Are You Looking to Build Business Credit? Here are the Most Important Business Credit FAQs

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Why do banks look to the business credit bureaus like Dun & Bradstreet®, Corporate Experian® and Corporate Equifax® as part of their business lending process?

The main reason lenders use these rating and reporting services this is to minimize risk. Known informally as “The Big Three,” they have built a reputation for offering the most accurate and up to date information available on business credit history. Lenders pay a fee to receive detailed reports on a company’s payment history with other lenders, types of business credit they’ve used in the past and information on current loans. Business credit profiles are considered an important indicator of a company’s financial health and how likely they are to be able to pay back a business loan in the future.

Why is it important to build a business credit profile for my company with Dun & Bradstreet,® Corporate Experian® and Corporate Equifax® (the big three)?

Building a strong business credit profile is very important, not only to secure vendor lines of credit, banking lines of credit and other types of business loans, but also to get the most favorable terms and interest rates. Even if you’re not seeking financing at this time, it’s important to know that potential alliance partners and customers may also pull profiles on companies they’re evaluating for new business. If your company has a weak profile (or none at all) you may be losing out on other opportunities without even realizing it. You won’t know these companies are looking at your profile unless you subscribe to a paid business credit monitoring service, which can be a good idea for certain businesses.

What is the difference between vendor credit and cash lines of credit?

Both are very important to your business. You probably already work with several vendors for day to day materials and supplies but odds are that most of them are not reporting your good payment history to the big three. In fact, over 90% of vendors do not report and many businesses are shocked to learn that their business credit score and rating is either weak or nonexistent. Building lines of credit with vendors that report to the big three will help you establish a strong business credit profile in addition to managing your cash flow and using the vendor’s credit to help grow your business.

Items like payroll and marketing require cash, not vendor credit.  Cash lines of credit provide funds that can be used immediately for any investment or expense your business requires. Some examples of cash lines of credit include loans, cash advances, merchant account advances, accounts receivable financing, equipment financing or retirement plan financing. Fast Business Credit offers a $50,000 guarantee. The key question you will want to ask is how much of that will apply to vendor lines of credit and how much will be cash lines for your business. The answer depends on certain business and personal criteria. Yes, your personal credit history does come into play, especially with business lines of credit. Personal guarantees are almost always required for most cash lines of credit.

When you see  internet promotions for $150K of business credit guaranteed, or up to $1 million of funding is that a scam?

Not always. These headlines are designed to draw you in. If they have a client doing $25 million per year in revenue, they very well may get a $1 million line of credit, but to assume that everyone qualifies no matter what their business circumstances might be makes no sense. Business credit and funding decisions are based upon both personal and business criteria. The challenge for the customer is knowing the right questions to ask to determine if the offers and claims being made are realistic for their individual situation. Does it make sense that a business owner with a personal bankruptcy and no revenues or collateral would receive a $100,000 line of credit? Common sense tells you that will never happen.

Government grants is another area where sales people frequently over promise and under deliver. They’ll point out to you that millions in grants are available every year, which is true, and give you all the details on the grant application process. Typically they don’t tell you how few applicants ever receive grant money before they collect your fee for their submission service. Fast Business Credit does have contacts with legitimate grant writing companies, but they charge a lot for their services and they are very careful about screening out applicants who are not likely to qualify. Again, the key is to know what questions to ask so you’re getting information that truly applies to your individual situation.

What are some of the criteria used to determine the types of business credit my company can qualify for, how much we’ll get and how fast we’ll receive it?

Most business lenders consider factors like these when making business credit decisions:

  • Business plan and financial statements
  • Number of years in business
  • Annual gross sales and profits
  • Monthly VISA/MASTERCARD sales
  • Accounts receivable, equipment owned and available collateral
  • Partnerships and US versus foreign ownership
  • Dun & Bradstreet® business credit score and rating.
  • Corporate Experian® business credit score and rating
  • Business Equifax® business credit score and rating.
  • The number of vendors reporting to the business credit bureaus
  • A personal guarantee versus a personal credit check
  • Your personal credit score in all three bureaus
  • Your revolving debt ratio
  • Any major derogatories like a bankruptcy or foreclosure
  • Investments in retirement accounts

When is the right time to start building business credit?

There are simple steps any business owner can take to start building business credit from day one, and the time to secure the most funding and the best terms is when things are going well. George Ross, the attorney and key negotiator for Donald Trump, says “the time to go to the banks is when you do not need the money.” He goes on to say that that one of key decisions that helped to save Trump’s real estate empire was to develop relationships with many banks while business was good.

Most business owners do the opposite and wait until they’re in financial trouble before they seek funding. When times are good and cash is flowing in, many don’t think about why they might need more money. What if a major company wants to send you so much business it would triple your output? Do you have the cash flow to scale up quickly? What if there’s a receivable gap between when you provide services and when you get paid? Do you have the cash flow to maintain operations and payroll? How many people in the real estate market in 2006-2007 wish they’d had a few more bank lines of credit to sustain them through the massive downturn that happened the following year? Plan ahead. Develop lines of credit now to protect and grow your business. Fast Business Credit can help no matter what stage you’re in.

Do you need support in building business credit? Go to my site www.FastBusinessCredit.com or call 1-888-313-6333 for a business credit funding evaluation.