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Frequently Asked Questions

Obtaining a Business Credit Reports
  • How to order business credit reports?
  • Ordering a business credit report online is easy.

    1. Visit experian.com/small business and enter the name and state of the company you would like a business credit report for. There is no charge for the search. We will match your request with the 18 million companies in our database and provide you with a list of the best results.

    2. Select the type of business credit report you would like from the search results.

    3. Become a Experian registered user by filling out the registration form and selecting a password. Once you register, you will need only your name and password when buying future reports.

    4. Read and agree to our conditions of sale.

    5. Submit your order and instantly access the business credit report that you requested! Your credit card will be validated and charged for the report(s) purchased. You will receive confirmation of your purchase and the business credit report(s) in seconds.

    Note: Once you finalize your order, we will encrypt your credit card information and send it securely to our third-party vendor for validation and processing. We do not retain credit card information at Experian.

    Orders through Experian.com can only be processed during the following hours:
    Monday – Friday: 4:00 a.m. – midnight ET
    Saturday: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. ET
    Sunday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. ET

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  • Am I able to purchase business reports 24-7?
  • The Experian Small Business website is available 24-7 during which time you may visit your My Account center and view your existing orders. However, purchase of new reports may not be available at times due to system maintenance.

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  • Can I check my own company's Experian business credit report?
  • Absolutely! This is always a good idea and it is a good first step toward securing a good credit standing. Many lending institutions pay very close attention to payment behavior trends of a business when determining the interest rate and borrowing power for business loans.

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Understanding Business Credit Report
  • How is the Credit Ranking Score determined?
  • Experian's Credit Ranking Score is determined through a statistically-derived algorithm that determines risk based on multiple factors:

    • Credit: number of trade experiences, balances outstanding, payment habits, credit utilization, trends over time
    • Public records: recency, frequency and dollar amounts associated with liens, judgments, bankruptcies.
    • Demographic information: years on file, Standard Industrial Classification code, business size.
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  • In the Credit Summary, what do the next to each item mean?
  • Experian utilizes color icons to show, in graphical terms, individual items that may impact the overall creditworthiness of a company. Good (Caution), caution (), and warning () are our choice of icons. Below is how we determine which icon to show based on specific criteria for each item.

    Business Scoring Worse: 80% to 100% = ; 61% to 79% = ; < 61% = .
    Bankruptcies: 0 filed = ; 1 or more filed, 0 active = ; 1 or more active = .
    Liens: 0 filed = ; 1 or more filed, 2 or less active = ; > 2 active = .
    Judgments: 0 filed = ; 1 or more filed, 2 or less active = ; > 2 active = .
    Collections: 1 or less filed and 0 active = ; 4 or less filed and 1 or less active = ; more than one active or more than 4 filed = .
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  • What information is contained in an Experian business credit report?
  • Business credit reports contain information on a particular business' payment history, existing credit obligations, previous or existing legal filings, and background history. Often used as an indicator of a company's "financial health," a business credit report is most commonly used to help a lender decide if a company can take on additional financial obligations and if it will most likely pay those obligations on time. Experian offers up to 4 different business reports per company ranging in depth of information.

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  • Why is there no Credit Ranking Score for a company?
  • Experian requires minimum information to generate a score; so if a business doesn't meet these requirements, a score is not generated. Minimum information is at least one tradeline and/or one demographic element.

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  • What types of information is on a business credit report?
  • 1. Company Information
    Includes the company's name, address, phone number and Experian file number. The year the file was established on Experian's database will be displayed when the company's incorporation date is not available.
    2. Credit Categories
    Classifies the company's current credit status into one of five categories – acceptable, caution, warning, serious risk and bankruptcy – based on the company's current payment behavior and the presence or absence of collection data or derogatory legal filings.
    3. Legal Filings
    Summarizes any bankruptcy, tax lien and judgment filings gathered from federal, state and county courthouses nationwide. (Experian also offers complete information on these legal filings – as well as Uniform Commercial Code, corporate records and Fictitious Business Name (Doing Business As) filings – online. See our business public records area for more information.)
    4. Detailed Collection Filings
    Includes information gathered from a nationwide network of collection agencies. The report provides the collection agency's name, the amount placed for collection and the date the account was submitted to the collection agency.
    5. Payment behavior
    Summarizes the company's credit relationships and payment performance. Experian collects this information from suppliers nationwide.
    6. Payment trends and industry comparison
    Compares the company's payment performance with other businesses in the same industry to help you make a more accurate risk evaluation. (Requires payment information about the company to be available for at least the past six months.)

    Company Background
    This information can include the type of business, number of employees or sales figures, where incorporated and key officers.

