The majority of us can easily identify with the three major consumer credit reporting agencies known as Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. These are privately held companies that specialize in collecting data on consumers and then compiling the data in a format known as a credit report.
Did you know that there are companies that collect data specifically on businesses? These privately held companies are known as business credit bureaus and they compile their data into a format called a business credit report. They collect data from banks, suppliers, finance companies, business owners, and look at public records such as tax liens, bankruptcies, and judgments.
It’s important for you to get your company listed because it can make the process of getting business credit and financing much easier but keep in mind that there is over 25 other business credit bureaus not listed here and some are even industry specific such as trucking or construction. You may want to look into some of these particular bureaus to get listed with in addition to the top 10 depending on the type of industry your business is in.
Here are my Top 10 Business Credit Bureaus you should know:
- Dun and Bradstreet (D&B): D&B is the primary business credit reporting agency with over 70 million businesses registered in their database. A business credit file with D&B contains information provided by the business owner and vendors of the business. D&B issues a paydex score based on payment experiences and a DUNS rating based on financials.
- Equifax Small Business Enterprise: Equifax, one of the three primary consumer credit reporting agencies, also provides business credit evaluations for over 22,000,000 small businesses and corporations.
- Experian SmartBusinessReportsTM: Experian is another one of the three primary consumer credit reporting agencies who provides business credit evaluations as well. Unlike D&B and Equifax, Experian’s SmartBusinessReportsTM doesn’t assign a business credit score.
- FDInsight™: This is a company that is relatively new to the business credit market. It was originally the second largest credit reporting company in the mortgage broker field. The information on their business files is provided by the business owner or a third party and then every piece of information is verified by the staff of FDInsight™. They are known to provide the most accurate business credit report in the industry.
- Credit.net: Credit.net is a division of InfoUSA that generates credit reports on approximately 15,000,000 businesses. The credit analysis provided by Credit.net relies on four criteria: years in business, number of employees, public records, and stability within the industry. Its business credit score is a grading system from A through C (70-100) and is awarded as an evaluation of the company’s credit history.
- AccurintTMBusiness: This is a new business that is a combination of forces between The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and LexisNexis. Accurint Business is like Experian in that they provide public and business profile information, including credit history based on payment patterns of small, medium, and large companies.
- ClientChecker: This is a credit reporting bureau that started in 2003 and specifically targets small businesses, freelance professionals, and contractors searching for information to help them determine which other businesses they should do business with. Rather than providing a fixed business credit score, ClientChecker compiles information based on feedback from its members.
- Paynet: Paynet collects real-time loan information from more than 200 leading U.S. lenders. The company’s database has a collection of commercial loans and leases. It’s the largest proprietary database of long-term debt over a period of ten years.
- Cortera: Cortera provides credit information on businesses large and small but then combines it with ratings from a community of small business owners, who provide feedback both good and bad on these businesses.
- ChexSystems: The tenth reporting agency is extremely important as it has to do with your ability to open up a business checking account with a financial institution. Banks use a reporting agency known as ChexSystems which is a network comprised of member Financial Institutions that regularly contribute information on mishandled checking and savings accounts to a central location.
These business credit bureaus allow your business to establish its own credit profile, scores, and payment history. As a business owner you should know who the major business credit bureaus are and what type of data they collect on your business. Knowing this will give you greater insight into getting listed and established in the business credit industry.