As an individual, your credit score affects your ability to get approved for loans and the rates you receive when you get a loan.
The same happens for a company. The difference is that business scores generally don’t have uniform credit scoring methods like individual scores. Instead, multiple companies offer different credit score products.
If your business needs to take out a loan, a good business credit score can help your goal. Here’s what you need to know about business credit scores to help you build your score.
What is a business credit score
A business credit score is much like a personal credit score. It is usually a number that represents your risk to potential creditors.
The more likely you are to default on the basis of that credit score formula, the worse your credit score will be. The opposite is also true.
Each type of business credit score can work in different ways depending on who spends it.
Types of business credit scores and how to improve them
While there are many different credit scores available, the corporate credit scoring industry has four major players.
PAYDEX from Dun & Bradstreet
Dun & Bradstreet gives the PAYDEX score, which is the version of a business credit score. Surprisingly, this credit score model is extremely easy to understand. Your score is based solely on how quickly you pay off your debts.
If you pay off your debts early, you will get a higher PAYDEX score. If you pay on time, you will get a reasonable PAYDEX score. If you pay late, your PAYDEX score will suffer.
To improve this score, you should focus on paying off your lines of credit before they are due. To have the best chance of improving your scores, pay them off 30 days or more before their due date.
FICO’s Scoring Service for Small Business
FICO offers its corporate version of a credit score called the Small Business Scoring Service (SBSS). FICO uses a combination of both personal and business credit history to generate this score. They also look at certain details of your company, such as how many people you employ, how old the company is, and other relevant information.
Improving your FICO SBSS score can be done in many ways. As with most credit scores, it will help establish and maintain a flawless credit history for your business. However, this credit score can also look at your personal credit score. That means you also need to keep your personal credit score in top shape.
Once you have enough credit, focus on paying off your debt early or on time. As for your personal credit score, you can follow best practices to improve those scores too.
Intelliscore Plus from Experian
The Experian version of their business credit score, Intelliscore Plus, works more like a personal credit score. It focuses on whether you make your payments on time, not how sooner or later you make the payments. This scoring model also takes into account the use of credit and how often you have negative credit figures.
To improve this score, focus on having reported lines of credit, making your payments on time, and keeping your credit usage reasonable. Do your best to avoid adverse events, such as bankruptcies, judgments, or liens, that are reported with this model.
Equifax’s Business Credit Report
Equifax offers a business credit report that actually comes with three different scoring models. These models include a business failure score, a payment index score, and an overall credit score.
The payment index score is easy to understand. Paying your payments on time helps this score. Paying late will hurt.
The Business Failure Score tries to predict the possibility of your company going bankrupt in the next 12 months. Keep accounts open for a long time to establish a long history of timely payments. Late payments and legal issues can damage this score.
The overall credit risk score evaluates the risk that your company will receive a significantly late payment, such as 90 days or more, or a debited account within the next 12 months. Pay on time and prevent bills from being debited to improve this score.
Other ways generally improve your business credit scores
As you can see, each company’s business scores work in different ways. However, it’s easy to see some trends that make it somewhat easy to improve most of your business credit scores.
Make sure to report your business credit to your actual company
If you’re a sole proprietor, it’s easy to give people your Social Security number to sign up for credit cards and business debt. This way you don’t build a business credit score.
Instead, sign up with the IRS for an employer identification number (EIN). Then use this number to apply for credit to build your business credit history.
Buy a business credit card or other lines of credit and pay early
Once you have an EIN, use it to request a business credit card to start your business credit history. You can also open lines of credit with suppliers that you regularly do business with.
If you want to use these lines of credit to build your company’s credit score, make sure that the information is reported to the company for scoring business credits that you are trying to score.
Once you have opened an account, you must always pay at least on time. Ideally, you pay as early as possible to achieve higher scores on certain credit models, such as the PAYDEX score. Other credit models may be fine if you only pay on time, not early.
Avoid debited accounts or legal action
Not all corporate credit scores take into account legal action, rulings or write-offs. That said, some do.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid these situations altogether. If you do this, you no longer have to worry about negatively impacting your business credit scores.
Check for incorrect information
If you need to improve your scores immediately, you should check out the business credit reports that are troubling you.
Check the information in the report used to generate your score to make sure all information is correct. If not, dispute false adverse information to improve your score.
Make payment easier
Paying suppliers can sometimes be a hassle. You can make it easier by having a business-friendly bank account. Novo is an online business-focused technology company that has partnered with Middlesex Federal Savings to easily offer business banking to small business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs.
You will have access to free ACH transfers, checks by mail and incoming transfers. These features make it easy to pay suppliers and accept payments without a lot of legwork or expensive costs on your part. If you have to pay cash to a seller, you’ll even get a refund so you can withdraw cash without any extra effort.
Novo does not charge hidden fees, but does charge $ 27 for insufficient fees and uncollected amounts returned. You must have a minimum of $ 50 to open an account. Otherwise, Novo is quite problem-free as far as banks are concerned.
Check your business credit score for improvement
As you work on improving your business credit scores, it makes sense to follow them. This way you can ensure that your actions actually help improve your scores.
Unfortunately, business credit scores and reports are generally not free. There are no laws on the books that state that you have the right to access this information as with personal credit reports.
To keep track of your scores, it is probably best to visit each lender’s website and purchase your credit score.
A company tries to make corporate credit reports more transparent. You can sign up for one Nav account to view your reports with Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Equifax without entering a credit card.
Business credit scores are not as uniform or simple as personal credit scores. Loan companies need to understand how these scores work and how they can be improved.
If your lender uses a particular credit score model, focus on activities that can help you improve that model’s score. For more information on each scoring model and to check your reports or score, visit the website of the respective reporting company.