Free Service to Check Your Business Credit Scores

And what goes into them

Many creditors today are moving away from relying solely on personal credit when judging a business’ financial health, according to Experian, one of the big-three credit reporting agencies, because “personal credit is not considered an ideal predictor of business behavior.” A strong business credit score could mean a higher likelihood you’ll be approved for business loans, with lower interest rates; higher credit lines; lower commercial insurance rates; and more favorable terms with vendors. That’s why every storeowner should be familiar with the main business credit scores and reporting agencies and what goes into their scoring systems.

Getting Your Score. Nav.com, a small-business-financing website, offers free access to a summary of your business credit rating (it’s a bit like Credit Karma for businesses, with no credit card required, although more detailed scores entail a monthly fee).

Here’s how Nav describes the major business credit scores and their scoring systems:

 

Business
credit score

Score range    

Score overview

Typically used by

Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX

0–100

Signifies how promptly you’ve paid bills in the past

Vendors and suppliers, to evaluate what trade terms to extend to your business

Intelliscore Plus, from Experian

0–100

Predicts the likelihood of serious delinquency in the next 12 months

Lenders, to evaluate your business for loans and lines of credit

FICO LiquidCredit Small Business Scoring Service

0–300

Rank-orders small businesses
by their likelihood of making payments on time. Personal and business credit factors may both be used.

Banks and other lenders, to evaluate your business for loans and lines of credit. Required for certain SBA loans.

Of course, your personal credit score remains important. As Experian reports, “smart creditors are taking advantage of new blended commercial scoring tools that integrate both personal and business credit attributes to assess and predict small-business risk.” For more information on your business credit rating, and how to improve it, visit bankrate.com/credit-cards/building-better-business-credit-score.

 

 

Upcoming Payroll Change

New Version of IRS form coming, to accurately calculate withholding

Watch for a new version of IRS Form W-4 for 2019 (the tax form used to calculate employees’ withholding). Small-business expert Barbara Weltman reports that the Internal Revenue Service has already released a draft version of the new 2019 form that is substantially different from the current version. “It still allows a claim for exemption from withholding,” she writes, “but uses different entries (for example, itemized deductions in excess of the standard deduction, child tax credit and other credits) to enable an employer to figure withholding on taxable compensation.” To see the draft, visit: irs.gov/pub/irs-dft/fw4–dft.pdf.

 

Twitter introduces Promote Mode

Always-on marketing of your tweets

Twitter has introduced a Promote Mode service that, for a set monthly fee, amplifies your influence by automatically promoting your marketing message and your account to a larger interested audience. The Twitter Business site states that on average, “accounts [using Promote Mode] will reach 30,000 additional people and add 30 followers each month.” (Final results depend, of course, on the quality and frequency of your tweets and your target selection.)

Here’s how it works: All you do is continue to post for your store as you usually do—tweeting updates, links and media. Then, each day, Twitter will take your first 10 tweets that meet its quality filter (see more on this at business.twitter.com/en/help/ads-policies/prohibited-content-policies/Quality_Policy.html) and add them to a campaign that targets your selected audience. (Tweets that are promoted become Twitter Ads and appear with a ‘Promoted’ badge.) Promote Mode also runs a continual Promoted Accounts campaign to drive visitors to your profile page and attract new followers. Want to monitor results? You can check analytics via mobile.

The monthly subscription fee is $99 (or as Twitter pitches, “less than the price of a cup of coffee per day”).

 

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