Learning more about your business credit is not as simple as it is for your personal credit. It’s a totally different system for business credit and there are fewer services available for checking it.
Thankfully, Nav.com has come along to help small business owners (and individuals) better understand their credit.
As you’ll see, Nav has premium offerings to consider, but even their basic service allows you to check your business credit score and get free credit monitoring.
Our Nav.com review explains how it works and why you might consider checking your score with them.
Understanding Business Credit Scoring
It’s important for small business owners to keep an eye on their business credit. Your ability to access a loan or favorable payment terms depends on a good score. But the world of business credit reporting is different from personal credit reporting.
Let’s start with a quick breakdown of business credit scoring:
Credit reporting agencies
Most consumers are familiar with the personal credit reporting agencies of Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The business credit reporting agencies are Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.
The Dun & Bradstreet scoring system is called Paydex which ranges from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating better credit-worthiness. Experian’s small business scoring IntelliScore also ranges from 0-100, and it is typically used by lenders to evaluate your business for loans and lines of credit. Finally, the FICO Liquid Credit Small Business Scoring ranges from 0-300, and it is a required score for some Small Business Administration loans.
Fewer legal protections
While consumer credit laws allow individuals to challenge anything on their report and have incorrect negative entries removed, there are no similar laws for business credit. This means an incorrect black mark on your business credit can be difficult to remove. This is one of the reasons why it is essential to monitor your business credit.
Does Credit Karma do Business Credit?
No, Credit Karma does not report business credit. Credit Karma only reports your personal credit information. The two systems are entirely separate and your business credit does not affect your personal credit in any way.
There may be lenders who check both your business credit and your personal credit in order to issue a loan. But loans taken out in your business name are only reported to your business credit.
Free Credit Scores with Nav
Once you sign up and provide Nav.com with your personal and business information, the system will make a soft pull of your credit score. (This soft pull will not affect your credit in any way.) You receive the following information:
- Experian Personal Score and Report Overview
- Experian Business Letter Grade and Report Overview
- Equifax Business Credit Report
- Dun & Bradstreet Business Letter Grade and Report Overview
Experian Personal Score and Report Overview
Nav.com will provide you with your Experian VantageScore. VantageScore is the scoring model put together by TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, and it mimics your FICO score. Though it is not exact, the VantageScore number gives you a good sense of what creditors see when you apply for credit.
Nav also offers you a high-level overview of your credit report. Specifically, you can see:
- your payment history
- debt usage
- credit age
- account mix
- number of inquiries
- debt vs. income
- number of score factors that are affecting your score
This kind of bird’s-eye view of your Experian credit report can help you stay on top of how your consumer credit is faring.
The best part is that signing up for this free credit score and report with Nav.com can fill in an important blank in monitoring your credit. Nav offers the only completely free and ongoing credit monitoring services for your Experian score and report. Pairing a Nav account with a Credit Karma account gives you a completely free method of monitoring all three of your consumer credit reports.
Experian Business Letter Grade and Report Overview
If you’re signing up with Nav.com for free access to your business credit, the information is not quite as comprehensive as it is for consumer credit. Rather than getting an approximation of your Experian IntelliScore, Nav will instead give you a letter grade from A-F to indicate how good your business credit is. (Just like in high school, A is for 90-100, B for 80-89, and so on).
The report overview also gives you some other relevant information about your business credit. You can learn how many tradelines (that is, credit cards) have been reported to Experian. You’ll also find out if there are any black marks, such as bankruptcies, liens, collections, judgments, or UCC filings, against your business.
While you are not able to check things like credit utilization or look at specific accounts, the free Experian business report can give you a good basic understanding of the health of your business credit. You can always sign up for the Nav Premium option if you need more information. (More on that below).
Equifax Business Credit Report
Equifax offers an in-depth credit report and score for your small business. Getting your score through Equifax can help you understand your business’s financial health, plus you’ll be able to take steps to improve your score, if need be.
With the report, you’ll get access to:
- Your financial payment history
- Your trade payment history
- Business demographics
- Risk scores–which shows the likelihood of default of bankruptcy in the next 12 months
You’ll also see a credit summary that shows your business’ credit accounts with banks and suppliers, as well as any public judgments or liens on the business.
Dun & Bradstreet’s Letter Grade and Report Overview
Like the Experian business credit score, your Dun & Bradstreet score is provided as a letter grade. You also get a report offering potential negative records that may be associated with your business. There’s also a helpful “Financial Details” D&B overview that gives you a few critical pieces of information, including your highest credit amount, your total debt, and your highest past due amount.
Other Free Benefits
In addition to receiving your scores, grades, and report overviews, you can also access many other great benefits for free with Nav. For instance, tips and insights into your three reports can help you make sense of the reports. There are also tools that will help you build your business credit, as well as personalized financing matches to help you find the best financing for your business needs.
Finally, your free plan gives you 24/7 monitoring and alerts. You can rest assured that you’ll know if something untoward shows up on one of these three reports.
What’s both unusual and commendable is the fact that Nav does not require you to put a credit card on file in order to access all of these free services. It’s really free.
Small business owners who need a little more than what’s offered through the free plan can choose to sign up for Nav Premium. For $24.99 per month, your Premium account will give you the following:
- $1 million in personal identity theft protection
- Your personal credit scores from Experian and TransUnion
- Your business credit scores from Experian and Dun & Bradstreet
- Full, detailed credit reports for your personal and business credit scores. This is the same information that creditors and lenders use to determine the credit health of your business.
That monthly fee may seem a little steep, but entrepreneurs who are dealing with incorrect business credit reports or who have a less-than-stellar credit history may find the price worthwhile.
The Bottom Line
Signing up for free credit monitoring with Nav is actually free, with no strings attached. That makes it an excellent resource for both consumers who want a fuller picture of their creditworthiness and for entrepreneurs who want to make sure their business credit is healthy.
Consumers will find that pairing Nav.com with another free service like Credit Karma can be an excellent way to have a complete understanding of how creditors view you. Entrepreneurs will find that Nav gives them a good, baseline glimpse of their business credit. In either case, this is a solid free credit score option, with a good paid version available for those who need more detail.