Saturday, May 11, 2013

Understanding the Differences Between Personal and Business Credit

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If you’re a business owner and you’re in the market for a business loan, it’s a good idea to understand that there are big differences between business credit and personal credit. 

Personal Credit


Let’s begin with your personal credit. Hopefully you are already aware of the fact that your personal credit score takes into account your credit history. A credit agency most commonly will calculate your score using the FICO method, which is based on several factors such as your payment history, outstanding debt, new credit, and the length of your credit history.

TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax are the top three personal credit bureaus in the US. It is required by law that these three agencies allow you to request a free credit report from each of them every 12 months. Additionally, if you find an error or discrepancy on your report, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the credit reporting company and the organization that provided the incorrect information must investigate the error in a timely manner.

It’s important to note that any accurate negative information on your credit report, like missed payments, will eventually disappear after seven to ten years. And although those marks stick around for several years, you always have the opportunity to build and repair your own credit in the meanwhile.

You want to maintain the best credit score possible because it is your passport to low interest rates and fees when you decide to apply for a car loan, take out a mortgage, request a credit card, and more. If you have a favorable credit history, companies will be more inclined to offer you good benefits and trust that you will make payments on time.

Business Credit


With that being said, if you’re looking to take out a loan for your business, it’s best to do it under your business’s credit. Regardless of how stable your business may be right now, business endeavors can be risky, so you don’t want any of your business’s potential debt or missed payments to reflect on your own personal credit report.

So that’s where business credit comes into play. If you don’t currently have business credit, you’ll want to first form a business entity, apply for a tax number, and then set up a business bank account. Once you’ve done that, you can register with business credit bureaus, so that vendors can begin reporting your business’s payment history to them. The top three business credit bureaus include Dun & Bradstreet, Business Experian, and Business Equifax.

These credit bureaus calculate your business’s Paydex Score, which is similar to the FICO scoring method. The Paydex score takes into various factors, but relies heavily on your business’s payment history.

One of the main differences between your business and personal credit, is that there is no way to repair your business’s credit report. Just a few missed payments, and your business credit could be tarnished forever.

Another big difference is that there are no rules or regulations in place that require the credit bureaus to fix errors on your business’s credit. While you can still report mistakes or dispute errors, there aren’t any laws in place to facilitate the process or protect your business like there are with personal credit.

Understanding some of these main differences between personal and business credit will make you more savvy when it comes time to take out a loan for your business.

Chloe Mulliner writes and edits for CreditSources.org, a website that focuses on bad credit unsecured loans, cash advances, and all things credit related.


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