The Basics of Business Credit Scores

A large portion of small business owners who are turned down for small business loans and credit are rejected because of their credit score. But this is not the personal credit score with which all consumers are familiar; business credit is a very different and slightly more complex concept.

If your company is able to maintain a high business credit score, you will qualify for a low-interest small business loan or an unsecured business line of credit, and you could receive more favorable terms with suppliers. If your company’s credit is not so great, you will lose out on all of these potential advantages, and it can even impact your ability to attract new clients.

What is a Business Credit Score?

If you have a business credit card or a small business loan, you almost certainly have a business credit score. Similar to a personal credit score, these are numbers determined by major credit bureaus which can determine your business’s eligibility for loans and credit lines, as well as the terms and interest rates of them. Business credit scores are also determined by many of the same factors used to determine personal credit scores, but this is where their similarities end.

There is no standard formula or set of determining factors which are used to calculate every business credit score. This is because each of the major credit bureaus use different factors, formulas and scales to determine a business credit score. So even if your business has a very high score with one bureau, it may be average or worse at another.

There are three major bureaus which are considered to be the main, standard business credit score-keepers.

Dun & Bradstreet

One of the foremost authorities in business credit scores, Dun & Bradstreet calculate a company’s credit eligibility using three separate scores.

  • PAYDEX: This number is used to determine a company’s repayment risk on a scale of 0 to 100.
  • Credit score: Ranges from 1 to 5, with 1 being the best. This is based upon a company’s payment history in relation to other companies with similar payment history.
  • Financial stress score: This also ranges from 1 to 5, and it reflects a company’s credit compared to other businesses of similar size and industry.

Equifax

Like Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax uses three key elements to determine your overall credit worthiness.

  • Payment index: Reflects how many of a business’s payments are on time on a scale of 1 to 100.
  • Credit risk score: This is an indicator of how likely a business is to be delinquent on credit or loan payments. Ranges from 101 to 992
  • Business failure score: Measures the likelihood of a business closing down with ranges of 1,000 to 1,880.

Experian

Unlike the other two major business credit bureaus, Experian offers only one numerical score, but it takes into account even more factors than the others. This score ranges from 1 to 100 and is determined by factors such as:

  • Payment histories
  • Length of time in business
  • Number of business credit accounts open
  • Number of business credit accounts applied for
  • Number of business credit accounts currently being used
  • And several other similar factors

Keep It Up

While understanding each score from every major bureau may be difficult, the same type of positive, responsible business habits will keep every score high. Pay bills on time or early, continue to use some business credit, keep your company’s information up to date with all bureaus and do all the things you would do with your own personal credit score.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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