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Trade References

A trade reference is the payment experience information provided by a supplier on its customer. Trade references are comprised of 7 base variables, which represent the credit-worthiness of the suppliers’ customers. The variables are: reporting date or as-of date, manner of payment, rolling 12-month high credit (highest amount of credit used), current total amount owing, current total past due, selling terms, and date of last sale.

Some trade references may not qualify for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • D&B works together with thousands of nationwide vendors that report payment experiences on a regular basis. These data providers have requested to remain anonymous and cannot be added by a customer for trade reference.
  • Some types of companies do not respond to D&B’s requests for information within a reasonable time frame. D&B will make 6 attempts to contact a company that has been selected to provide trade reference, and will accept inbound references at any time. However, a customer may resubmit references at any time, after which D&B will make 6 more attempts.
  • Certain companies have proven, over time, to be less trustworthy. Accordingly, D&B has identified certain characteristics associated with companies and maintains policies related to the eligibility of that company to provide a reference.


The following kinds of trade references are amongst those that are not accepted by D&B:

  • Payments that have not yet been made but are anticipated
  • Payments to businesses that have shared principals or some other type of legal ownership relationship
  • Financial services: banks, credit unions, and insurance
  • Bank references
  • Utilities and gas companies
  • Credit card companies
  • Landlords
  • Virtual offices
  • Credit counseling or registered agents
  • International companies
  • Businesses with an unknown SIC

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