Building and maintaining good business credit will open the doors to new financing opportunities for your business. With strong business credit, you’ll have an easier time securing loans, lines of credit and even equity-based investments. But how exactly do you check your business credit? While some entrepreneurs assume the steps to checking business credit are the same as checking personal credit, this isn’t necessarily true.
Business vs Personal Credit: What’s the Difference?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand the difference between business credit and personal credit. Personal credit is credit that’s associated with your own Social Security number. Business credit, on the other hand, is credit that’s associated with your business’s Employer Identification Number (EIN).
If you operate your business as a sole proprietorship, you may not have an EIN, in which case your only financing option may be to a loan or line of credit under your Social Security. And whenever you secure financing using your Social Security number, your personal assets become tied to the associated loan or line or credit, which is why it’s a good idea to use your business’s EIN if available.
Check Business Credit With These 3 Major Credit Bureaus
You can check \your business credit at three major credit reporting bureaus: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax Business and Experian Business. All three of these bureaus offer business credit reporting services. Just sign up for an account, verify your identity and request a business credit report. Keep in mind that business credit reports aren’t free. They usually cost about $50 to $100. Considering the insight a credit report offers into your business’s financial health, though, it’s a smart investment that will pay off in the long run.
How Often Should I Check My Business Credit?
Checking your business credit can give you a better understanding of your business’s financial health as well as its ability to secure financing. However, some entrepreneurs are reluctant to check their business credit, believing each inquiry will lower their credit score. Whether you’re checking your personal or business credit, though, it shouldn’t lower your credit score. Inquires that you perform are considered soft inquires, which don’t impact your credit score. But if you apply for a loan or line of credit, the lender will run a hard inquiry, which can negatively impact your credit score.
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