All businesses need to rely on credit from time to time. The phrase “never a lender nor a borrower be” does not apply to our businesses as much as it may apply to our household finances. Debt is not a dirty word for businesses. As long as it is carefully managed, borrowing can help you to maintain healthy cash flow, fund your growth, help you break into a new market, and invest in adding value to your brand.
The better your credit score, the greater your access to good quality business finance at favorable rates. So you can enjoy the benefits of borrowing without high interest rates putting the squeeze on your cash flow. But how do you check your credit score without spending money?
Here we’ll look at some ways to check your credit and not have to pay a single red cent. But first, it’s important to understand…
How is my business credit score calculated?
Although they use different scoring models, business credit scores are calculated using the same metrics as your personal credit score. Credit reporting services weigh up the following to get the measure of your credit score:
How much you owe
The age of your debts
Your repayment history
Your credit mix (the different kinds of credit you have)
Credit reporting agencies like Experian or Dun & Bradstreet rank your business credit score from 1 to 100. The closer you are to 100, the better. Consumer FICO scores are ranked from 300 to 850.
What is a good credit score for a business?
Both credit score models use numeric values to denote your credit rating. In both cases, the higher the number the better your credit score. So a consumer FICO score of over 800 is considered “excellent”, as is a Dun & Bradstreet or Experian ranking between 80 and 100.
Free credit checking options
Running a business means that you don’t have time to jump through administrative hoops trying to find out your company’s credit score. You need quick and easy access to your credit score, so you know what lines of credit are available to you when you need them. Whether your credit score is excellent or poor, it’s important to know so that you can take appropriate actions to build your credit score if needed.
The good news is that there are a couple of free services that will allow you to check your credit score free of charge.
Dun & Bradstreet Credit Signal
Dun & Bradstreet’s free offering won’t allow you full access to your credit report or your credit score. However, it will alert you to changes in your credit score month by month, get a summary of all the activity on your credit file, and find out how often your credit file is accessed by other parties.
In order to apply for this service, you will first need to apply for a D-U-N-S Number. This is a nine-digit identification number that is unique to your business.
Dun & Bradstreet also offers a paid subscription service starting at $135 per month that gives you more in-depth access to your credit report and score.
Nav business credit reports
Nav offers you a free summary of your Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian business credit reports. It also has some useful tools to help you to build your business credit.
While this can be useful for an overview, you can get more detailed information by signing up to Nav’s paid service Nav Business Manager. This costs $29.99 a month and gives you full access to your full Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Equifax credit reports. It also allows you to dispute any errors or inaccuracies that you see in your report.
We can help
If you’re interested in finding out more about your business credit score, business finance, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.