How to check your business credit score
Maintaining a good credit score is an essential part of running a successful business.
Your business credit score represents your company’s creditworthiness which shows prospective partners, investors and suppliers that you have a good track record of paying your dues on time.
If you’re seeking external financing, such as business loans, or simply want to put your best foot forward, the first step to improving your credit score is to know where you currently stand.
In this article, we’ll help you learn how business credit scores work and how to check your company’s credit score in five different ways.
Top Tip: A low personal credit score can affect the creditworthiness of a new business and make it difficult to get financing. However, there are still ways to improve your business credit. Learn how to build business credit with a low personal credit rating 💰
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How do business credit scores work?
Business credit scores in the UK are generated by credit reporting agencies (CRAs, also called credit bureaus), such as Equifax and Experian, and reported to lenders, suppliers and others who may request your score.
CRAs take into account several things to calculate a business’s credit score, like how long a company has been in operation, whether or not a company has previously defaulted on payments and more.
So, if you’ve been clearing your balances on time, keeping your credit utilisation ratio in check and your suppliers have reported your good credit behaviour, there’s a higher chance that your business will be deemed creditworthy and acceptable for a loan.
Each business credit rating agency uses a different method to measure and rank your creditworthiness. They use a diverse scoring range to help you (and lenders) judge the quality of your score.
Top Tip: Building a strong business credit score takes time, but it can help you land better financing options, interest rates and repayment terms. Learn what a business credit score is, how it’s calculated and why it’s important in our guide on everything you need to know about your business credit score 💡
Does my business have its own credit score?
It’s important to remember that personal credit scores and business credit scores are different. When your business is new and doesn’t have an established credit history, lenders may investigate your personal credit score to see if you’re creditworthy.
Keeping your business transactions separate from personal finances, such as having a separate business bank account and business credit card for company use, can help mitigate issues when applying for business financing.
Top Tip: If you have a poor personal credit rating, it can affect your business’s financing and credit card eligibility, especially if it’s a new business. However, it’s still possible to finance your business. Learn how to build business credit with a low personal credit rating 💷
What is a good business credit score?
Typically, a score in the top 20% of the range is considered a “good business credit score”. The range itself differs depending on the CRA calculating and reporting it.
Here are the business credit reporting scales from two of the top UK CRAs:
Experian business credit scores
Experian’s business credit score ranges from 1–100, where anything above 81 is considered a good score (or low risk).
Here’s a breakdown of Experian’s business credit scores and risk descriptions:
- A business credit score of 0 signifies a “failing company”
- A business credit score of 0–1 signifies an “imminently-failing company”
- A business credit score of 2–15 signifies a “maximum-risk company”
- A business credit score of 16–25 signifies a “high-risk company”
- A business credit score of 25–50 signifies an “above average risk company”
- A business credit score of 51–80 signifies a “below-average risk company”
- A business credit score of 81–90 signifies a “low-risk company”
- A business credit score of 91–100 signifies a “very low-risk company”
Equifax business credit scores
Equifax offers several different types of business credit scoring to answer the different questions lenders have. Lenders, prospective partners and suppliers may request any of these scores in a report in order to assess whether or not to do business with your company.
For example, the ScoreCheck Score is also calculated on a 0–100 scale, with 0 being the worst score and 100 being the highest score, and is accompanied by an A–F rating. It’s up to the lenders which ratings they will accept.
Top Tip: If you fall into any of the “low” credit score brackets, you’ll need to look for ways to improve your business credit score to secure better loans and rates. Learn how to increase your business credit score 📈
Does the UK use FICO scores?
If you’ve done any searching online for how to check your business credit score, you’ve probably come across FICO scores. FICO is a universal scoring system used in the US. However, in the UK, there is no universal credit scoring system. Instead, lenders request scoring information from their trusted CRAs.
This makes it easier for lenders to get more specific and detailed information related to their purposes, but arguably, it makes it a little more difficult for businesses to analyse their score against others in the market.
5 ways to check your business credit score
You can access your business credit score from many CRAs for free. However, some credit scoring companies charge a fee for giving you access to their report breakdowns or for monitoring credit scores over time.
Here are five ways to check your business credit score online.
Business credit reports generated by Experian offer detailed insight into your business’s financial stability, which helps you better analyse your current position and make more informed business decisions.
Experian’s My Business Profile subscription is ideal for small businesses that are looking to manage their credit scores in real time, as the reports dive deep into what impacts their credit score.
It shows you the top five factors affecting your score and also includes commercial CAIS data so you can monitor what lenders see while making credit decisions about your business.
Once you sign up with Experian, you can also receive automatic updates regarding any changes to your score.
To sign up for My Business Profile with Experian (or their free three-month trial), you need to be a registered director or owner of the business.
As we mentioned above, Equifax has a range of reports that give credit information about your business.
Lenders might choose to obtain your credit scoring information from Equifax if they want more specific information, like whether a business is likely to declare bankruptcy soon or whether a business is involved in fraudulent activity.
Equifax will also provide you with a statutory business credit report that simplifies the information they hold about your business so it’s easier to understand.
If you are a company secretary, a director of a limited company, a business owner or a partner, you can request your business credit report from Equifax by filling out an application.
Creditsafe has one of the most predictive credit scoring systems in the industry. Insurers favour them for their multinational, comprehensive reports.
If you’re a registered director of your business, you can request your free credit report from Creditsafe. Your business credit report will include:
- Business verification
- Your credit score and maximum recommended credit limits
- Key risk indicators (such as County Court Judgments)
- Company information (such as Directors and shareholders)
Creditsafe works with all types of credit teams, from micro-businesses to SMEs to enterprise organisations. You can also request a customised solution for your business.
Credit Passport is another free service you can use to run a business credit check online.
This platform uses bank data to show how the financial system views you. Credit Passport’s check is considered a soft inquiry and doesn’t hurt your overall credit profile.
All reports generated by Credit Passport are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and their rating system is one of the easiest to understand.
Credit Passport offers a basic look at your business credit score for free, but they also offer a subscription plan that aims to help you improve your business credit score.
In both the basic and subscription packages, Credit Passport will show you offers based on your score. They’ll also provide you with a pre-COVID-19 crisis credit report in case your business was badly affected by the pandemic.
Credit Monitor is a business credit reporting solution by recognised CRA Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) that helps you see your viability as a credit partner.
The D&B Credit Monitor solution gives you:
- Access to your D&B Payment Score (which checks your payment history to see if you have a tendency to make late payments)
- Access to your company’s Cash Flow Risk score
- Your D-U-N-S number (a proprietary number used by the agency)
- A comparison of your scores to other related businesses
- A chance to update inaccurate information that is being reported to lenders
- Your maximum credit recommendation
Once you sign up with D&B’s Credit Monitor, you can see your score and get email alerts, mobile app notifications and prompts on the dashboard when someone requests to see your credit score.
Checking your business credit score can help you evaluate your current financial position.
Learning where you stand is a key step in improving your creditworthiness and growing your business by securing better financing options, payment terms, interest rates and more.
You can use any of the tools listed in this article to check your business credit score online. Remember, the more data you have, the better decisions you’ll be able to make for the future of your business.
If you’re looking to build a strong business credit score, open a free business bank account with Tide and explore our various credit options today.
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