You may already be familiar with your personal credit score. The most common example of this is when you want to rent that waterfront condo and the landlord asks you to provide a credit report (besides all the other required documents) from one of Canada’s two credit bureaus, TransUnion or Equifax. They will then evaluate your creditworthiness and decide if you are reliable enough to pay your rent on time.
Your business credit score basically serves the same purpose. If you want to apply for a loan, lenders and creditors look at your business credit score to help determine how likely you are to default or pay off that loan on time.
So what makes a business credit score different from a personal credit score?
Here’s what you need to know:
Know the Two Canadian Credit Reporting Agencies
There are two credit reporting bureaus in Canada that can provide you with your business credit score — Equifax and TransUnion. For a personal credit score, the scale is between 300 to 850. Business credit scores, however, are typically between 0 to 100 (but this can vary widely depending on the bureau, and type of score.)
For instance, Equifax issues four different credit scores:
- Credit Information (CI) score: 0 to 70
- Payment Index: (PI): 0 to 99
- Commercial Delinquency Score (CDS): 101 to 662
- Business Failure Risk Score (BFRS): 1001 to 1722
It’s good to keep in mind what each bureau factors in when developing credit scores — you could end up having a higher score with one than another.
Want access to your own business credit score? Keep tabs of your businesses’ financial health here
Your Business Credit Score is Public!
Unlike your personal credit score – where you must authorize a credit inquiry before an organization can check your personal credit score – business credit scores are publicly available.
Essentially anyone can go to one of the reporting agencies listed above, pay, and check your business score. You never know who might check it (could be your nosey neighbour!) so it’s always a good idea to build and maintain a good business credit score.
Building Your Business Credit Score Takes Time
As a small business owner, you definitely have a lot on your plate already. You want to become successful, grow rapidly and profit — all while providing the best products and service to your customers. But it’s always a good idea to set some time aside and think of ways to build your credit score, especially if you want to:
- Get approved for business loans with less hassle and at lower rates
- Take out business loans without signing a personal guarantee
- Make your business look good to investors, insurance companies and potential business partners
- Expand your business in the near future
Here are a few simple steps that may help improve your business credit score:
- Pay all your bills on time or in advance if possible
- Don’t use more than 20 to 30% of your available credit
- Get lines of credit in your business’ name
- Check your credit scores regularly
Overall, having a good business credit score is important because it ultimately determines whether or not you can qualify for a loan. And believe it or not, your score could be the difference between saving a couple hundred or a couple thousand dollars, depending on the financial product you qualify for.
Now go out there and make your business bloom; but don’t neglect your business credit score.
Looking for a small business loan? We got you covered! [click here]