If you own a business, you may have heard about a Paydex score. If you want to get financing from a financial institution or plan to work with vendors and service providers, a Paydex score is a crucial piece of the puzzle. It demonstrates your business’s financial health to potential creditors or lenders and is seen as a good indicator of your ability to pay your bills on time. Here’s what to know about your Paydex score — and why it matters for your business.

What is a Paydex score — and how can it help your business?

A Paydex score is a business credit score, similar to your own personal credit score. Issued by Dun & Bradstreet, your Paydex score represents how likely it is that your business will pay its vendors and suppliers on time. While your personal credit score ranges from 0 to 850, your business’s Paydex score ranges from 0 to 100.

A higher Paydex score indicates you are more likely to pay bills on time or even in advance. If your score is above 80, it signals that your business is a low risk for creditors, lenders and even insurers.

Vendors, suppliers, landlords and lenders can all access your business Paydex score if they purchase your company’s report through Dun & Bradstreet. This can influence loan approvals, the amount of your insurance premiums, credit terms extended to you and whether or not commercial landlords will take you on as a tenant.

What factors impact your Paydex score?

Unlike your personal credit score, which is based on your ability to manage credit, your business Paydex score depends solely on what Dun & Bradstreet calls your trade references.

Trade references are your payment experiences with vendors and suppliers that are registered with Dun & Bradstreet by the vendors and suppliers themselves. Note that Dun & Bradstreet considers credit card payments to be trade references.

Dun & Bradstreet recommends you have a minimum of three trade references on record from two unique suppliers for it to accurately calculate your Paydex score. Only transactions from the previous two years are used when determining your business score.

Larger credit matters more

The Paydex score is a dollar-weighted measurement. This means the size of payments made or owed to vendors and suppliers is an important factor, with larger payments having a greater impact than smaller ones. For example, being late on a $5,000 payment will have a much greater effect on your Paydex score than being late on a $300 payment.

While you might wonder whether recent trade references carry more weight than older ones, a Dun & Bradstreet representative confirmed that trade references are weighted equally.

How to improve your Paydex score

The best way to improve your score is to make timely payments to your vendors and suppliers. Negotiating longer terms with these companies can be very helpful, as it makes it easier for you to make payments on time or early. For example, if you only have a 10-day window to make a payment, you may bump into issues if finances get tight, resulting in a late payment and a negative experience on your record.

You can also ask your suppliers and vendors to report their experience with you to Dun & Bradstreet. Dun & Bradstreet can’t assign a business credit score based on experiences that go unreported, so it’s crucial your vendors and suppliers share this information when possible.

Consistently monitoring your Paydex score can help you improve it. Dun & Bradstreet offers various monitoring tools to help you stay on top of Paydex score changes so that you can quickly address any issues that arise.

How is a Paydex score used?

Your business’s Paydex score is used by a variety of people and organizations to help them decide whether they want to work with you:

  • Financial institutions use your score to determine whether to lend you money and what terms to offer.
  • Insurance companies use your score to decide on premium amounts for your business.
  • Landlords may check your score when deciding whether to accept you as a tenant.
  • Suppliers and vendors will look at your score before agreeing to engage with your business.

With this in mind, it’s in your best interest to keep your business Paydex score as high as possible. A low score can hamper your growth and make it difficult for you to do business.

What do different Paydex scores mean?

The lower a business Paydex score, the higher the risk of late payment it represents to a lender.

Paydex score range Risk level Business payment
80 to 100 Low risk Within 30 days before due date
50 to 79 Medium risk 2 to 30 days after due date
0 to 49 High risk 31 to 120 days after due date

Keep in mind that you don’t need a flawless score to get the best rates and strong terms. That would mean you pay all your bills 30 days in advance — which few, if any, businesses can actually do. As long as you keep your score at 80 or above, it shows vendors and suppliers that your business can pay its bills on time.

The bottom line

If you want to run a successful business, you need to keep tabs on your Paydex score. This business score influences everything from securing financing, to obtaining supplies, to getting the best insurance rates.

The good news is that if your business credit score is lower than you’d like, you can work to raise it. Making payments on time or early with your vendors and suppliers, encouraging your trade references to report to Dun & Bradstreet and monitoring your Paydex score can all help move the needle in the right direction.

And if your business is in need of short-term financing, see our roundup of the best small-business cards that can help you start or grow your business.