Your credit reports provide in-depth information about your overall financial situation, which is why it’s crucial to review your credit reports for accuracy. It can also help you find fraudulent or unauthorized activity before your credit gets out of hand. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to obtain copies of your personal credit reports.
The FACT Act (Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act) gives consumers the right to a free credit report every year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Head over to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228 to get your free credit report. Just make sure you get a copy from all three because they are separate entities, which means your information may not be exactly the same in all three.
So what about access to a free business credit report?
Why Businesses Are Not Entitled to a Free Report
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law that stipulates how the credit reporting agencies handle your credit information to protect your privacy and ensure accuracy. Although this law greatly transformed credit reporting, it doesn’t apply to businesses. Thus, by law, business owners do not have access to a free business credit report. However, there are a few ways business owners can still access their business credit report.
1. Request your business report from Nav.com. Getting your business report from Nav.com is free. Setting up an account will get you free access to your personal credit reports from all three bureaus and business credit reports from Experian and Dun & Bradstreet.
2. Request your credit report after a loan denial. Just like with personal loans, if you applied for a line of credit and denied, you will likely receive a letter of explanation from the credit bureau the lender used to pull your business credit. At that time, you have the right to request a copy of your business credit report from that credit bureau, but you must submit that request within 90 days of your inquiry. If you choose to request a copy of your report using this method, just remember that you won’t get a copy of your report from the other lenders (Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian).
It’s worth noting that anyone checking your company’s credit report (lenders, vendors, or suppliers) are not required to disclose they used it to determine your business’ creditworthiness. So it is possible you may not receive notification.
Don’t Have a Business Credit Score?
If you haven’t yet started building your business credit, there are few easy ways to get started:
- Open a business bank account in your business’ name.
- Get a DUNS number, and;
- Buy from vendors that report to credit agencies
Once you’ve begun to establish credit, you can track your PAYDEX score. Remember, just like your personal credit score, your business credit score will likely differ between each bureau because they use different scoring models.
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