Business Credit Reports

Business Credit Reports

Business credit reports are an indication of how creditworthy your business is and can affect your business's ability to get access to credit.

Finding the best credit reports for your business

By Laura Rettie, Personal Finance Journalist.

Laura Rettie

Company credit reports are one of the ways lenders determine your creditworthiness. Read our handy guide to understand what information is held within your business’s credit report and how it can impact your chances of getting credit.

What is a business credit score?

Similar to personal credit reports, business credit reports are how lenders assess your business’s creditworthiness and how risky it would be to lend to you.

The terms business credit report and business credit score are often used interchangeably, though technically, they are not the same thing. A company’s credit report is effectively a report of all the information held by credit reference agencies (CRAs) about your business, credit history and financial behaviour.

A company credit score is a numerical value that differs between CRAs, that can be used as a guide to how much risk your business poses as a borrower.

Your business credit report is what determines your company’s credit score.

How do business credit scores work?

There are several credit reference agencies in the UK that will collect a business’s information and form a credit report, each using its own scoring system.

Here’s a list of the 5 most common business CRAs in the UK and an overview of their credit scoring systems:

Dun & Bradstreet (D&B)

D&B are a popular CRA, and their scores are made up of two parts; a score for financial strength and a risk indicator.

The financial strength indicator shows the tangible net worth of a business based on its latest financial accounts.

The financial strength indicator will usually be a letter, or a letter and a number, ranging from H to 5A.

An indicator of H would mean that your company’s net worth is below £7999, whereas an indicator of 5A means that a business’s net worth is above £35,000,000.

There are also 4 alternative symbols used in the D&B score in place of the financial strength indicator; these are:

  • N - negative net worth
  • O - Net worth undetermined
  • NB - New business (less than 12 months old)
  • NQ - Business has ceased trading

The risk indicator shows the lender’s risk when lending to your company, the risk indicator ranges from 1-4, with 1 being low risk and 4 being high risk.


Experian is one of the top credit reference agencies; their credit scores range from 0 to 100. Below is an overview of what different scores mean:

  • 0: Failed company
  • 1: Imminently failing company
  • 2-15: Maximum risk
  • 16-25: High risk
  • 26-50: Above-average risk
  • 51-80: Below-average risk
  • 81-90: Low risk
  • 91-100: Very low risk


Equifax is another popular CRA that uses a credit risk score, which ranges from 101-992 - the higher the number, the lower risk the business poses to a lender.

Credit passport 

Credit passport’s score has two elements, the first is a letter score, ranging from E to A++, and the second is a percentage score of the probability of default.


Creditsafe’s business credit scores also range between 1-100, where the lower the credit score, the higher the risk.

Why is my business credit score important?

A business credit score helps banks and lenders to determine your creditworthiness and how much of a risk you pose as a borrower.

If your business wants to apply for a loan or any other form of credit, your business credit score will not only determine whether you will be approved but also how much you’ll be able to borrow and how much interest your business will have to pay.

One major difference between business and personal credit reports is that anyone is able to view a business credit score, and it’s common for businesses to check the credit scores of suppliers or other businesses before choosing to work with them and signing a contract.

What impacts my business credit report?

There are a number of factors that affect your company credit rating, including;

  • Making multiple credit applications in a short period of time.
  • Exceeding your approved credit limits on products such as overdrafts and business credit cards.
  • Missing and making late payments on bills, such as utility bills or business loan repayments.
  • Not filing your business accounts on time.
  • How long your business has been operating.

How can I improve my business credit rating?

If your business credit score isn’t where you need it to be, there are a few things you can do to improve it. These include:

  • File your company accounts on time: Every year, businesses need to submit their company accounts to Companies House and company tax returns to HMRC. Filing your accounts and tax returns late can give the impression that your business is struggling financially and could negatively impact your credit report.
  • Pay bills and invoices on time: Making late payments, whether it’s on rent, utility bills, loan payments or invoices, can negatively affect your business credit rating. Consistently making payments on time, or even early when possible, will not only have a positive impact on your company credit report but will show lenders that you’re a reliable borrower.
  • Check your business credit report for inaccuracies: Having incorrect information on your credit report can have a detrimental impact on your business credit score. If you check your report and find incorrect information, contact the CRA to get the information corrected. Additionally, keep any company information updated with Companies House, suppliers, customers and lenders.
  • Limit the number of credit applications your business makes: Every time your business applies for credit, the lender will perform a “hard credit search”. Each time this is done, it leaves a mark on your company credit file. Having too many can give a negative impression, making it look like your business is struggling financially and desperate for credit.
  • Stay under your business’s credit limits: Maxing out or exceeding your business’s credit limits is a bad sign for lenders. Staying within your limits and using your business credit sensibly can have a positive impact on your business credit rating.

What information is in my company credit report?

A business credit report holds information about your company and it’s financial history. A company credit report is likely to include:

  • Credit score: A business credit report will include a credit score as an overall indicator of how much of a risk your business poses.
  • Business information: Such as company name, registered address, website, phone number and when the company was incorporated.
  • Financial summary: Any outstanding loans, when accounts and tax returns were last filed, accounts history from the past three years.
  • Current credit limits: A company credit report will show your current credit limits and how much you’re currently using.
  • Payment history: How many payments you’ve made late or on time, and any missed payments still outstanding.

The information provided does not constitute financial advice, it’s always important to do your own research to ensure a financial product is right for your circumstances. If you’re unsure you should contact an independent financial advisor.

Our experts have been behind some of the most loved UK financial brands

We're on a mission to improve the finances of the nation by helping you to spend wisely and save money

Excellent TrustPilot TrustPilot Team

Our experts have been behind some of the most loved UK financial brands

We're on a mission to improve the finances of the nation by helping you to spend wisely and save money

Excellent TrustPilot TrustPilot Team

Frequently asked questions

Does my personal credit score impact my business’s credit score?

For the most part, your personal credit score and your business’s credit score are completely different, and your personal credit score shouldn’t impact your business credit score directly.

However, in some cases your personal credit score may impact your business’s ability to access credit, especially if your business is new, you’re providing a personal guarantee or your business is a sole proprietorship.

What’s the difference between a personal and business credit score?

Business credit scores and personal credit scores are very similar in many ways. Personal credit reports show your individual financial history and will impact your ability to access personal credit, such as a mortgage, credit card or a personal loan.

Business credit reports show the financial history of the business, and, similarly to personal credit reports, will impact a business’s ability to access credit, such as business loans and credit cards.

One of the main differences between personal and business credit reports is that whilst personal credit reports are private, anyone can see a business’s credit report, and it’s common for companies, investors or suppliers to check a business’s credit history before dealing with a firm.

How do I check my company credit score?

There are several online services that allow you to check and monitor the credit score of not only your company, but also of other businesses.

Your company credit rating will differ, depending on what credit reference agency you use, and some of these tools will charge a fee for using their services. It’s a good idea to compare different commercial credit report services using a comparison site like ours.

How often should I check my business credit score?

There’s no hard and fast rule for how often you should check your business credit score, though it’s a good idea to check it quarterly to spot any changes and check for inaccuracies.