Do Businesses Really have a Credit Score?

Do businesses actually have a credit score? The short answer is — yes. And, these measures of financial responsibility are calculated much in the same way individual credit worthiness is determined. Although it’s not something that’s widely discussed or known about in the consumer world, businesses do have credit histories, and therefore detailed reports which give them scores. Read on to learn the basics about business credit scores and what you need to know.

How Business Credit Scores are Calculated

As mentioned above, a business credit score is measured very similar to the way individual scores are calculated. Meaning, the length of credit history, types of credit used, payment history, debts owed, and other factors. Unsurprisingly, the better a business handles its financials, the better score it earns.
Businesses of all sizes may need credit. A carpenter with no employees may want to borrow money to buy equipment. A marketing professional with a few employees may be ready to purchase furniture and computers for a new office. A salon owner with subcontractors but no employees may want to buy, rather than rent, commercial property. Any type of business could benefit from a business credit card. —US News and World Report
Of course, there are some differences, one of the most minor being the scores themselves. While individual credit scores range from a low of 300 to a high of 850, business scores range from 0 to 100, with 100 being the highest. Additionally, business credit scoring services use different models in order to determine the creditworthiness of companies. Also, instead of there being three main credit reporting bureaus for individuals, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, there are two principal business credit scoring entities: Dun & Bradstreet and Experian.

How to Improve a Business’ Credit Score

Since business credit scores rely on many of the same elements as individual consumers, nearly the same factors are used to assign a credit worthiness score. So, in order to maintain or improve a business’s credit score, companies must do the following:
  • Keep debts manageable. Opening too many accounts and taking on large amounts of debt will only increase your financial risk. This not only hurts your business’s credit worthiness, it also puts a lot of strain on you as the owner. This is why it’s best to keep your credit accounts to a minimum and pay off as much debt as possible.
  • Utilize different types of credit. Credit mix is also a consideration, meaning businesses having different types of credit accounts. While it’s advantageous to have various types of credit, it is equally advantageous to keep these to a minimum so you’re able to pay what’s owed in a timely manner. For instance, you might finance or lease vehicles through your business, have a business credit card, and maintain vendor credit accounts. All of these will go into determining your business’s creditworthiness.
  • Be vigilant with your personal credit. One misnomer that entrepreneurs have about business credit is that it’s somehow separate from their personal credit and/or financial responsibilities. However, this is completely false. Business credit accounts almost always require an individual or personal guarantee. This of course means that if the business defaults on a line of credit, you are personally responsible for that particular debt. Moreover, business credit is partially scored on your personal credit, so it’s best to maintain a good personal score for the benefit of your company’s creditworthiness.
What other suggestions do you have about maintaining a business’ credit score? Please take a moment to share your thoughts and experiences so others can benefit from your perspective! Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.

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