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  • What are the different credit categories?
  • Experian provides a credit category by analyzing the business's current trade experiences and the presence or absence of collection data and derogatory public record filings. We then classify the business into one of the following categories:

    • Acceptable
      This company actively uses credit and pays its bills no later than nine days late, on average. There are no derogatory legal records on file for this company.
    • Caution
      A company may fall into this category in one of two ways:
      If the company actively uses credit, the risk category is based on the current payment performance and/or legal records on file. If the company does not actively use credit, it may pose increased risk.
      In either case, the caution risk category suggests you investigate further before making credit or business decisions related to the company.
    • Warning
      Derogatory payment performance information and/or derogatory legal records exist on file for this company. Experian recommends further investigation prior to making any credit or business decisions.
    • Serious risk warning
      Serious derogatory payment performance information and/or serious derogatory legal records exist on file for this company. Experian strongly recommends further investigation prior to making any credit or business decisions. Fifteen percent of businesses fall into this higher-risk category.
    • Bankruptcy
      This company has previously filed for bankruptcy.
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  • Why did my business credit score drop? I do not see any significant changes in my business credit report.
  • It is not uncommon for a business credit score to fluctuate slightly. Experian's proprietary model for business credit scores looks at over 140 modeling variables to derive the score, so there are other factors beyond what is displayed on the credit report that can cause a score to slightly change or shift.

    Factors include, but are not limited to:

    • The presence of derogatory public records on the business profile, such as collections, liens, judgments and bankruptcies
    • The status, recent status, frequency and dollar amounts of any applicable liens, judgments or bankruptcies
    • An increased trend in slow payment of obligations
    • An increase in the number of credit inquiries or applications that are generated by the business or owner
    • The number of trade experiences, balances outstanding, payment habits, credit utilization and trends over time
    • Years in business, line of business or Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), size of business and other demographic data
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  • Where does Experian get its information?
  • Experian collects credit obligation information from thousands of businesses nationwide. These businesses are typically the suppliers or lenders with which a company has existing financial relationships.

    Experian also collects legal filings from the various local, county and state courts across the United States. Company background information is collected from a variety of independent firms. Experian does not display information directly from a company about its business, unless that information has been verified.

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Information Accuracy
  • How often does Experian update its information?
  • Experian provides access to our business database in real time. Experian receives public record information from government and vendor sources on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly schedule.

    Once we receive public record updates from the government or vendor sources, turnaround time for formatting, cleansing and loading data is generally 48 to 72 hours. Turnaround time for bankruptcy reports being available online is typically within 24 hours of the original filing.

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  • I have submitted changes to my business credit report. How soon will my report be updated?
  • Changes, once loaded by Experian into the Experian business credit file, will have an immediate impact on the business credit report and score. Approved requests for updated business credit information are loaded weekly over the weekends. However, depending on the nature of the request, investigation and approval of the requested update can take up to 30 or 60 days. For example, a simple demographic update to a business street address will not take as long to investigate, approve and process as it would to dispute trade credit detail.

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Account Security
Why Experian?
Why do I need a business credit report?
  • Can reports from Experian save my business money?
  • By reviewing public records and other business information, companies save every year on the costs of acquiring new business and managing liability and potential fraud. Reviewing public records and other business information also establishes sound business relationships that can extend for years.
    Experian's business credit reports summarize critical information about a company so you can:

    • Decide whether to do business with a company
    • Quickly and intelligently assess the business risk of lower-balance transactions
    • Avoid surprises from current customers when you review them for credit increases
    • Quickly determine whether you can confidently make a credit decision concerning your new customer or if further investigation is needed

    The report also helps you:

    • Review your own company's credit file for completeness and accuracy
    • Learn how your company compares with others in your industry
    • Develop a strategy to improve your company's credit standing by examining the strengths and weaknesses of your file
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Saving, printing and retrieving you credit report
  • How do I get my printer to show all the colors used in your reports?
  • Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) typically is not set to print background color or images, including table cell colors. On IE's Print Preview, our color charts will show as white table cells with black text. To get the table cells colored backgrounds to print, click on the browser's Tools menu. Select Internet Options, then click on the Advanced tab. Scroll down to find the Printing heading and check the box called Print Background Colors and Images. This setting affects both page backgrounds and table cell backgrounds.

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Personal Credit Reports
  • How do I locate or update my personal credit report?
  • Experian® Small Business does not provide access to Experian's personal credit information. Experian Small Business provides access to Experian's business database.

    If you have a copy of your personal credit report, you can call Experian's National Consumer Assistance Center at 1 888 397 3742 for assistance. Click here to get your personal credit report.

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