October 13, 2022
Explainer

Business credit cards that report to D&B (Dun and Bradstreet) and how they help build business credit

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Building up your business credit profile as soon as possible is one of the most important financial moves you can make as a small business owner. Simply put, a company with a good credit score is more valuable than a company with a poor credit score and has better odds for success, since a company with good credit has access to better financing opportunities. 

Of the three business credit reporting agencies, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) is the one most used by business lenders. Lenders and other businesses may use your D&B Score to determine how risky it could be to do business with your company.

One easy way to improve your business, or commercial, credit score with D&B and other business credit rating agencies is to have a business credit card that reports to those agencies, use it regularly, and pay it off in full each billing cycle. As an entrepreneur, having good credit can come in handy if you need access to capital to scale your business or to manage cash flow during slower periods of the year.

When your company just starts out, it will have no credit history—and no credit score. It can take months or years to build up a good score, so the sooner you can get started by opening a small business credit card, the better. 

The more quickly you can build up your business credit, the sooner you can legitimize your business in the eyes of lenders, separate your personal finances from your business, and unlock better business opportunities and partnerships for your company. Plus, the rewards and perks on small business cards, like cash back—as well as the credit limits for which you qualify—tend to be richer than those on personal cards. 

To start building credit, you’ll need to incorporate your business as an LLC, a C-Corp, or an S-Corp (this can also help protect your personal liability for some business activities), and register it with the state to receive an employer identification number (EIN). You can use that number to establish a business bank account and open a business credit card and use it to start building a positive business credit history.

Even if you’ve done all of the above, many—but not all—business credit cards will require a personal guarantee and a personal credit check before approving your card application. 

How credit card issuers report to credit bureaus

Before we get into the specifics of which credit cards report to D&B, it’s important to understand how business credit card issuers report to business credit bureaus. Different credit card issuers report payments to credit card issuer differently, and it’s important to understand how your credit card reports payments. Some corporate cards, particularly those that require a personal guarantee, report transactions to consumer credit agencies, which impacts your personal credit.

Other cards report your transactions to business credit agencies, but here, again, not every card that reports to the agency will help you build credit. Some business credit cards only report negative information to the business credit agencies, which means that using the card can only hurt you.

The best business cards for building business credit regularly report all transactions to business credit agencies, including the amount of credit you’re using and your history of on-time payments. If you want to build your business credit profile, it’s important to make sure you apply only to business credit cards that report all activity to the business credit agencies. 

As with personal credit scores, the higher your score, the better rates you’ll get when applying for loans and the easier time you’ll have engaging in business transactions like leasing property or financing equipment. In general, to maintain a good business credit score, you’ll want to use less than 30% of credit available to you, make sure you pay all bills on time, and avoid applying for multiple new loans or credit cards all at once.

Why your business should have a business credit card

There are many benefits to business credit cards beyond building your business credit score. Such benefits include the ability to:

  • more efficiently manage your cash flow
  • earn cash back (with certain cards)
  • separate your business expenses from personal ones

When selecting a business credit card, be sure to investigate whether it requires a personal guarantee and if it reports your on-time payments to business credit agencies like Dun & Bradstreet. If building your business credit profile is important, you’ll want to make sure you have a credit card that can help you do that. 

Not all credit card issuers report to D&B–why that matters

Not all business credit cards report to Dun & Bradstreet or to the other business reporting agencies, and some only report negative information to credit agencies. If you’re not sure how or whether an issuer reports to the business credit agencies, ask them.

Since D&B is the most used credit reporting agency by business lenders, it’s important to build up your credit profile with that agency. If you are using a credit card that does not report to D&B—even if you’re paying your balance off regularly—your positive payment history will not appear on your credit report with the agency or influence your D&B credit score. 

That said, while Dun & Bradstreet is the most commonly used business credit score, it is not the only one. Some lenders might also use the business credit scores created by Experian, Equifax, or other agencies. Each agency has a slightly different formula they use to calculate scores, and even one agency might have multiple scores measuring different aspects of a company’s creditworthiness.

Having a good business credit score can make it likelier that you’ll receive a loan when you need it—and ensure that you have access to the best terms for that debt. Even if you don’t need credit right now, building up your business’ credit profile may be helpful long-term. 

Last year, 43% of small businesses sought financing at some point, with 58% of them looking for financing for operational expenses and 38% who wanted the money to expand, according to data from the Federal Reserve. If you need a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, the lender will check your business credit score first.

Lenders aren’t the only ones who look at your business credit score. Vendors, investors, insurers, and other stakeholders may also look closely at your business credit history to determine whether you’re a trustworthy business with whom they want to partner. If you have a poor credit score or not credit history at all, they might worry that’s an indication that you may not stay in business long. 

