BUSINESS CREDIT

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Why Do I Need Business Credit Monitoring?

Credit reports and scores are key to the health of your business. They will affect the kind of business loans or credit cards you can get and their interest rates, insurance premiums and what you pay for your business supplies. Creditors will also be looking at your credit reports, and can deny your application if your business credit score gets too low.

Monitoring your business credit score keeps you in the know about how your business is doing, and can be the key to avoiding disaster. By monitoring your credit score consistently, you can catch and address changes to your rating before they affect future dealings. Also, regular checking is a good way to spot identity theft early before it escalates. Also, you can catch any errors.

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Can Business Credit Monitoring Help Prevent Identity Theft?

First, let’s define what business identity theft is. Also called corporate or commercial identity theft, this involves illegally impersonating a business (or a business’s employee) for criminal gain. A thief takes on your business’s identify and then, it’s off to the races — for the criminal, of course. For businesses just starting out, the financial damage of business identity theft can be severe.

If your business loses a lot of money, it could default on financial obligations. Your business credit score could be ruined, your business could get into trouble with the Internal Revenue Service, and your business’s reputation could be shot.

You can start by monitoring your business’s credit report, but keep this in mind: Doing this doesn’t necessarily prevent identity theft but it may alert you to it. This is why. A thief hacking into your computer, or phishing, or fake invoices are among myriad scams and criminal activity that can result in theft of your business’s identity. Monitoring your business’s credit profile is a way to pick up on red flags about any potential fraud — for example, a cratering credit score or mysterious transactions.

The best way to prevent identity theft? Watch everything like a hawk. Look at and reconcile all account statements, credit reports and business registration information (for both active and closed accounts). Regularly. That way, you’ll be in a better position to spot irregularities.

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Common Questions

What is business credit monitoring?

Business crediting monitoring, in a nutshell, is keeping track of a business’s credit history. Seeing how a business has handled financial obligations over time is a way to assess a business’s creditworthiness — something that potential lenders and suppliers would be very interested in.

A business credit report has information about a business that would point to creditworthiness or lack thereof — its operations, financials and many other aspects of its borrowing activities. Such a report enumerates the type of credit a business uses, how long accounts have been open and if a business pays its bills on time. The health of a business credit report will help determine if other companies want to do business with that business and on what terms.

In addition to being a tool to assess potential business performance, monitoring credit is a good way to spot identity theft or fraud. For example, alerts can be set up to catch suspicious activity.

Anyone can pull a business credit report, unlike personal credit reports, so it behooves a business owner to be apprised of what the heck is in that report.

How often do business credit scores change?

Does a business credit score change hourly, daily, monthly, too often?

The answer is simple. Your credit score changes when new information appears on your business credit report.

Business credit reports have data reported by creditors, including credit card companies, vendors, banks, to name a few. Most creditors voluntarily update credit reporting agencies every month. Remember, though: vendors, creditors and the like are not required to supply information for such agencies for business credit reports.

The business credit score changes depending the story the data tell, data that includes things like payment history, outstanding debt, company size, company age, and industry type (and mostly, industry risk). Let’s say your business has had a sterling on-time payment history; then, one year, your business starts to tank and you have a string of late payments. If reported to the credit bureau, your credit score could change (probably downward) in a matter of weeks.