Business Credit Score Guide

A strong business credit score can help you establish yourself as a creditworthy business owner. It can help you protect your personal credit score. It can also help you get better insurance and loan rates. But more on that later…


While business credit scores are key to a business’s success, they aren’t as well understood as personal credit scores. In this guide, we will go over the ins and outs of business credit. By the end, you should have a strong idea of how business credit works and how you can wield your business credit to improve your business’s finances.

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What Is a Business Credit Score?

Your business credit score is a gauge of your business’s financial responsibility. If you know how personal credit scores work, this idea might sound familiar. 

If you pay off your business debts on time, your business credit score rises. 

But if you fail to pay your debts on time, your business credit score drops.

These are the main factors that control your business credit score but there are several others. We will go over them soon.

Your business credit score is a simple score provided by business credit reporting agencies that track your business. These agencies track all credit transactions your business takes part in. The agencies use this information to come up with a simple score that reflects your business’s trustworthiness as a borrower. So, lenders will want to see your business credit score when you apply for a business loan.

If you’ve applied for any kind of business credit, you probably have a business credit score. You don’t necessarily know about it when you first get a business credit score. But it does exist, and it will be measured when you apply for a business loan or insurance policy. That’s because unlike your personal credit score, your business credit score is publicly listed and easily found online. You can get your own business credit report, but lenders don’t need it to see your business credit score.

Because your business credit score functions so much like a personal credit score, it may be hard to see a difference. But there are several differences between personal and business credit scores that you’ll want to know.

Business Credit vs Personal Credit

  • Ranges from a minimum of 300 to a maximum of 900
  • Uses your social security number (SSN) for tracking
  • Is not publicly available
  • Is reported by a handful of credit reporting agencies
  • Ranges from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 100
  • Is publicly available and listed by reporting agencies for easy access
  • Is also reported by a handful of credit reporting agencies

It’s important to keep the difference between these two scores in mind. Your personal credit score can be used to secure a business loan. But your business credit won’t be used when applying for a personal loan.

How Do I Find Out My Business Credit Score?

Finding your business credit score is much like finding your personal credit score. There are a few major credit bureaus that report business credit scores.

Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet is one of the main credit reporting agencies for business credit scores. They use a PAYDEX score, measured on a scale of 1 to 100. Any score from 1 to 49 is a red flag for lenders. Scores in that range suggest that the borrower will be late to pay the lender back.

You can view your Dun & Bradstreet credit file with a CreditBuilder Plus profile. This service costs $159 per month. But that service will land you a D-U-N-S number which can be used to track your credit score. You could also order a normal business credit report for $61.99.

Registering for a CreditBuilder Plus profile will grant you constant access to your business credit score and report. You will also be able to add your own repayment experiences into the report. This can be used to help keep your credit score higher. Lastly, you can dispute any information on your report that you believe is inaccurate.

So, if you get a D-U-N-S number you can use the company’s directory to find your information quickly. Regardless, you will want to find your Dun & Bradstreet credit score at some point. It’s an important factor when you’re trying to get a loan.


You probably know Equifax for their personal credit score reporting. Well, they also monitor business credit.

You can go on the Equifax website and search for your business. But if you want a full credit report, it will cost you $99.95.

As is the case with Dun & Bradstreet, your competitors and creditors can order your business credit report. The report also features your “Equifax Business Credit Risk Score” and “Equifax Business Failure Score”. These scores are meant to represent the risk that your business will either fail to pay back a loan or fail altogether.

Equifax is one of the most significant credit bureaus. So, you will also want to see your Equifax business credit report at least once to check and make sure the information is accurate.


TransUnion also tracks business credit. They provide detailed credit reports that make it easier for you to make better decisions with your credit. Their reports include:

  • Risk mitigation
  • Efficiency assistance
  • More

Like the other bureaus, TransUnion will rate your business on a scale of 1 to 100. Your score is a simple calculation meant to demonstrate your chances of failing to pay a lender back.

Why Your Business Credit Score Is Important

You might not know what your business credit score is right now. But chances are someone else does, and your score is helping them come to a decision that has serious implications for your business.

Business lenders and insurers will typically want to see your business credit score. The score will help them decide whether they should trust you with their money. If they decide to trust you, your business credit score will determine how much money they trust you with. A high business credit score will:

  • Get you access to more types of loans
  • Get you access to more lenders
  • Get you better rates from lenders who will approve you
  • Get you access to better insurance rates
  • Increase your business’s bottom line and financial freedom
  • Help protect your personal credit

If you want access to business loans with good rates, your business credit score must be a part of your plan. 

Your business credit score might not matter to you now. It might not even matter to you much for years. But the reasons to take a business loan vary so widely. Say you’re getting ready to take your business to the next level. If you want a business expansion loan, a high business credit score will make it easier and more affordable to take the steps you need to.

Also, businesses do sometimes hit a rough patch. If you hit your rough patch with a high business credit score, your rough patch will be easier to get out of.

Business Credit Score Ranges: Explained

All of this information begs the question: “what is a good business credit score?” So, let’s look into the business credit score ranges and what they mean for you.

The credit score ranges vary by the credit reporting agency. But they are all quite similar. Let’s start with Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX.


A PAYDEX score of 80 to 100 is considered GOOD.

  • A score of 80 means that all of your repayments have come on time. To get a score of 100, you have to consistently pay your debts off in advance.

A PAYDEX score of 50 to 79 is considered FAIR. 

  • A score of 70 indicates that you pay an average of 15 days late. A score of 50 indicates that you pay an average of 30 days late.

