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Business Credit Bureaus and How They Work

business credit informationThere are three major business credit bureaus operating in the United States. Knowing about these credit bureaus and how they work could help you take better control of your business. Companies that maintain positive credit ratings often have better reputations, access to low-interest credit, and the ability to attract more partners and investors.

When you understand how business credit bureaus work, you can help ensure that your credit history works for you.

Major Business Credit Bureaus

There are several major business credit bureaus operating in the United States, including Dun & Bradstreet. These companies act like giant networks that gather information about businesses. They then sell the information that they gather to clients so they can make informed decisions before extending credit or services to consumers and businesses.

It is important to understand that your credit rating and history can vary from bureau to bureau. The reason behind this becomes more obvious when you learn how business credit bureaus gather information.

Gathering Information for Credit Reports

Credit bureaus use two strategies to gather information about businesses. Bureaus can take an active stance by researching public records for information about businesses. Public records include documents used in court cases and documents that grant permission to construct buildings on specific areas of land.

Credit bureaus also rely on companies to submit information to them. For instance, if your business fails to pay its phone bill on time, then the phone service provider will likely report the late payment to some or all of the credit bureaus. This passive form of research allows credit bureaus to gather information from a wide variety of sources so that they offer a more complete version of a business’s financial stability. Since this plays such an important role in the credit bureau’s report, you can improve your business’s rating by paying every bill on time.

Not all companies report the same information to all of the credit bureaus. In some cases, you could find that one credit bureau has more information about your business than the other bureaus. Checking the reports of the top four bureaus, therefore, will help ensure that your credit rating is accurate so that potential lenders and partners can access information that truly represents your business’s financial situation.



Matt Thompson has written for numerous online and print publications. He has spent time as an editor for a media research company that supplies marketing materials to some of the country's most influential corporations.