The Bureaus – Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, & Equifax
Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax have roots that date back to before the turn of the century. All three maintain a global database, separate from one another, that contains information and data on millions of businesses and consumers.
Here is some history…
- Dun & Bradstreet can be traced back to 1841 when Lewis Tappen founded The Mercantile Agency in response to the recognized need for a centralized credit reporting system. The Dun & Bradstreet that we know today was created during a merger of 1933 between the former Mercantile Agency, R.G. Dun & Company, and its competitor The John M. Bradstreet Company. Unlike the other two bureaus, D&B only reports commercial data – they do not offer consumer credit reports. Today they operate and maintain information on more than 235 million companies across 200 countries.
- Experian has roots to 1826 London when shopkeepers began exchanging data on customers who failed to pay back their debt. Experian, as we know it today, was not formed until 1996 when the UK – Great Universal Stores (GUS) and the US – TRW, merged. Today they have offices in Ireland, United Kingdom, and the United States with over 17,000 employees.
- Equifax was founded in 1899 as the Retail Credit Company, at that time they handled reporting for insurance agencies by giving them data on people applying for new policies. They 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 they maintain and own information on over 800 million consumers and more than 88 million businesses worldwide.
According to D&B: Their commercial credit scores “…predict the likelihood of a business paying its bills in a severely delinquent manner (91 days or more past terms), obtaining legal relief from its creditors or ceasing operations without paying all creditors in full over the next 12 months. D&B defines severe delinquency as a business with at least 10% of its payments 91 days or more past due, based on the information in D&B’s commercial database. The score ranges from 101 to 670, where 101 represents the highest probability and 670 represents the lowest possibility of delinquency. “
The largest business credit bureaus have dominated the industry for decades. Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax continue to be the most widely used and recognized business credit agencies. but 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.
Founded in 2006, they offer 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. They offer two scores, the credit rating and credit risk score. The credit rating offers the businesses average purchases per month and approximate days-to-pay. The credit risk score ranges from 0 – 100 with a score range of 70 – 95 reflecting a low risk borrower.
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 credit to fund operations, purchase a fleet, and/or factor invoices. TransCredit offers credit reports that are specific to this industry.
Their Transportation Credit Score™ ranges from 0 to 100, 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 also lists the Overall Days to Pay™ which is the average number of days it took the company to pay their invoices over the last 6 months.
PayNet is a business credit reporting agency with a database containing over 22 million contracts from small business loans, leases, and lines of credit. You cannot purchase reports, the business must call and request a copy.
PayNet MasterScore® v2 – This lending score ranges from 550-740 with the higher score reflecting a lower risk borrower. Lenders will use this score to predict the risk potential of borrowers. They use 587 variables and 135 unique variables in order to compute this score.
There are a variety of factors that can impact this score:
- Payment activity – Are you paying on time?
- Inconsistent credit quality patterns
- History of delinquencies
- Derogatory public records
- No borrowing history
- Size of the business
- Current borrowed assets not being paid
- Higher risk industry, State, and/or economic conditions
Construction & Transportation Equipment Credit Score – This is a score specific to lenders in the construction and/or transportation lending sphere.
Credit history report – PayNet credit history report contains public record information on the company and detailed payment data on past and present payment experiences. The reports also offer a comparative analysis of historical payment data, in other words, they will compare your payment history with other similar businesses. Lenders will use this information and the MasterScore® to determine whether a borrower is worth the risk.
Established about 20 years ago as a transportation industry credit bureau, they have since expanded and now serve a wide variety of industries. Their reports offer 5 business credit scores/indexes:
The Cortera Score – This is an overall score of the businesses credit worthiness, it ranges from 100 to 900, with the higher the score the lower risk of paying in a severely delinquent manner.
When calculating this score, Cortera generates scores for payment forecasts, most recent payment habits, industry benchmarking, and spending data to compute the company’s overall Cortera score.
This business credit reporting agency was predominately in the United Kingdom up until 5 years ago when they branched out into the United States.
They offer comprehensive business credit reports.
A Risk Rating which ranges from 1 to 100 with a score of 71 – 100 representing very low risk, this score predicts the likelihood that a company will become severally delinquent in their payment habits.
In addition, their 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.
This business credit agency operates in the U.S. and Canada, they report information on approximately 15.5 million businesses. Their reports encompass financial, reputation, and public record information on each business in their database. All this data is used to generate their business credit score which ranges from 1 – 100, the higher the better, anything less than 70 means they do not have enough data to calculate a score. Credit.net will also include a recommended credit limit for the business.
Business credit 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 bureau has their own information sources and may report different/conflicting information, is important for your company’s financial future. This does not mean that you need to purchase every single business credit report, many business credit bureaus specialize in an industry, it’s not likely that all of them will impact your company.