The top three commercial credit bureaus, also known as business credit reporting agencies, dominate the commercial credit reporting world with their commercial credit reports. Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian are the three major go-to commercial credit bureaus for checking your commercial credit score.
The major difference between commercial credit reports and personal credit scores is that consumers are entitled to one free credit report annually, while this doesn’t exist for businesses. This article will cover everything you need to know about the top 3 major commercial credit bureaus so you can decide which choice is right for your business.
Dun & Bradstreet
Dun and Bradstreet (D&B), one of the oldest and largest of the major commercial credit bureaus, has a global commercial database that contains more than 225 million business records. The companies in their database range from private to public to U.S. based to international companies. D&B helps companies utilize their data so that they can make smarter financial decisions for their business.
One of their major offerings is the D-U-N-S (Data Universal Numbering System) number, which is a nine-digit identifier for businesses. A D-U-N-S number is incredibly useful for your business since lenders and business partners may ask for it to determine if your business is a financially reliable company to do business with. If you’re looking to expand your business, companies outside of the U.S. may also ask for your D-U-N-S number. You can get a D-U-N-S number for free but you may need to go through a validation process that can cost $329 to $799. These two services are called DNB Credit Builder ($329) and DNB Credit Builder Plus ($599).
How does D&B collect data provided in their commercial credit reports?
To collect its data, D&B relies on information from public records, vendors, and collection agencies. Many lenders and banks will use the PAYDEX report to see if they’re going to grant your business loan eligibility and what your interest will be.
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Dun & Bradstreet's rating scale & factors used in scoring
D&B uses five different rating scales to provide accurate commercial credit reports. The five credit scores and how they work are as follows:
PAYDEX® Score: The PAYDEX® score analyzes how businesses pay vendors and suppliers on time or if they’re late on payments. The rating scale is from 0-100 with 100 being the absolute best. Lenders and banks often rely on this score to determine if loan eligibility and interest rates.
D&B Score: This score analyzes the financial stability of a company by checking their balance statements, company size, and how long it’s been established. Two scores are in this score including the financial strength rating (uses numbers and letters based on the company’s size), and the risk indicator score (ranges from 1-4, 4 being the highest risk).
Delinquency Predictor Score: This score is used to predict the likelihood of a business becoming a delinquent or shutting down within a year. The three ways this score is classified is through a percentage (1-100, 100 being lowest risk), a class (1 to 5, 1 being lowest risk), and a raw score (101-670, 670 being lowest risk).
Failure Score: This score determines if a business will face financial hardship within the next year. The three ways this score is classified is through a percentage (1-100, 1 being highest risk), a class (1 to 5, 1 being lowest risk), and a raw score (1,001 to 1,875, 1,001 meaning highest risk).
Viability Rating: This score rates the possibility of a company going out of business. The four components that make up this score are a viability score (1 to 9, 1 is lowest risk), portfolio comparison (1 to 9, 1 being best), data depth code (A-M), and company profile code (A-Z).
How to contact Dun & Bradstreet to correct errors on your commercial credit report
If you notice that your commercial credit reports are not up to date or are inaccurate, then you can contact D&B’s customer service department at 800-234-3867 to resolve the issue. You can also visit the D-U-N-S® Manager and fill out a free application if you’re a U.S. based, non-public commercial company. With this application, you’ll be able to request updates to add to your business.
How long does information stay on D&B commercial credit report?
When it comes to the PAYDEX® report, there are two options for long information that is viewable which is based on up to 874 payments reported to D&B by vendors. The Standard PAYDEX® report shows the business’ payment trends based on 24 months of activity. The 3-month PAYDEX® report shows up to 3 months of payment information.
Experian is another one of the major commercial credit bureaus. Experian currently has credit information on approximately 40 million active U.S. businesses and is a global leader in providing information and analytical services to businesses to help them prevent risk.
Experian offers a variety of business credit reports and subscriptions.
Standard CreditScore reports cost $39.95, detailed ProfilePlus reports are $49.95, Business Credit Advantage reports cost $189 annually, and Business CreditScore Pro Subscription Plans cost $1,495 annually.
How Experian collects data provided in their commercial credit reports?
To put together its business credit reports, Experian collects its data from legal filings from local, country and state courts; company background information from independent sources such as state filing offices, public records, credit card companies, etc., and credit obligation information from supplies and lenders.
Experian Business' rating scale & factors used in scoring
The Experian rating scale ranges from 1 to 100 and the closer to 100 the better. The top factors that can affect this score include payment history, delinquent payments, risk associated with business type, industry sector, years in business, inquiries, collections and liens, and new lines of opened credit.
How small businesses can report to Experian
To report to Experian, you’ll need to download their membership contractual documents for consideration. These documents include data reporting membership application, data release agreement, and subscriber questionnaire document. Once completed, send the application to firstname.lastname@example.org and answer the following questions in the email:
- How are you planning to send your data file?