Which business credit cards report to D&B?

There are many different business credit cards that report to D&B. Below you’ll find several options to consider for your business. No matter which credit card you choose, it’s important to always pay your bills on time (automate this, if possible), because missed payments can hurt your credit score.

Ramp

One unique thing about the Ramp charge card program is that it comes with additional tools designed to help businesses reduce their spending.

Pros

  • No personal guarantee
  • No annual fee
  • Valuable cash back
  • Additional tools to track spending 
  • You can issue unlimited cards, with preset limits, to team members

Cons:

  • Not available to sole proprietors
  • Must have $75,000 in liquid assets

Divvy

Divvy Smart Credit Card for Business Review | Nav

An expense management platform owned by Bill.com, Divvy does not require a personal guarantee from applicants, it does conduct a soft inquiry into both your business and personal credit during the applications process.

Pros:

  • No personal guarantee
  • No annual fee
  • Additional tools to track spending

Cons: 

  • Rewards can be confusing and require work to optimize
  • You must have at least a good personal and business credit score to qualify

Tillful

5 Secured Business Credit Cards That Report to D&B

Tillful is a new, secured business card designed to help businesses improve their credit.

Pros:

  • No personal guarantee
  • No annual fee
  • Valuable cash back

Cons:

  • Requires a $500 minimum security deposit
  • Tillful just launched in June 2022, so it does not have an established track record

Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select Good Credit

Capital One Spark Cash Select - $500 Cash Bonus Reviews: Is It Worth It?  (2022)

This credit card aimed at small business owners promises unlimited rewards and a required minimum payment of either $15 or 1% of the balance, whichever is higher.

Pros:

  • No annual fee
  • Valuable cash back
  • Cardholders have payment flexibility to determine the date of their monthly payment

Cons:

  • Requires a personal guarantee
  • If you carry a balance, the interest rate can be steep

Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Card

Business Advantage Cash Rewards Credit Card with 3% Choice Category

This card allows users to customize their rewards and offers additional cash back to users with a Bank of America business checking account. 

Pros:

  • Introductory offer includes 9% interest for the first nine months and $300 statement credit bonus
  • No annual fee
  • Checking account owners can have cash back deposited directly into checking account

Cons:

  • After nine months, interest rate its 15.24% to 25.24%
  • Requires a personal guarantee 

U.S. Bank Triple Cash Rewards Visa Business Card

U.S. Bank Business Triple Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard Credit Card  2022 Review – Forbes Advisor

If you spend $4,500 in the first few months as a cardholder, you’ll get an additional $500 cash back as an introductory bonus. 

Pros:

  • $100 software credit toward FreshBooks or QuickBooks
  • No annual fee
  • Introductory offer is 0% interest for 15 months

Cons:

  • After 15 months, interest rate is 16.99% to 25.99%
  • Requires a personal guarantee

Brex

Credit card: spend smarter with Brex | Brex

Brex is a corporate card created for startups that you pay daily with a limit based on cash in your Brex cash account.

Pros:

  • No annual fee
  • No personal guarantee
  • You can issue unlimited cards to team members 

Cons:

  • You must pay off the balance daily
  • Rewards are complicated and require effort to optimize

Corpay One Mastercard

The Smart Business Credit Card | Corpay Mastercard® | Apply Now

Corpay One Mastercard is a charge card that you can use to pay both your bills and vendors as well as to make purchases.

Pros:

  • You have 51 days to pay off your balance
  • No annual fee
  • Additional tools to automate spending

Cons:

  • Requires a personal guarantee
  • To get rewards, you must pay off your balance within the same calendar month as the charge

How Does Dun & Bradstreet determine your business credit score?

Dun & Bradstreet uses several factors in determining the business credit score of any company. These include the company’s history of on-time payments, the amount of time they’ve been in business, and the amount of available credit that they’re using. 

Dun & Bradstreet relies on a reports from lenders and creditors, publicly available information such as mortgages and lien filing, and information that businesses themselves provide. You can log into your D&B account to make sure that all information is up to date.

What’s a D-U-N-S number?

To check your D&B score, you’ll need to get a D-U-N-S number (a Data Universal Numbering System number). This is a D&B number assigned to your business that functions sort of like a Social Security number for the company. You—and other parties—use that number to look up your business through D&B. 

You might also need it if you ever apply to become a federal contractor. It typically takes about a month to receive your D-U-N-S number after your apply for it, but you can pay a fee to speed up the process. 

