Business credit reporting agencies gather and analyze information about a business to help provide insight to others into the financial stability and reliability of the company.
There are numerous business credit reporting agencies, but the largest and most widely used scores are generated by Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax. The smaller credit reporting agencies used today vary by the industry of the business, or by who is interested in the creditworthiness of the business.
Who Are The “Big Three” Business Credit Bureaus?
- Dun & Bradstreet
Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax business credit scores and indexes are relied on by decision-makers across every industry. They help lenders, investors, as well as other businesses, to save time and money when approving potential partners or loan applicants.
Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax have dominated the industry for decades with roots that date back to before the turn of the century. All three business credit reporting agencies maintain a global database, separate from one another, that contains information and data on millions of businesses and consumers across the world.
While Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax continue to be the most widely used and recognized business credit agencies. that doesn’t mean they are the only ones that matter. There are a handful of ‘other’ business bureaus that gather data on businesses across the country. Each uses a proprietary method that is picking up speed in dependability and affordability compared to the ‘top 3’ agencies.
Top business credit reporting agencies:
A business credit reporting agency founded in 2006, Ansonia offers very concise business credit reports that were created in a user-friendly way. By making their business credit reports easier to understand, they’re making it easier for business owners to understand their credit and creditors to make educated decisions.
Ansonia credit reports include basic information on the company along with data on their payment experiences. Ansonia offers two scores: the credit rating and credit risk score. The Ansonia credit rating offers the business’s average purchases per month and approximate days-to-pay. The Ansonia credit risk score ranges from 0 – 100 with a score range of 70 – 95 reflecting a low-risk borrower.
Cortera is a business credit reporting agency providing commercial credit information on businesses and corporations. Established about 25 years ago as a transportation industry credit bureau, Cortera has since expanded to serve a wide variety of businesses across many industries. Included in Cortera’s credit reports are 5 business credit scores/indexes which offer insights into a business’s purchase behavior, payment history, as well as general business events.
CreditSafe is a business credit reporting agency offering comprehensive business credit reports in the US, and the UK.
The CreditSafe Risk Rating ranges from 1 to 100, where a score of 71 – 100 representing very low risk. This CreditSafe score predicts the likelihood that a company will become severely delinquent in their payment habits.
In addition, CreditSafe business credit reports include – average days beyond terms, a recommended credit limit, payment trends, inquiry trends, average business spend, and any tax liens and judgments filed in the last 6 years 9 months plus any bankruptcies filed in the last 9 years 9 months.
Credit.net is a business credit reporting agency that operates in the U.S. and Canada. Credit.net reports business credit information on approximately 15.5 million businesses. Credit.net business credit reports encompass financial, reputation, and public record information on each business in their database. All this business data is used to generate Credit.net’s business credit score which ranges from 1 – 100. The higher a Credit.net business credit score, the better. If a Credit.net business credit report displays a business credit score of less than 70, then Credit.net does not have enough data to calculate a business credit score. Credit.net will also include a recommended credit limit for the business.
- Dun & Bradstreet
Dun & Bradstreet, also referred to as D&B or DNB, is an international business credit reporting agency. D&B is the largest credit reporting agency, maintaining business credit information on more than 235 million companies across 200 countries.
Unlike the other two major business credit reporting bureaus, D&B only reports commercial data – they do not offer consumer credit reports. D&B credit reports can be generated by the company itself, or by creditors. A business should apply for its own DUNS number with the D&B credit bureau to make sure their D&B credit profile is created with accurate information and positively reflects a business’s creditworthiness.
Equifax is a credit reporting agency offering both business credit reports and consumer credit reports. They were originally founded in 1899 as the Retail Credit Company but changed their name to Equifax in 1975 to freshen their image because of the scrutiny they experienced between the 1960’s and 1970’s for openly selling consumer information. Today, Equifax maintains and owns credit information on over 800 million consumers and more than 88 million businesses worldwide.
Differing from the other two major business credit reporting bureaus, Equifax business credit reports only contain information from Equifax qualified vendors. Because of this, businesses are unable to call or request Equifax update their company information. Included in Equifax business credit reports are three scores, as well as general business information, public records, trade payment history, and more.
Experian is one of the largest international business credit reporting agencies. Experian business credit reports include business credit history information alongside the Intelliscore Plus and Financial Stability Risk Rating of a business to demonstrate the business’s financial stability and reliability.
PayNet is a business credit reporting agency with a database containing over 22 million contracts from small business loans, leases, and lines of credit. PayNet Business Credit History Reports include the PayNet MasterScore, which predicts a borrower’s risk based on 135 key variables that impact a business’s repayment performance. The PayNet MasterScore ranges from 450 – 800, where the lower the score, the higher the risk a borrow is deemed to be.
You cannot purchase PayNet business credit reports, the business must call and request a copy.
TransCredit is a business credit reporting agency which specializes in generating trucking industry credit reports. The transportation and trucking industry has very high barriers to entry due to how costly it is to remain front-and-center. Most trucking companies rely on business credit to fund operations, purchase a fleet, and/or factor invoices. TransCredit offers credit reports that are specific to this industry’s need’s.
TransCredit’s Transportation Credit Score™ ranges from 0 to 100, where a score of 0 means that the company does not have enough information to generate a score. A low-risk borrower would have a score of 90 or above. TransCredit trucking industry credit reports also list the Overall Days to Pay™, which is the average number of days it took the trucking company to pay their invoices over the last 6 months.
Business credit reporting agency awareness
There are many more business credit reporting agencies – depending on your industry one or all might impact your company. It’s important to be knowledgeable of their existence and understand that each business credit bureau has their own information sources and may report different/conflicting business credit information that is important for your company’s financial future. This does not mean that you need to purchase every single business credit report, as many business credit bureaus specialize in certain industries. Contact a business credit specialist for assistance in determining which business credit reporting agency is most relevant to your business, as well as how to best read each relevant business credit report.