Guide to business credit scores

Written by
Jackie Lam
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If you own a small business, making sure you have a solid business credit score can help you land lower interest rates and more favorable terms. Just as personal credit scores signal to lenders how creditworthy you are, business credit scores also reveal how dependable you are as a borrower. Your business credit score helps suppliers, lenders, creditors and other companies know how much of a financial risk it might be to work with you.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of a business credit score, the differences between a business credit score and a personal credit score, and how to go about building business credit. First things first…

What is a business credit score?

Similar to a personal credit score, a business credit score is a numerical representation of your business’s creditworthiness. A high personal credit score can offer flex power in getting approved for lines of credit, loans, and better rates and terms. Likewise, a strong business credit score can secure you working partnerships with different vendors and gain you the financing you need to grow your company.

Business credit score vs. personal credit score

A major advantage of a business credit score is that it separates your personal and business credit, so there’s a clearer picture of where your business stands financially. Though they both serve the similar purpose of showing how trustworthy of a borrower you are you, there are a handful of differences between the two.

Credit bureaus

While personal credit bureaus include Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, business credit scores are reported to and generated by Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Equifax.

Credit score ranges 

The scoring range for personal credit scores is between 300 to 850. The numerical range for a business credit score is usually anywhere from 0 to 580. With both, the higher the number the better the score.

Popular scoring ranges include:

Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX

0 – 100

Equifax Business Delinquency Risk Score

224 – 580

Intelliscore Plus from Experian

0 – 100


Only third parties with permission can access your personal credit report; however, business credit reports can be obtained without the business owner’s consent. This is so that companies, individuals, and the federal government can determine the financial health of companies seeking contracts, financing, or bonds.

Use of EIN

Your personal credit score is linked to your Social Security number. Your business credit score, however, is linked to your Employer Identification Number (EIN). To obtain an EIN, you’ll need to apply for one with the IRS.

How are business credit scores calculated?

Business credit scores are determined by evaluating various factors related to a business’s financial behavior and credit history. The specific factors considered can vary between different credit reporting agencies, but generally speaking, the largest factors taken into consideration include:

  • Payment history
  • Length of credit history
  • Number of employees
  • Industry risk
  • Debt and credit usage

How to build business credit

You can help build your business credit by following these tips:

  • Establish business credit. To establish business credit, you’ll need to have a line of credit or a loan that is reported to the business credit bureaus. A good place to start is to open a business credit card. Such a card with a low credit limit that you use for certain recurring bills can help you build your score.
  • Make on-time payments. Your payment history is the top factor that impacts your score. In fact, some credit companies only look at your payment history. In turn, making on-time payments on your business bills can help boost your score.
  • Be a responsible card holder. Understand the rates and terms of your credit cards and loans, and aim to pay off your balance as quickly as possible. At the very least, make the minimum payments on time.
  • Keep a low credit usage. The lower your credit utilization, the better. It’s recommended to not use more than 30% of the credit available to you.
  • Keep tabs on your business credit. Unfortunately, unlike personal credit scores, you cannot easily access free credit reports through a single website. Use the information below to learn how to check your business score, and be sure to make it a regular part of your routine.

How to check business credit score

Checking your business credit score can help you see where you stand credit-wise, and what steps you need to take to improve your credit. Plus, it’s an opportune time to scour your report for any errors, inaccuracies or missing information, which can potentially harm your score.

There are a few places to check your business credit. You can set up a profile for free with Dun & Bradstreet’s CreditSignal, and though it doesn’t give you your credit score, it does alert you of any changes on a monthly basis. Experian’s IntelliScore Plus also enables you to check your business credit report and score, but for a fee. You can also check your business credit by setting up an account with

Establishing and maintaining a business credit score can help you secure affordable financing to help grow your business. By keeping your business and personal credit separate, you can have a clearer picture of where your business stands financially, and how creditworthy its deemed in the eyes of lenders.

Jackie Lam
Cardratings Contributor

Jackie Lam is a personal finance writer and is based in Los Angeles. She is an accredited AFC® financial counselor. Jackie is passionate about helping artists, freelancers, and gig economy workers with their finances. She has in-depth experience writing about budgeting, investing, frugality, money, and...Read more

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