Having a good business credit score is essential to obtaining credit and growing your company. They’re a sign of how healthy your business is and are the best indicator of how well you can pay off your debts.
Lenders, vendors, and suppliers all rely on business credit scores to determine just how trustworthy you are. The oldest and most popular scoring method is the PAYDEX Score utilized by the credit agency Dun & Bradstreet.
What Is a PAYDEX Score
Dun & Bradstreet has been providing credit scores and data analytics for American businesses since 1841. Its methodology has evolved over the years to culminate in the PAYDEX Score today. It analyzes the payment performance of your business and tracks every payment missed and paid on time. You’ll then receive a score between 0 – 100. The higher your score, the better your credit.
How is the PAYDEX Score Calculated?
Your business credit score is made up almost entirely of your ability to pay your debts on time. However, the highest scores are only available to those who pay well before any deadlines.
Dun & Bradstreet is reliant on lenders and suppliers accurately reporting payments. It will take into consideration the reports of up to 875 separate trade references when calculating your score between 0 – 100. So if you have 50 suppliers or lenders that you work directly with, and each one reports to Dun & Bradstreet, you’ll get a more accurate score.
The scoring system encourages businesses to pay early, therefore instilling best practice. This is one of the reasons PAYDEX is so popular with lenders. It should be noted that each of your suppliers is dollar-weighted too. This means that the vendors you have more transactions with will influence your score more than others. The calculation balances the size and frequency of payments to calculate the final score.
For example, paying a $15,000 bill late would have a much bigger impact than paying a $1,000 bill early. In addition, this is all done on a 12-month rolling basis, so you’ll want to keep a consistent flow of on-time supplier payments. The platform doesn’t include payments outside of this window because it believes that only your most up-to-date information should be relevant for vendors.
What Is a Good PAYDEX Score
Dun & Bradstreet doesn’t use the terms ‘good’ or ‘bad’ credit as you’d find with a personal score. Instead, your business credit score is based on a PAYDEX score range that’s dependent on when you paid off your debts. We’ve outlined this below:
- 100 – You must pay your debts 30 days sooner than your terms
- 90 – Payment comes 20 days before terms
- 80 – Payment is made on the due date
- 70 – Payments are 15 days late
- 60 – Payments are 22 days late
- 50 – Payments are 30 days late
- 40 – Payments are 60 days late
- 30 – Payments are 90 days late
- 20 Payments are 120 days late
- 1 – 19 Payments are more than 120 days late
As you can see, to get the highest score you’ll need to be paying off your debts well in advance. However, most businesses are happy with on-time payments. Many consider 80 an excellent score, while anywhere between 60 and 80 is seen as good.
How to Get a PAYDEX Score
You’ll first need to head over to the Dun & Bradstreet website and register for a DUNS number. This will be the unique identifier for your business and will be used to track your payments. The platform then recommends you have at least four trade references. These are suppliers that you work with that’ll report your payments.
Not all vendors will report to Dun & Bradstreet, and it’s always worth encouraging them to do so if you have a good relationship. You can check your score any time by downloading a basic free Dun & Bradstreet credit report or opt for one of its paid tiers for more details.
How do Vendors and Suppliers use the PAYDEX Score
Vendors essentially use the score as a way to gauge how trustworthy you are. If you’ve got a high score then that supplier knows it will be low risk to do business with you. In addition, it’s often used by lenders to determine how much you can borrow and what terms and interest rates you might receive. The higher your score, the more credit you can apply for, at more favorable terms.
How to Increase Your PAYDEX Score
- Pay your debts on time – This is recommended as a minimum, given it’s the entire basis for your score. Where possible, and cash flows permitting, you should always try and get payments in well before the deadline to land the perfect score
- Open more tradelines – Request that as many of your vendors and suppliers as possible start reporting payments for you to get a good representative selection making up your score. Most third parties will be very open to this as it’s a sign you’re actively trying to pay vendors on time
- Don’t apply for too many loans – Too many hard pulls to your credit rating could have a negative effect on your PAYDEX Score. Try to limit your borrowing and be selective
- Regularly check your Score – If you find any discrepancies in your score, you’re more than welcome to raise a challenge and have it fixed. In addition, keeping regular tabs on your score will let you know where you’re going right and what to improve
It’s important never to underestimate just how valuable a PAYDEX score can be to a small business. For many partner lenders and suppliers, it can be the make or break of a relationship and is the easiest way for organizations to get a feel for how reliable you are.
Make sure to always stay on top of your debts to maintain a healthy rating and keep regular tabs on your progress. Having a good score opens up many options in terms of the groups you can deal with and the types of lending you can be approved for.
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