Business owners must register their companies in their respective states and apply for a D-U-N-S number. Credit bureaus use this 9-digit number to identify your business and record your company’s credit history. You can create a free D-U-N-S number for your company by applying on Dun & Bradstreet. Your business may already be in their records, but it’s worth checking. You can only build credit if you are in the system.

Reasons to Check Your Business Credit

Your business credit is a vital number that impacts your total expenses and access to loans. Staying on top of this number can help you improve it and detect mistakes. In addition, you can dispute any errors to potentially increase your score.

Checking your credit score can also protect you from fraud. Your credit report details your transactions, including fraudulent ones. As a result, you can alert your business credit card company about suspicious activity and limit the damage.

Factors that Affect Your Business Credit

Credit bureaus consider several components when calculating your credit score. These elements have the same objective: to assess a business owner’s ability to handle debt. These factors will affect your score.

Payment History

Creditors review your payment history to see how well you have previously managed debt. Paying debt early or on time will improve your credit score. Any late payments will hurt your score and can lead to spiraling finances. Business credit card debt can keep you in debt longer and make it more difficult to keep up with payments. Make sure you take on as much debt as you can afford to repay.

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Age of Financial Account

Business credit accounts get better with age. Creditors assume business owners with more years of experience with credit are more effective at juggling financial obligations. Therefore, business owners should not close older accounts because doing so can hurt their scores.

Your Debt and How it is Used

Each financial obligation limits your ability to incur additional debt. Lenders will compare your debt to your company’s earnings. A wide gap between these two numbers will help you qualify for better loans and obtain more capital in the process. Lenders will feel happier working with you if you have a clear goal for the debt. Some business owners use this debt to buy equipment, while others invest in marketing to gain more traction.

Available Credit Limits and Trade Lines

Credit limits and trade lines do more for your business than provide a short-term funding source. These available limits and trade lines also improve your credit utilization ratio. Credit utilization measures your total debt against your total limit. For example, if you owe $10,000 and have a $40,000 credit limit, you have a 25% credit utilization ratio. Lenders like to see a credit utilization ratio below 30%. This percentage indicates your company can likely handle more debt.

Industry Risk

Every business has unique risks. A bank will look at your revenue and earnings over multiple years to see how your company is performing. However, personal performance can change based on the industry. Malls are a risky industry with significant risks. Some experts believe 25% of U.S. malls will shut down in the next five years. Industry risk can negatively impact your credit score and result in less favorable loans.

Size and Age of Business

Credit bureaus reward established companies. A larger workforce and more years of business can prop up your credit score. These two metrics make your business appear more reliable to lenders. Unfortunately, you can’t do much about the age of your company. Your company will get older as time takes its course. Business owners can expand their companies by adding new talent and exploring opportunities, but they must strike a balance to avoid overextending.

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What Your Business Credit Is Used For

Building business credit will impact your company’s finances. Growing your score over time can help you save money and access several perks. Your business credit impacts the following:

Your Borrowing Power for Loans

Most lenders look at your credit score to determine how much you can borrow. High-credit businesses are less risky for lenders than low-credit companies. Lenders will happily give more money to businesses with good credit to increase their returns.

Your Loan Payment and Terms

Lenders make a return on their investment by having borrowers pay interest. Banks won’t offer the same interest rate to every business since some are riskier than others. A high credit score can help you qualify for a lower interest rate and, subsequently, more affordable loan payments. Saving on monthly loan payments can inspire some business owners to pursue shorter-term loans. A loan with fewer years on it costs less in the long run. A higher business credit score gives you more flexibility.

Your Rates on Business Insurance

Insurance companies will look at your business credit before deciding on your premiums. Of course, bad credit is worse than no credit, but you will save money if you have good credit.

How to Check Your Business Credit

Checking your business credit reveals where you stand. Business owners can use their current score as motivation and check their business credit reports for errors. You can consult the following bureaus to check your credit score.

Dun & Bradstreet

Business owners need to get a D-U-N-S number before checking their credit at D&B. This number is free to obtain and identifies your business. After receiving your number, you will also get a Paydex score and additional ratings. You can check your credit score for free or buy a monthly plan for further insights.

Equifax Business

Equifax Business provides your company with a score ranging from 101-992. You can get a free credit report, but only if you are applying for a financial product. You cannot review your Equifax Business credit report if you are not applying for a loan, credit card, or similar option.

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Experian Business

Experian’s business credit score ranges from 1-100 and prioritizes payment behavior. Business owners can access their Experian Business Credit Reports with a $39.99 per report fee. You can also get your report with a Business Credit Advantage account. This account costs $189/yr and gives you unlimited access to your credit information.

Business Credit USA

Business Credit USA is a major credit reporting bureau that lets you see your credit score. You can request credit reports upon creating an account.

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