A PAYDEX score of 0 to 49 is considered BAD. 

  • If your business credit score is below 40, that indicates that your repayments are coming an average of at least 60 days past due. These payment patterns will be looked upon with suspicion by any business lender.


Your Intelliscore with TransUnion is similar. It also operates on a scale of 1 to 100. 

As you can see, TransUnion provides lenders with a simple risk assessment based on your business’s credit history. Business lenders can translate your TransUnion score easily and your rates will go up as your score goes down. Because it’s one of the major credit bureaus in Canada, you should also check your TransUnion business credit often.


Both individuals and businesses have FICO credit scores. FICO SBSS scores for businesses range from 0 to 300. This score works just like all other credit scores: the higher your score, the better.

Your FICO SBSS score will gauge your access to most traditional business lending options. With a FICO SBSS score of 160 or higher, you should have access to many more business lending options.

How To Improve Your Business Credit Score


There are quite a few ways to increase your business credit score. The most effective ways simply involve improving your fiscal responsibility. Paying debts back on time is by far the fastest way to increase your business credit score. But the appropriate use of credit involves more than just paying debts back when you take loans. Simply not taking any loans won’t improve your credit score.

1. Pay On Time

The simplest step to a better business credit score is timely payments.

Paying your debts back on time is key. But what’s even better is paying your debts back early. As we discussed, it’s impossible to get a perfect score on Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX unless you pay early.

It’s no surprise that timely debt repayment is the largest factor in an improved credit score. Also, remember that especially late repayments and defaults will really mess up your business credit score. So, make sure to prioritize your debt repayments.

2. Use Credit (Responsibly)

The way you use credit has a huge impact on your business credit score. While too much debt is indeed bad, using some of the credit available to you can have a very positive impact.

Even when you don’t need to use your available credit, it may be advantageous to do so. One way to do this is to take a specific loan for a particular purchase you could cover on your own. After you do so, start paying that loan back in advance. The more you do this over time, the more creditworthy your business will appear when lenders search your business credit history.

Revolving credit options are often the best way to improve your business credit. A revolving business line of credit is one of the best ways to set your credit history up for success. If you want to take this course of action, make sure the line of credit you choose come with no/minimal fees. A good business line of credit costs little or nothing until you start drawing funds. Of course, once you draw funds, be sure to pay them back quickly to maximize the effects on your credit score.

Likewise, the responsible use of a business credit card can help you propel your credit score upwards. An added benefit of business credit cards is the rewards they offer. Rewards on business credit cards are often very worthwhile, so long as you choose the right card. Choosing the right business credit card allows you to save valuable rewards while increasing your business credit score!

3. Use Your Credit With Trustworthy Partners

Your supply chain should be the best place to use your available credit. Your suppliers are essential to your business. So, they can also be essential to your business credit.

Try to build your business and business credit alongside worthwhile partners.

4. Personal Finance

One of the benefits of strong business credit is protection for your personal credit. But your personal and business credit are not entirely independent…

If you run a small business, your personal credit score will also come into question often. Small business lenders check your personal credit score to approve you for a loan. So, when building your business credit, your personal credit provides your foundation. A financially stable business should follow a financially stable individual. So, also pay attention to your personal credit so that building your business credit will become easier.

Getting access to better small business loans isn’t the only way your personal credit affects your business credit. Your FICO SBSS score is influenced in part by your personal credit. So, good personal credit might be the final key to meeting those 140 and 160 point FICO SBSS marks.

5. Effective Tracking

Regardless of what your exact business credit score is, knowing why it is where it is will help you improve it. You can use the more advanced reporting features offered by the biggest business credit reporting agencies to troubleshoot and see exactly what’s holding your score down. It might be a few simple factors that you’ve overlooked.

The other reason to stay on top of your credit is to control factors otherwise outside your control. Credit reporting agencies are usually accurate and professional. But that doesn’t mean that they’re perfect. 

There are often discrepancies in both personal and business credit reports. But you will never know if your business’s credit opportunities are being limited for reasons beyond your control. But what you can do is check with these agencies to make sure your reports are accurate. So, get your reports from different agencies and compare the results. If there are any mistakes, you can request changes from the agency that made the mistake-free of charge.

Data Protection

Unfortunately, there are a few factors beyond your control that may affect your business credit score. We just went over one, but data breaches can also affect your score.

In 2017, Equifax US reported a major data breach. The breach exposed the information of many individuals and businesses. The birthdates and social security numbers of over 145 million Americans were at risk. In fact, the attackers got away with at least 209,000 credit card numbers.

When these breaches happen (which is rare, fortunately), you need to take the necessary steps to protect yourself. In the case of the 2017 attack, US business owners could find out if they were affected by visiting the Equifax website. 

In the case of any reported data breach at a major credit reporting agency, look into how you’ve been affected. The 2017 Equifax breach cost several companies financial losses.

It’s always advisable to keep on top of your credit reports. Look out for any unauthorized and fraudulent activity that can harm your business credit score.

About The Author:

The Smarter Loans Staff is made up of writers, researchers, journalists, business leaders and industry experts who carefully research, analyze and produce Canada’s highest quality content when it comes to money matters, on behalf of Smarter Loans. While we cannot possibly name every person involved in the process, we collectively credit them as Smarter Loans Writing Staff. Our work has been featured in the Toronto Star, National Post and many other publications. Today, Smarter Loans is recognized in Canada as the go-to destination for financial education, and was named the “GPS of Fintech Lending” by the Toronto Star in 2019.