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How to Check Another Business’s Credit

How to Run a Business Credit Check

Every small business owner knows that they need to build solid business credit in order to operate efficiently, and to maximize their business’s potential for growth. But as a business owner, you also need to make sure that your venders, suppliers, and partners are credible companies with reliable payment records. If a business that supplies one of your key components declares bankruptcy or fails to repay a significant loan, it can rapidly affect you, your employees, and your customers.

Being able to periodically perform basic credit checks on your suppliers is an important operational ability for every small business, and once you know how to run a business credit check, you will be able to effectively monitor not only your vendors, but also your own business. This allows you to catch and correct any mistakes on your business’s credit profile, ensuring that you have the best possible chance to secure financing when you need it.

Step 1

Make sure that your business is registered with one or more of the major business credit reporting bureaus, such as Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, or Experian. You can register online in only a few minutes. Once you have completed the registration process, you will be able to begin requesting business credit checks.

Step 2

Request the business’s identification information, either an EIN or D&B D-U-N-S® number. An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is supplied by the government; a D-U-N-S® number is a 9-digit ID generated by Dun & Bradstreet for credit reporting purposes. Use either ID number to request a credit report online from the credit bureau and make sure to stipulate how much information you are looking to receive.

Step 3

If you request a report from Dun & Bradstreet, then the report will include an easy to understand PAYDEX® score, which is a simple numerical indicator of creditworthiness. PAYDEX® scores fall between 1 and 100, with low numbers signifying a high risk of late payment, and high scores indicating little or no risk. A business with a PAYDEX® score above 75 is considered very reliable, as they reliably pay their bills on time or ahead of time.

Step 4

Take a look at any additional data included in the report, including information on collections accounts, business liens, and past financial problems. If you are unsatisfied, then consider checking the personal credit of the business owner. Many small businesses, especially start-ups, are financed in part or fully based on the owner’s personal credit score.

Author:

Marshall Walker Lee graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Michigan's Honors College with degrees in Writing and Philosophy. As a freelance writer and designer he has developed branding strategies and programming for J. Walter Thompson, Nike, the Kellogg Foundation, Spike TV, Sony Films, and General Motors. He is the co-founder and director of Poor Claudia, a 501(c)3 non-profit publishing enterprise based in Portland, Oregon.