What’s DUNS Got to Do with It?

A guest blog series on accessing alternative business credit by a ConnXus partner company, Performance Financial Solutions

You’re most likely familiar with credit bureau trifecta of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These are the Proud Protectors Reporters of your FICO credit scores. These three bureaus report on your personal credit, relaying details about your payment history, etc.

But have you heard of D-U-N-S?

dnbDun and Bradstreet is the biggest major business credit reporting agency. Dun and Bradstreet is commonly known as D&B, and is a publicly traded company with a headquarters in Short Hills New Jersey.

D&B provides information on businesses and corporations for use in credit decisions. In essence, even though Experian and Equifax have commercial divisions, D&B is the most prominent. Currently they hold over 200 million business records on file.

D&B reports on your Employer Identification Number (EIN), the tax identification for your business, instead of your social security number (SSN).

They gather data on your EIN’s behalf from utility companies, landlords, insurance and benefit providers. This means that even if you didn’t know about a DUNS number, D&B may already know about your business. And if they know about your business, you could already have a credit score associated with your business. If there are no trade-lines (vendor accounts, store accounts or credit accounts) associated with your business, you most likely have a low score.

You can check, for free, with the 3 major bureaus (Experian, Equifax and D&B) to see if they already have established your business. Just as you can with personal credit reports, you can dispute the information on your business credit reports. You can do this through business credit monitoring, or through iUpdate, a D&B product.

If they do not have a record for your business, you will want to get one setup for your business. Your DUNS number is a nine-digit number that references your business location and allows the world to see what kind of credit rating you have. I say “the world”, because a DUNS number and business credit profile are public information. That means anybody that wants to do business with you can look you up to find out what kind of business you run, and how you handle credit and finance. Oh, by the way, if you plan on doing business on contract with the government, you absolutely must have a DUNS number.

Where can you get one, and how much does it cost?

Well, you have to get one through D&B’s website at www.dandb.com. You can actually get the number for free, but be careful of D&B’s sales team. They will have you convinced that you need to buy some large package to make sure that your credit reports expeditiously, etc. But you don’t need it. Politely decline and stick with the free version. Business credit cannot and should not be rushed in these ways, for accurate results.

If you need to establish business credit faster, there are more efficient ways to do it. Visit www.performancebizsolutions.com to discuss your options for establishing credit.