Other types of companies that report to Dun & Bradstreet

While opening a business credit card and regularly paying your account off each month is one of the best ways to build business credit, some other types of vendors also report to Dun & Bradstreet. Opening accounts with these vendors as well could show Dun & Bradstreet that you have access to different types of credit and result in a boost to your score. 

These companies typically offer their clients tradelines, or a credit line with Net 30 reporting terms. In addition to helping build your credit, these types of vendors can also help you manage your cash flow. Examples of other companies that report to D&B include:

  • Digital marketing agency Creative Analytics 
  • Corporate swag producer Shirtsy
  • Office product supplier Quill

In addition to vendors, you may be able to establish credit with suppliers, retailers, and service providers, any of whom might extend you credit and potentially report to the business credit reporting agencies.

Take control of your business finances and build business credit with Ramp

In addition to offering a best-in-class charge card and reporting payments to business credit agencies, Ramp provides many other tools to allow users to take control of their finances and improve their business credit.

Ramp’s spend management tools, for example, give you insight into your company’s spend and suggests ways that you can reduce that spend to make your company more efficient. That makes Ramp different from some other credit card companies, which encourage users to spend more to earn points. 

Getting started with Ramp is easy. In less than 15 minutes, you can apply for a card and start making payments on a Ramp card.  

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FAQs
Are there any secured business credit cards that report to D&B?

Yes. Some secured business credit cards, including Tilful described above report to D&B and other major business credit reporting bureaus, but it is more common for unsecured business credit card to report to the business credit agencies. 

Are there other business credit reporting agencies?

Yes. While Dun & Bradstreet is the most commonly used credit reporting agency, there are several others that many companies use, including Experian and Equifax. Equifax and Experian may sound familiar, since they’re also big players in the consumer credit ratings space.

Each of the agencies has a unique, proprietary scoring model that they use to evaluate the credit worthiness of companies. However, in general, all models look at the amount of available credit you’re using (lower is better), the number and type of credit accounts you have, your history of on-time payments, and other publicly available information about your company.

FICO, the most used consumer credit-scoring agency also has a small business credit scoring division. In addition, the Small Business Finance Exchange is a credit information repository used by some banks and lenders. 

What companies report to Experian business credit?

Ramp reports to Experian business credit. Other card issuers that report to Experian business credit include Brex, Tilfull, and Corpay One. If you’re not sure whether a business credit card reports to the Experian or any other business credit bureau, ask the issuer.

What is a D&B report?

A D&B report is one of several reports that business lenders may look at to determine your credit worthiness when you apply for a loan or line of credit. The report includes basic data about your company (such as when it launched, its size, and the industry in which it operates), as well as information about your existing credit, credit history, recent credit applications, and whether you have had bankruptcies or liens against your company in the past. 

Your business credit report is different than your business credit score, which is a numerical rating of your business’ creditworthiness. Dun & Branstreet’s PAYDEX credit score ranges from 0-100, based on your company’s transactions over the last two years. That’s different than personal credit scores, which typically range from 300 to 850, but in both cases a higher score signifies a better rating. In general, it’s easier to build and improve business credit than personal credit.

Just as it’s important to regularly check your personal credit, you should get into the habit of periodically looking at your business credit to make sure the report doesn’t have any mistakes.

What is the cost of a Dun and Bradstreet report?

To view the basic information that Dun & Bradstreet has on file for your company, call the agency at 1-800-463-6362 and ask for a copy. You can also register for free for Dun & Bradstreet CreditSignal, which sends you alerts anytime there’s a change to your D&B PAYDEX, Delinquency Predictor Score, Financial Stress Score, or your Supplier Evaluation Risk Rating. 

Dun & Bradstreet also offers several paid products to businesses who want to see their D&B report. After a 14-day free trial, you can pay $15 per month to see up to five scores and rating or $39 per month for unlimited access to your company’s scores and ratings. It might be worth paying for one of the higher levels of service if you’re planning to take out a big loan or seek funding from investors, since it will let you know if there are areas in your credit history that you may need to work on. 

What is the difference between business credit agencies and personal credit agencies?

Dun & Bradstreet, the most commonly used business credit agency, does not rate consumers as individuals. Its two biggest competitors, Equifax and Experian, do have divisions dedicated to personal credit rating. 

In general, the process of rating individuals and businesses for creditworthiness is similar in that both look at your credit-utilization ratio (the amount of available credit you’re using), your payment history, the number and types of accounts you have, and how frequently your apply for credit or other types of debt. Consumer credit rating, however, typically goes back up to seven years, while business credit rating focuses more on the largest, most recent debts (going back about two years). 

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