How to check your business credit reports for free

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In a Nutshell

You’re guaranteed a free copy of your personal credit reports from the three major consumer credit bureaus once a year, but the same guarantee doesn’t apply to business credit reports. For small-business owners or sole proprietors looking to monitor their business credit information, alternative services can have free options to help you get some insight into your business credit profile.

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Business credit reports can help your lenders, investors and even potential business partners understand how healthy your business is. But unlike personal credit reports, you’re not legally entitled to free business credit reports.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, which gives you the right to free personal credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year, doesn’t establish the same access to business credit information. That can make it difficult to monitor your business’s credit standing without spending money.

Although there isn’t a way to get ongoing access to all your business credit reports for free, there are a few places you can get partial business credit information for free or do a one-time pull of your full reports. Using a mix of these free business-credit-monitoring services can help you keep track of where your business stands.


Nav

What you get

A free Nav account gets you information about your business credit reports and scores. While you won’t have direct access to your reports and scores, you can get summaries and high-level information, including the following:

  • Summaries of your Experian Intelliscore report
  • Business credit grades based on your Experian Intelliscore (not the score itself)
  • Summaries of your Dun & Bradstreet report
  • Business credit grades based on your Dun & Bradstreet report (not the score itself)

How to use it

This sort of second-hand information isn’t quite as useful as having your real business credit reports, but it can help you take the pulse of your business credit and get a sense of whether or not improvements need to be made.

CreditSignal

What you get

You don’t get access to your actual scores and reports with CreditSignal, but this free service from business credit bureau Dun & Bradstreet alerts you when changes are made to your D&B credit scores. It also gives you a monthly summary of changes to your D&B business credit report and tells you when your business credit has been pulled by a third party.

How to use CreditSignal

Your D&B report can be pulled by creditors and suppliers when you apply for a loan for your small business. Although this free service doesn’t give you full access to all of your various D&B reports and scores, it can at least help you monitor whether your scores and reports have changed.

CreditSignal also provides alerts that can help you gauge how your business activities are impacting your business credit scores. These alerts can help prevent you from being surprised by a negative credit decision or other adverse response to your business credit history.

Signing up for CreditSignal

Before D&B can develop credit reports and scores for your business, you have to first register for a D-U-N-S number through D&B. But once you have a D-U-N-S number, your credit file won’t be complete until references, such as suppliers or lenders, report information about your activity.

If you want to submit positive payment information to D&B for consideration, you’ll need to pay for an account, which starts at $149 a month.

FAST FACTS

What is a D-U-N-S number?

A data universal numbering system, or D-U-N-S number, is a unique nine-digit number that you’ll need to establish a credit file with Dun & Bradstreet. You can register for a D-U-N-S number through Dun & Bradstreet for free. You’ll simply need to provide some information about your business, including your legal business name and contact information.

Credit.net

What you get

A free seven-day trial includes seven free credit reports and access to Credit.net experts.

How to use it

Credit.net markets itself as a service that helps businesses pull credit information about other businesses. Despite that, it could be a good idea to use this service to pull your own business credit reports. But you can use some of your free pulls to view reports for potential business partners or companies you work with too.

Creditsafe

What you get

You’ll get free access to business credit information, including one free credit report and business credit score. Reach out to Creditsafe to learn which reports and scores are included in your free trial. The duration of your free access can depend on specific details relating to your business or the information you’re looking for.

How to use it

The free-trial access means you won’t want to depend on Creditsafe for ongoing monitoring purposes unless you decide to subscribe. But you could set up your trial account when you simply want one-time access to your business credit information.


Bottom line

It’s difficult to get direct access to your business credit reports for free. For a better picture of the health and creditworthiness of your business, you may want to use a variety of the free services available.

Or you may simply want to spring for the fees involved with more-extensive business-credit monitoring. It could be worth it to understand exactly what your lenders and partners will see when they’re making financial decisions that impact your business.