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5 Sites You Can Use to Determine Your Credit Scores
March 26, 2018
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5 Sites You Can Use to Determine Your Credit Scores

March 26, 2018
Did you know that Dun and Bradstreet began providing business credit scoring in 1849? Then, in 1989, The FICO scoring model became the standard way to measure the risk of an individual borrower. Each company offers a scoring scale, using data found on credit reports, to measure the risk of a credit application.  As a business owner, it is pivotal that you know what both of your scores are.

Until the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act passed in 2003, only lenders had a right to review personal credit scores. Today, consumers and businesses can track both credit reports and scores. In this post, we’ll cover the importance of credit scores, and companies that give you access to your personal and business credit scores.

Why Are Credit Scores Important?

A credit score is the numerical representation of your responsibility managing debt. It includes a record of debt repayment history, the amount of credit carried, credit limits, monthly payments, and credit requests.

Knowing your credit score allows you to take steps to raise the score and provides a benchmark for credit access. Those with high scores have access to better interest rates and lower fees on new debt. In comparison, low scores occur when you make late payments, have high debt balances in relation to credit limits, and make too many requests for new credit.

Today, companies can pull personal and business credit when you apply for a loan, open a bank account, rent property, connect utilities, insure assets, or apply for services. The increased access makes tracking your credit score more important than ever.

Factors affecting your score include:

  • Opening new lines of credit
  • Available credit versus utilized credit
  • Age and size of your company
  • Number of commercial and financial accounts with late payments

Reasons You Should Know Your Business and Personal Credit Scores:

  • They measure your business’s financial stability
  • They illustrate your debt management skills
  • Allow you to know if you’ll qualify for a business loan
  • Ensure that you know where you stand, so that you can take corrective action on credit reporting errors if necessary

Sites That Provide Business and Personal Credit Scores

A review of your personal credit report requires verifying your identity, while business reports don’t require any verification. Typically, the higher the score, the stronger the company or individual.

  • Banking and Lending Relationships

Banks and credit card companies often offer customers free access to their personal credit scores. You can also obtain a free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three credit bureaus at the government-sponsored website, Annual Credit Report.

  • Credit Karma

Credit Karma offers free personal credit reports through Equifax and TransUnion. Although they don’t provide the most commonly used FICO score, it’ll give you an idea of your overall credit strength. The score simulator offers tips on aspects which affect your score and how different decisions will raise or lower the number.

  • Dun & Bradstreet

The Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) business credit score and report provides each business with a D-U-N-S number to identify the company and reduce errors. The basic report costs $61.99. In addition, The D&B calculates a PAYDEX Score and a Financial Stress Score.

The PAYDEX business score ranges from 1 to 100 and shows when payments are due versus when they are paid. It also predicts future payment history and provides comparisons against other companies of similar size.

The Financial Stress Score determines the likelihood of business failure in the next year, and ranges from 5 to 1. Higher scores represent a greater chance of failure.

Factors considered include:

  • Changes in net worth
  • Legal action against your company
  • Existing debt amount
  • The proportion of on-time payments
  • Delinquent accounts

Based on the business score, Dun & Bradstreet will make recommendations for additional credit extensions with conservative and aggressive estimates provided.

  • Experian

Experian provides access to both personal and business credit scores. Experian’s basic business report costs $39.95, and only requires the company name and address.

The Experian score considers payment history and the financial health of a business through a review of judgments, liens, bankruptcies, and delinquent accounts. The time in business and the size of the company is also scoring factors. The business score ranges from 1 to 100.

  • Equifax

Equifax provides both personal and business credit reports, with a basic report costing $99.99. Equifax provides three different ratings: Paydex, Failure Score, and Credit Risk Score.

The Paydex Score evaluates the overall business and payment history, with scores ranging from 1 to 100.

The Failure Score measures the risk of company failure within the next year, with scoring ranging from 1000 to 1880. Credentials factoring into the failure score include:

  • Credit utilized versus credit limit
  • Age of oldest financial account
  • Delinquent and late non-financial accounts

The Credit Risk Score calculates the risk of a company becoming delinquent. Lenders use this score when considering the extension of additional credit. Factors include the size of the company, age of accounts, the percentage of utilized credit, and late payments, with scores ranging from 101 to 992.

Conclusion

Keeping track of your credit scores will educate you on the factors that lenders consider when deciding to extend additional credit to your business. Run a financially responsible business, and you will hopefully acquire high scores.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

BonnieAleman 1
Guest Post by: Bonnie Aleman
Bonnie specializes in writing for the financial and real estate industries, and graduated from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.
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