When I get a question about building or rebuilding credit from an individual, the first thing I recommend they do is go to AnnualCreditReport.com and get their free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. (I am not a fan of staggering requests and getting one every four months. If there is a mistake, I want to know about it right away.)
I give the same advice to small business owners, since strong business and personal credit are important. However, when it comes to checking your business credit report, it’s a little more complicated. Here’s how you get your business credit reports from the major commercial credit agencies:
D&B: After searching to determine if your business is listed with D&B, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase a variety of business credit report products. These range from an individual report, to ongoing credit monitoring, to DUNS File Creator which can help expedite the credit building process. Details and current prices can be found at DNB.com.
Cortera (formerly eCredit.com): You can get basic information about your businesses’ credit for free. If you want a full report, you’ll pay just $3. Simply go to Cortera.com and search for the name of your company. If no report is found, you can enter the necessary information to create your profile.
Equifax: No service is available to check your own commercial credit report with Equifax. If you are turned down for credit based on information in Equifax’s commercial credit database, the creditor should give you instructions for requesting a copy of your report. (If not, be sure to ask.)
Experian: At the Experian Small Business website, you’ll first search to see if your business has a credit profile. If it does, you’ll be offered credit report products to purchase, ranging from a credit score, to a single report, to credit monitoring.
Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE): The SBFE database is managed by Equifax, and just like Equifax, you cannot simply order a copy of your commercial credit report. If you are turned down for credit based on information in the SBFE database, you will be given instructions for ordering a copy of your report. (If you have a bank loan, you may want to ask the bank if they will share a copy of your report with you.)
As I mentioned in my inaugural post, there may be specialty credit reporting agencies that serve your industry. To find out whether that’s the case, talk with some of your lenders or vendors, or ask the trade association for your business. You may or may not be able to request a copy of your businesses’ credit rating from specialty agencies, but it never hurts to ask!
Have you checked your business credit reports in the last year? What did you discover? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
Gerri Detweiler’s mission is to provide reliable, unbiased answers to your credit questions. She is the co-author of Business Credit Success: Get on the Financing Fast Track and serves as Personal Finance Advisor for Credit.com.