Your business can have its own credit report, but unlike consumer credit reports, there’s no federal law that requires credit reporting agencies to provide those reports for free. However, there are sources that allow you to view reports from the major commercial credit reporting agencies at no charge.
Business and consumer credit reports are similar in that both provide information on how the subject of the report pays its credit obligations, such as credit cards and loans. Business credit reports (also known as commercial reports) may also contain information about trade or supplier credit. These are accounts that allow businesses to purchase and pay for goods or services later, with net-10 or net-30-day repayment terms, for example. Utility accounts, which don’t traditionally appear on consumer credit reports, may appear on small-business credit reports.
Just as the public-record portion of a consumer credit report may contain information filed with a court, such as bankruptcies or tax liens, business credit reports may include those items, as well as judgments and Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings.
Why You Should Check and Monitor Business Credit Reports
Lenders, suppliers, prospective business partners—anyone, really—can check your business credit report. Unlike consumer reports, there is no restriction on who can access your business credit report. According to the Federal Reserve 2019 Small Business Credit Survey, 54% of business owners said they relied either on business credit or a combination of business and personal credit when applying for financing.
Business Credit Reporting Agencies
There are a number of national commercial credit reporting agencies. A few include:
- Dun & Bradstreet
In addition, the Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE) is a nonprofit trade association that collects small-business data and makes it available through certified vendors that currently include Dun & Bradstreet, LexisNexis, Equifax, and Experian. It is not a credit bureau, and business owners cannot request or review data on their business directly from SBFE, but are directed to contact the certified vendors.
Only a couple of national credit reporting agencies directly provide business owners with a copy of their free credit report.
Free Business Credit Reports
|Source||Credit Reports & Score Provided||Cost|
|Nav||Summary reports for Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian
Letter grades indicating score range for each report
|Dun & Bradstreet CreditSignal||Dun & Bradstreet basic report
Score improvement indicators, but no score
|Credit.net||Credit.net credit report
Business credit score
Nav offers free credit report services, with a free summary of business credit reports from Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian, along with a letter grade including the credit-score range for each. It also includes Business Launcher, a free tool that guides business owners in building business credit.
Fill out an online request form at My.Creditsafe.com and claim your business credit report. You will then be asked to talk with a Creditsafe representative to fully activate your report.
Dun & Bradstreet CreditSignal
You can sign up for a free CreditSignal report online. You will receive a credit report that includes basic company information, payment history, and public filings. You’ll also get a summary of changes to your business’ various Dun & Bradstreet credit scores (including the D&B PAYDEX score), but not the actual scores.
Once you enroll, both Dun & Bradstreet and Creditsafe may offer other products that, for a fee, will help you build business credit.
With a free trial (no credit card required) you can request a single report on your business for free at Credit.net. The report includes company information, legal filings, and a business credit score.
Sources for Paid Business Credit Reports
If you want to pay for a copy of your business credit report, you can do that too. There are several options at different price points.
|Source||Credit Reports & Score Provided||Cost|
|Ansonia||Ansonia credit report
|$10 for a single report|
|Equifax||Equifax credit report
Two risk scores
|$99.99 for a single report, $399.95 for a multi-pack of five|
|Experian||Experian summary report or full detailed report, depending on the plan purchased
Intelliscore and Financial Stability Risk rating
|$179 per year or $39.99 to $99 for each report|
|Nav||Full credit reports and scores from Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian
Credit score for each
|$29.99 to $49.99 per month|
The Bottom Line
Your business credit report can help you and your customers understand the financial health of your business. Knowing how to access it may be useful when applying for a business loan, too. With these free and paid resources, you can get your business credit report in no time.
Editor’s Note: Gerri Detweiler is the current education director for Nav.