If you’ve been in business for any length of time and you’ve needed to borrow money – you know that every lender you contact wants to check your personal credit score and have you personally guarantee the debt. 

What does that mean? 

If the business doesn’t pay it – you will personally. 

You’ve wondered – “Why don’t they use my business credit score?” And maybe even the follow-up question: “Hmmm, do I even know what my business credit score is?” 

Well – welcome aboard – to kick off 2024, today, we’re going to navigate the black hole of business credit scores. 

First of all: yes, they do exist. 

And you need to know how to generate and track yours. 

It’s not just a number; it’s your business’s financial reputation. 

So, let’s dive in! 


How do you even generate a Business Credit Score? 

  • Establish Your Business Entity:
    Before you even pass go, your business will need to be a separate entity from you, personally. Think of it as creating a distinct identity for your business; it’s like giving your business its own social security number. This means setting up a legal structure like an LLC or corporation.  
  • Open a Business Bank Account:
    This is a cardinal rule in the business world. The only way to prove you pay your business bills is to have one (separate) account that you pay them from. [Click here to learn more about separating Business vs. Personal checking accounts] 
  • Establish Lines of Credit with Suppliers and Vendors:
    Just as you might start with a small credit card, start by establishing lines of credit with suppliers or vendors. This could be as simple as a net-30 account where you pay for goods or services within 30 days. Prompt payment builds your business credit score.  
  • Apply for a Business Credit Card:
    Use this for business expenses only. This clearly separates personal and business expenses; and regular, on-time payments of your business credit card do definitely bolster your credit score. 
  • Get a D-U-N-S Number:
    Dun & Bradstreet’s (D&B) D-U-N-S Number is the official credit account number for businesses. It’s free and will make it possible for your credit card companies, vendors, and suppliers, to brag about your payment practices.  Then – it is the unique nine-digit identifier that banks and new suppliers will use to assess your business’ creditworthiness.


    Go directly to the D&B real website and not through any agent or sales person. 

    There is a common letter/email that you will get telling you that your DUNS score either sucks or need improvement, and the letter will look (until you read the fine print) like it’s legitimately from D&B. It’s not. Delete it.)


Tracking Your Business Credit Score 

  • Understand the Score:
    Business credit scores range from 0-100, with higher scores indicating better creditworthiness. Just like your personal credit score, this score is influenced by payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, public records (like bankruptcies), and the size of your company. 
  • Check Your Credit Reports Regularly:
    You can obtain reports from major business credit bureaus like Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business. Reviewing these reports helps you understand where your business stands and allows you to correct any inaccuracies. 
  • Monitor Your Credit Utilization:
    Just like with personal credit, high utilization can signal risk. Aim to keep your credit utilization below 30% of your total available credit. 
  • Pay Bills on Time or Early:
    Timely payments are crucial. Consider setting up automated payments to avoid missing due dates. 
  • Watch for Red Flags:
    Regular monitoring can alert you to issues like fraud or identity theft. Quick action can save your score from taking a hit. 
  • Build Relationships with Lenders:
    Just like in life, relationships matter in business. Establishing good relationships with lenders can lead to better credit opportunities. 

Remember, building and maintaining a strong business credit score doesn’t happen overnight. 

Consistent effort, smart financial management, and regular monitoring will get you to the goal!