How to build business credit

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

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One of the major things you can do to help your company’s financial future is establish and build your business credit. With good credit, you can get better loan terms and lower interest rates.

What is business credit?

Business credit is a number that represents a company’s 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 interest rate you qualify for.

Consider this card to build business credit

Universal Premium Mastercard®

  • Accepted at nearly 160,000 fueling locations throughout the United States
  • Choose the most convenient and cost saving sites for your business
  • Prevent unwanted non-fuel spending by limiting purchases only to the pump
  • Open cards to make purchases at over 400,000 maintenance locations
  • Save up to 6¢ per gallon with volume rebates on purchases within the Retail Savings network
  • Save up to 15% on fuel management costs
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Compare business credit cards

One way to establish business credit is by opening a business credit card and making on-time payments. This shows creditors that you are likely a low-risk borrower, and they may be more willing to loan to you in the future. Below you can compare some of the top business credit cards on the market.

Updated October 20th, 2019
Name Product Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
2% cash back on all purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 20.99% variable)
Earn 2% cash back on all purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Rates & fees
2x points on everyday business purchases on up to $50,000 annually, then 1x points
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 20.99% variable)
Earn 2x Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases on up to $50,000 with no category restrictions. Rates & fees
3x points on the first $150,000 on travel and select business categories annually, then 1x after and on all other purchases
17.99% to 22.99% variable
100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
3 cents off per gallon when you buy 30,000 or more gallons in a month plus 3 cents off at the Retail Savings Network
29.24% variable
Up to $120
Earn 3 cents off per gallon when you buy 30,000 or more gallons in a month plus 3 cents off at the Retail Savings Network.
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
17.49% to 26.49% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months plus $50 after making a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees

Compare up to 4 providers

How to build and establish business credit

How does a business credit card affect business credit?

Most of your credit-building endeavors 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% intro APR period on balance transfers, purchases or both
  • Payment flexibility with up to a 60-day grace period

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:

  • Dun & Bradstreet. In addition to the business score — which they call Paydex score — Dun & Bradstreet includes a credit recommendation to the lender. To get the Paydex score, you must have a D-U-N-S number, which is free to get at the bureau’s website.
  • Equifax. This bureau offers two scores to the lender: the business credit risk score and the business failure score. The scores are meant to evaluate the risk of your company and its chance of failing within the next year.
  • Experian. With this credit agency, your company only gets one business score, which ranges from 0 to 100. The higher your score, the better your company will look in the eyes of the lender.
    • Can a business credit 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

      Why is it important to have good business credit?

      With good business credit you’ll get:

      • Better payment terms with vendors and suppliers
      • Lower interest rates from lenders and banks
      • Higher credit limits when applying for a credit card or loan

      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 Experian and Equifax you only need to provide your business name and location.
      3. Purchase the report.

      • The Experian basic report costs $39.95
      • The Dun & Bradstreet basic report costs $61.99
      • The Equifax basic report costs $99.99

      Why you should monitor your business’s credit reports

      Your business credit is one of the primary factors that banks and lenders take into consideration. That’s why you need to constantly keep an eye out for errors and fraudulent activity.

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

      How to get a business credit card

      Bottom line

      Your business credit can determine whether you’ll get approved for a loan or credit card for your company as well as its interest rate. This is why you should start building your credit as soon as you start your company and continually strive to improve it. If you notice something’s amiss, contact the credit agencies 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 lower interest rates and better loan terms for your business.

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