- Using an external Data processing company? If yes, which company?
- Will your team send the files directly to Experian? If yes, please attach it with your application.
- How many accounts/records do you have to report?
- Are you an e-OSCAR user?
- Additional information about e-OSCAR and associated costs can be found at e-oscar.org or call 1-866-696-7227
- Do you have a timeline to start reporting?
How to contact Experian to correct errors on your commercial credit report
If you notice incorrect information on your commercial credit report, then you’ll need to circle the inaccurate areas on your report and add a brief explanation of why it’s incorrect. You’ll want to include any supporting documents and attach a cover page with your business name, address, email, and a note to ask to investigate the inaccuracies. Then you can either email it to email@example.com or mail it to
- Experian Commercial Relations
- P.O. Box 5001
- Costa Mesa, CA 92628
How long does information stay on Experian commercial credit report
Information stays on your information depending on the type of account.
- Open accounts in good standing stay on your report indefinitely, closed accounts in good standing, 10 years;
- late or missed payments, 7 years;
- collection accounts, 7 years;
- chapter 7 bankruptcy, 10 years;
- chapter 13 bankruptcy, 7 years; and
- credit inquiries, 2 years.
Equifax Small Business
Equifax is a global data, analytics, and technology company that collects information covering more than 88 million businesses worldwide. The company serves businesses from the U.S. and around the globe. Equifax Small Business is one of the three major commercial credit bureaus.
Equifax offers single business credit reports for $99.95, and a multi-pack of reports for $399.95. They also offer a subscription-based credit monitoring service for $16.95 a month and a business risk monitor service.
How Equifax collects data provided in their commercial credit reports?
Equifax is able to capture data from the Small Business Finance Exchange (SBFE) and the Equifax Small Business Enterprise which provides banking and leasing information.
Equifax Small Business' rating scale & factors used in scoring
Equifax provides three types of business scores such as the Business Failure Risk Score with a score range from 1,000 to 1,880, the Equifax Business Credit Risk Score with a score range from 101-992, and the delinquency score which ranges from 101 to 662.
How small businesses can report to Equifax
To report to Equifax you’ll need to have a minimum of 500 customers to be able to report on a monthly basis in the financial industry. If your business is in another industry, you will need to have a minimum of 2,000 customers to be able to report monthly. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
How to contact Equifax to correct errors on your commercial credit report
If you need to correct errors on your commercial credit reports, you can log into your Member Center account and contact Equifax via one of the options listed there. They will supply you with a Research Request Form. You will need to complete the Research Request Form and send it to them.
How long does information stay on my Equifax commercial credit report
Active credit accounts stay on reports as long as the account is open, closed accounts can stay on the report for up to 10 years, late payments remain on the report for up to 7 years, collection accounts stay open for up to 7 years, chapter 7 or 11 filed and discharged status bankruptcies remain active for 10 years, chapter 12 and 13 bankruptcies remain active for 7 years, and dismissed bankruptcies remain for 7 years.
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FICO® Small Business Scoring Service (SBSS)
The FICO® Small Business Scoring Service (SBSS) isn’t one of the commercial credit bureaus, but it does provide scores for small businesses to assess their credit risks. Many banks rely on the FICO® SBSS score to determine a business’ loan eligibility and creditworthiness. It’s essential for small businesses to make sure their commercial credit score and personal credit scores are excellent because these two scores factor into the FICO® SBSS score.
The FICO® SBSS Score determines a business’ probability of paying back a loan as well as their creditworthiness. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) asks lenders to use this score to pre-screen SBA 7(a) loans for $350,000 or less. This report is difficult to obtain because banks do not have to inform loan applicants that they use this scoring method to determine their loan eligibility.
How FICO® collects data provided in their commercial credit reports
FICO® is able to collect the data that’s provided in the FICO® SBSS report from major consumer and business credit reporting bureaus and by analyzing the documentation you sent your lender.
FICO® SBSS' rating scale & factors used in scoring
The rating scale range for the FICO® SBSS score is from 0-300, with 300 being the absolute best. Scores ranging from 140 to 180 are considered good to excellent scores.The SBA prefers scores of at least 140 for reports.
The FICO® SBSS score calculates your personal and business credit scores to determine your score. It’s able to collect this data from your personal credit history, business credit history among other bureaus, the age of the business, and financial data, assets and liabilities, cash flow, revenue, liens, and judgments.
How to contact FICO to correct errors on your commercial credit report?
The only way to ensure that your FICO® SBSS score is correct and up-to-date is to check on your personal and commercial credit scores through your credit bureaus. If you notice that your scores are low or not correct, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to raise your score or reach out to your specific business credit bureau to fix the changes.