How to check business credit scores - everything you need to know
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Whether you’re interested in getting a business loan or credit card, your business credit score will likely play a meaningful role. However, most people don’t know how to check . Fortunately, there are few options to check your business credit score for free.
Read on to learn how to check your business credit score, why it’s important to keep track of it, how to improve your score and more.
How to check business credit score
There are several free options for checking your business credit score, but they typically provide very limited details. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Dun & Bradstreet: You can set alerts, get a monthly summary of your credit file, and see how often your file is being accessed for free. If you want your full business credit score and report, you’ll have to pay $149 per month.
- Nav: Nav offers free business credit information. It’s also a great way to get your Dun & Bradstreet data. In fact, you can access your score and report from Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax, and even dispute errors for just $29.99 per month.
- Experian: Experian doesn’t offer a free service. You’ll pay anywhere from $39.95 to $249 per month depending on the extent of business credit information you’d like to access.
How to interpret your business credit score
Consumer and business credit scores differ wildly when it comes to interpreting what your score means. You’re used to seeing a three-digit number for your personal credit score, but only the strongest businesses ever earn a 100-point business credit score.
That’s because business credit scores are on a scale from 1 to 100, with 100 being the best possible score. Moreover, the interpretation of your score depends on which provider you use.
Here’s how it works:
Dun & Bradstreet scores
- Good credit: 80 to 100
- Fair credit: 50 to 79
- Poor credit: 0 to 49
- Risk Class 1 (Low): 76 to 100
- Risk Class 2 (Low-Medium): 51 to 75
- Risk Class 3 (Medium): 26 to 50
- Risk Class 4 (High-Medium): 11 to 25
- Risk Class 5 (High): 1 to 10
Why it’s important to check your business credit score
Your business credit score serves two important purposes:
- A gauge of your company’s financial health: Your business credit score takes several factors into account, all of which play a significant role in your company’s financial wellness. For example, if your company is financially healthy, it’s likely to pay bills on time, keep a low credit utilization ratio, and quickly pay down any outstanding balances. All of these financial behaviors lead to better business credit scores.
- Access to working capital: From time to time, you’ll need access to additional working capital in order to grow your business. A strong business credit score can help with that. As is the case with personal credit scores, your business credit score will likely be a major determining factor in any loan your business is able to obtain and the associated lending terms. A higher credit score leads to more options with better terms.
If you regularly check your credit score, you’ll be able to make improvements as opportunities arise. This won’t just help the financial stability of your company; it will help you qualify for loans when you need them.
How business credit scores are calculated
Business credit reporting agencies aren’t exactly outspoken about their exact algorithms for calculating business credit scores. If they were, they wouldn’t have anything proprietary to offer. Nonetheless, they do make the factors they look into clear. Those factors include:
- Payment history: Your business credit score will rise as you make on-time payments. Higher-than-minimum payments may help your score rise faster.
- Outstanding balances: The lower your outstanding balances, the better. How aggressively you pay your outstanding balances also plays a role.
- Credit utilization ratio: Keep the amount of credit you use under 30% of your available credit for the best outcome.
- Trade experiences: Experiences that strengthen your business's brand in your community have a positive impact on your credit score.
- Years in business: The longer your business is around, the more likely it is to pay its bills on time.
- Business size: Larger businesses pose less risk to lenders.
How to improve your business credit score
If your business credit score isn’t great, don’t worry. There are plenty of things you can do to improve it. Consider taking one or more of the actions below to improve your business credit score over time.
Open a business credit card
You’ll need to build a solid payment history if you want a good business credit score. One of the best ways to do this is to get a business credit card. Consider an option like Ramp that offers sales-based underwriting for easy approvals.
Streamline your bill payment process
Don’t let human error lead to missed or late payments. Use a platform like Ramp to streamline your payments. With autopay, your bills are paid automatically, so there’s no chance that a late or missed payment will wreak havoc on your credit score.
Update your information with credit reporting agencies
As is the case with your personal credit score, inaccuracies on your business credit file can harm your business credit score. Review your business credit report at least once yearly and dispute any inaccuracies to help keep your credit in good standing.
Keep your credit utilization ratio low
When you use too much of your available credit, it’s a sign to lenders that you’re experiencing tough financial times. Keep your credit utilization ratio below 30% to improve your credit score. That means if you have $100,000 of available credit, you should only use up to $30,000 at any given time.
Consider debt management options
If you have multiple business credit cards and other business loans with high interest, consider a consolidation loan. These loans typically come with lower interest and provide you the ability to make one monthly payment, so debt is easier to manage. Paying off revolving credit lines with a consolidation loan can also reduce your credit utilization ratio, resulting in a better credit score.
How Ramp can help you build your business credit score
Are you ready to put your business’s financial growth in overdrive? Then it’s time to get Ramp.
Ramp is a modern expense management platform that comes with a spending account. The company uses sales-based underwriting, making the card easy to qualify for, even if you have no credit history.
Ramp also comes with compelling expense management features, accounting integrations, and more. The platform offers bill-pay features that can help you build your credit score by eliminating the risk of late payments.
Find out how Ramp can help you grow your business today.
It’s wise to check your business credit score and report at least once per year, or more often if you are working toward financial goals related to your credit.
The factors that impact your business credit score include:
- Payment history
- Outstanding balances
- Credit utilization ratio
- Trade experiences
- Years in business
- Business size
Depending on your approach, it may take three or more years to build a good business credit score. You can achieve a higher score by paying down balances, keeping credit utilization low, and always making on-time payments.