Just as you have a personal credit score, your business has a business credit score. In fact, your business score is influenced by your personal score — and, like the personal score, helps determine loan approvals and interest rates.
The basic credit score is called a FICO score. The formula includes such information as punctuality of payment, debt capacity in use, length of credit history and types of credit used. To get your business into the best possible position, you'll need to do three things:
- Improve the balance-to-limit ratio on outstanding credit cards and loans. Besides paying down balances, this may involve signing up for more credit — having a low balance compared to the available limit can improve a credit score.
- Verify the accuracy of your credit information. This includes making sure that credit agency records show that any previous bad debts have been cleaned up.
- Fix inaccuracies in your credit reports.
Separate your business score from your personal scoreAn Employer Identification Number, also called an EIN or taxpayer ID number, helps to separate your business score from your personal score, which is attached to your Social Security number. Continue separating your business and personal identities by establishing separate phone numbers and checking accounts.
Internal Revenue Service Web site. Review the instructions and the form before starting.
Get your personal credit reportLenders recognize a correlation between a business owner's personal credit history and likelihood of repaying a business loan — so be sure to check that your personal credit report is accurate. Reports may vary among reporting agencies, because each bases its score on slightly different criteria.
Review your business credit reportSmall businesses do not have FICO scores, but lenders do consider other predictors that businesses will repay loans. So you'll want to be sure your business credit report is up to snuff.
Fix your credit to boost your scoreYou can correct inaccuracies and take steps to raise your score yourself, but if you prefer, you can hire help.
- Your FICO score is based on your credit information and doesn't consider your employment, income or other personal data.
- If an application for credit is denied as a result of the credit score, you're legally entitled to specific reasons for the denial.
- FICO scores range from about 300 to 850, with scores over about 700 considered to be good credit.