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Consumer credit scores can be complicated to understand, yet you’ll need to digest another layer of information if you’re a business owner or hoping to become one. Just like you are assigned a credit score based on your individual creditworthiness, businesses also have a credit score to denote their overall credit health.
Business credit scores are used for the same purpose as credit scores for individuals. If you apply for a business credit card or a small business loan, the company you apply for credit with will use your business credit score to determine the creditworthiness of your business as well as your interest rate and loan terms.
Like personal credit scores, higher business credit scores are always better when it comes to getting the best rates and terms. However, while personal credit scores typically fall between 300 and 850, business credit scores typically range on a scale from one to 100.
How to check your business credit score
Several third party companies make it possible for you to access a business credit report online. Each provider lets you see a version of your business credit score, and some offer multiple packages that let you gain access to more credit features and information.
If you want to build your business credit score and are wondering where you’re starting from, you can consider the following paid options:
Dun & Bradstreet
Dun & Bradstreet offers several services to help you monitor and manage your business credit score. While you can pay $39 per month for their top tier D&B CreditMonitor plan, they also offer a CreditSignal Plus plan for $15 per month and a basic CreditSignal plan for free. Each of these plans let you view and monitor your Dun & Bradstreet business credit scores over time, and the top tier plans include added perks like dark web monitoring, industry benchmarking and notifications about damaging business events.
Thanks to its online platform, Dun & Bradstreet makes it easy to sign up for an account and get started. Overall, this company is best for someone who wants to see their business credit score and monitor changes to their business credit profile over time.
Experian is another provider that lets you view your business credit score or monitor your business credit profile for a fee. For a one-time charge of $39.95, you can view your business credit score and gain an overview of your business profile. This plan, called a CreditScore Report, is a good option if you just want to see your business credit score but you don’t necessarily want to monitor its movements over time.
You can also pay $49.95 per month for a more comprehensive business credit score monitoring plan that includes information on credit inquiries and detailed tradeline data. An annual plan with unlimited business credit score access, credit alerts, ongoing tracking and more can also be purchased for $189 per year.
Equifax lets you order a single business credit report on their website, although you’ll need to make a customer service inquiry to learn about pricing. These reports are packed with comprehensive information including a company profile, a credit summary, details on public records, Equifax business risk scores, alternate business names and more.
Business reports from Equifax also include a unique Business Failure Score, which tries to predict how likely it is for a business to fail through “formal or informal bankruptcy” over the next 12 months.
Are there any free options for checking a business credit score?
There are a few free business credit scoring services, but keep in mind that free reports tend to be lighter in terms of what they include. Still, they can provide a good place to start.
Free options to check your business credit score include:
- Dun & Bradstreet CreditSignal: As mentioned already, this free service from Dun & Bradstreet lets you gain access to your business credit score and receive notifications when someone accesses your business credit profile. You can also sign up for free email alerts that let you know when a change occurs to your credit score. Note that most of the benefits of this free program only last for 14 days, at which point they suggest upgrading to one of their paid options.
- Nav: Nav also offers a free option that lets you access your Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Equifax business credit reports and scores. This service includes a summary of your business credit reports, credit-building tools and even your personal credit score from Experian.
- Tillful: Tillful is a mobile app that lets you monitor your business credit score for free while accessing all of your business accounts in one place. The app itself is also free to utilize, and you can use it to monitor your credit, your spending and your overall financial picture in one place.
What information will you need to check your score?
To access your business credit score with Nav or the D&B CreditSignal program, you’ll need to provide information such as your business name, your ZIP code and your email address. You’ll also need to verify your identity by providing your home address, your date of birth, your phone number and your Social Security number.
Further, you may also need to answer some security questions based on your loan history, your work history or previous addresses you may have had.
Which option should you choose?
If you only want a general idea of your business credit health, one of the free options should work. Also, remember that the information you get from a free business credit report will likely not be as comprehensive as you’ll find with paid business credit monitoring plans.
If you want ongoing monitoring of your business credit profile, then a paid monthly plan from a company like Experian or Dun & Bradstreet may make more sense.
Whatever you do, make sure you take steps to do something when it comes to getting a handle on your business credit. Your business credit score may seem unimportant at the moment, but you’ll need a solid business profile if you want to apply for a business credit card, take out a business loan or work with vendors who extend credit.
Your best bet is having an idea of your business credit score and taking steps to monitor it early on—before you need it.