How to build business credit

A step-by-step guide to establishing business credit, plus how to check your rating at the major bureaus.

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One of the most powerful things you can do to help your company’s financial future is to establish and build your business credit history. With a good credit score, you can get higher credit limits, lower interest rates, more favourable offers and terms, plus you’ll be eligible for a variety of different types of credit such as loans, credit cards, lines of credit, micro loans and more.

American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card

American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card

19.99 % APR

Purchase interest rate

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card

Apply today and receive 150 AIR MILES® when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months of card membership. Terms apply.

  • Purchase interest rate: 19.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 21.99%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Credit rating: Fair, Good, Excellent
  • Minimum age: Age of majority in the province/territory of residence
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What is business credit?

Business credit is a number that represents a company’s risk and ability to borrow money. This means that if a company wants to take out a loan, the lender will consider its business credit as one of the determining factors when making a decision on the application. If approved, it also affects the credit limit you’ll be assigned.

With good business credit you’ll get:

  • Better payment terms with vendors and suppliers.
  • Be eligible for more competitive and favourable offers from lenders and banks.
  • Higher credit limits when applying for a credit card or loan.

Compare business credit cards

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Welcome Offer
American Express Business Edge Card
19.99%
21.99%
$99
N/A
Earn up to 42,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn a Welcome Bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months, and earn 1,000 Membership Rewards points each month (a total of 12,000 annually) when you spend a minimum of $3,000 on eligible purchases
BMO Rewards Business Mastercard
14.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
N/A
Get up to $470 in value in your first year. Get 50,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. Plus, the primary cardholder will get the first year $120 annual fee waived.
BMO Air Miles Business Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
N/A
Get up to 3,000 Air Miles Bonus Miles and pay no annual fee for the first year.
BMO Cashback Business Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
N/A
Get 6% cash back on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills for 4 months.
BMO Air Miles No-Fee Business Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
N/A
Get up to 1,000 Bonus Air Miles.
American Express AIR MILES for Business Card
N/A
N/A
$180
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months
Business Platinum Card from American Express
N/A
N/A
$499
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards points when you charge $7,000 in purchases to your card in your first three months of Cardmembership.
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card
19.99%
21.99%
$150
N/A
Receive 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy™ points when you charge $1,500 in the first 3 months of card membership. Terms apply
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
N/A
N/A
$250
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months
American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card
19.99%
21.99%
$0
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 150 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months
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Compare up to 4 providers

How to build and establish business credit

Is my small business ready for a corporate card?

Who scores my business credit?

There are multiple agencies that keep your credit score, but the largest three are:

  • Equifax. This bureau offers your credit risk score, which is meant to evaluate the risk of your company and its chance of failing within the next 12 months. Additionally, you can access industry and financial data, as well as your own personal data to make improved decisions.
  • TransUnion. TransUnion provide both personal and business credit scores. From your credit report, you can extract a variety of data including your business risk credit score and your trade data, which can all help in improving your decision making processes and your company growth. Business credit scores range from 400-800, with 400 being poor and 800 being excellent.
  • Dun & Bradstreet. You’ll receive three scores from Dun & Bradstreet: your credit score, a delinquency score and a financial stress score. These three scores respectively indicate your credit rating, your ability to pay your bills within 90 days and your company’s likelihood of shutting down completely. You’ll also receive a Paydex score which creates a snapshot of your bill paying habits. To get your scores, you’ll need a D-U-N-S number, which you can get for free on the bureau’s website.

How does a business credit card affect business credit?

Most of your credit-building endeavours will revolve around paying your suppliers and vendors, paying your bills and borrowing from lenders. The easiest and most convenient way to manage this is to get a good credit card for your business needs.

With most business credit cards, you can:

  • Automate your payments.
  • Set payment alerts.
  • Manage and track your spending and the spending of your employees.

Some business credit cards offer specific perks and features that can also help you build your credit, such as:

  • A 0% or low intro APR period on balance transfers.
  • Payment flexibility with up to a 55-day grace period.

Can a business card damage my business credit?

If you’re not careful, you can damage your business credit with your business credit card. This can happen when you:

  • Fail to make timely payments.
  • Default on your business credit card.
  • Carry too much debt.
  • Apply for too many business credit cards in a short period of time.

How to check your business credit rating

To check your business credit rating, you need to:

1. Visit one of the business credit bureaus’ websites.
2. Find your company. On the Dun & Bradstreet website, you need to provide your company’s D-U-N-S number, while on TransUnion and Equifax you’ll need to provide your business name and location.
3. Purchase the report.

Why you should monitor your business credit reports

Your business credit is one of the primary factors that banks and lenders take into consideration when determining whether to lend you money. Much like checking your personal credit report, you’ll need to constantly keep an eye out for any errors or fraudulent activity on your business report.

If you find an error on your report, follow these steps:

1. Check if the same error is on all three credit bureau reports.
2. Next, double check if the data is accurate or if it’s an error.
3. If it’s an error, reach out to the bureaus that list it and explain the issue.
4. Provide proof that supports your claim.

Bottom line

Your business risk score can determine whether you’ll get approved for a loan or credit card for your company – as well as how much your monthly limit will be. This is why you should start building your business credit as soon as you start your company and continually strive to improve it. Frequently check your credit report, and if you notice something amiss, contact the credit bureaus and ask that the error be corrected.

If you follow these steps for building and establishing your credit, you’ll likely be able to score more favourable terms and rates for your business.

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