Unlocking Business Credit: Leveraging Credit Karma for Business

Unlocking Business Credit: Leveraging Credit Karma for Business

Unlocking Business Credit: Leveraging Credit Karma for Business

If you’re interested in checking or building credit to qualify for credit cards or loans, you’ve probably heard of Credit Karma. 

What if you’re also a small business owner? Can Credit Karma help you check your business credit or qualify for business financing? Learn about Credit Karma for business.

What Is Credit Karma?

Credit Karma is best known for providing consumers with free credit scores and credit report monitoring. It offers free personal credit scores and reports. 

It also helps match consumers with credit cards, loans and other financial products. Credit Karma LLC is owned by Intuit. 

What Is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a calculation used to help predict financial behavior. It’s often used to predict how likely someone is to repay a loan, by comparing individual factors (like payment history and credit experience) with those of large groups of people. 

The top factors most consumer credit scoring models consider are:

  • Payment history
  • Debt
  • Age of credit history
  • Mix of credit
  • New accounts/inquiries

There are many different credit scoring models, and credit scores can be customized for industries or lenders. The majority of consumer credit scores in the US are created by FICO, followed by VantageScore. 

Most consumer credit scores use a range of 300–850, where 300 is the lowest score and 850 is the highest (or best possible) score. Lower scores indicate higher risk to the lender (or insurer) while high scores usually represent lower risk. 

Why Is Business Credit Important?

First, let’s answer the question, “What is business credit?” Business credit refers to credit and credit reports for businesses, rather than consumers. 

Good business credit ratings can help a business qualify for business loans, certain contracts, partnerships and other opportunities. 

Do Businesses Have Credit Scores?

Yes, businesses can have their own business credit scores. These scores are usually created by the business credit reporting agencies that sell reports and scores, and are calculated using information found in business credit reports. 

Major business credit bureaus (also called “commercial credit bureaus”) and their most popular business credit scores include: 

Experian Business

Experian creates Intelliscore credit scores, which traditionally range from 0—100, with a higher credit score indicating lower risk. Intelliscore Plus V3 is a newer version of the Experian Intelliscore with a range of 300–850, similar to consumer credit scores. 


Equifax sells a number of different business credit scores. A couple of their popular scores are:

Equifax Business Credit Risk Score™

This score ranges from 101 – 992 and predicts how likely the business is to incur a 90-day delinquency or charge off over the next year. Unlike some of the other scores listed here, a low score is better as it indicates lower risk. 

Equifax Business Failure Score™

This score ranges from 1000 – 1610 predicts the likelihood of a business failing through bankruptcy within the next year. Again, a lower score is better with this scoring model. 

Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet, sometimes referred to as D&B, offers a number of credit scores. One of its most well-known scores is the D&B PAYDEX Score which runs on a scale of 0-100, with a higher score indicating lower risk. 

However, it sells a variety of scores including:

  • D&B® Delinquency Predictor Score (DPS) with a scale of 1-5 
  • D&B® Failure Score® with a scale of 1-5
  • D&B® Supplier Evaluation Risk (SER) Rating with a scale of 1-9

With these scores, a lower score is better as it indicates less risk. 


There is a FICO score specifically for business called the FICO SBSS score. It can evaluate personal credit information of multiple owners in the business, as well as the business credit report data for the business. This information is used to create a single credit score that ranges from 0 to 300. A higher score is better because it indicates lower risk.  

FICO isn’t a credit bureau, so it doesn’t have credit information. Instead, the lender chooses which bureau(s) it wants information to come from. 

How Is a Business Credit Score Calculated?

Each business credit scoring model can evaluate different factors, but the most important information for almost every scoring model is payment history. 

The accounts that appear on business credit reports are often called “tradelines.” Credit scores evaluate how many tradelines are paid on time. Tradelines help build good business credit provided they are paid on time. 

Payment history can also include negative information such as collection accounts, as well as public record items like legal judgments or tax liens filed against the business, bankruptcy, and UCC filings. 

In addition to payment history, some business credit scores may consider factors like:

  • Credit utilization, which looks at balances on revolving accounts compared to credit limits. 
  • Industry in which the business operates. 

Inquiries aren’t usually a big part of business credit scores, though there’s nothing to stop them from being considered as long as they are available. (Not all business credit reports list inquiries.)

What Is the Difference Between Business and Personal Credit?

There are several key differences between business and personal credit:

Personal creditBusiness credit
Free annual credit reports required by lawNo free annual credit reports required
Access limited to credit, insurance and specific purposesAnyone can purchase business credit reports
Most scores range from 300—850Score ranges vary
Most lenders report to all three major bureausLenders may or may not report to all bureaus
Source: Nav

Does an LLC Have Its Own Credit Score?

Yes, an LLC can have its own credit scores if it establishes business credit. It’s not automatic, though. The business will need tradelines appearing on their business credit reports to have a credit score. 

Any business can have a business credit history, regardless of whether they are formed as an LLC, S corp, corporation, or partnership. 

Even businesses that operate as a sole proprietor (without a formal business entity) can establish business credit

Read: 15 Steps to Make Your Business Legit

Does Credit Karma Offer Credit Monitoring for Small Businesses?

No, Credit Karma does not currently offer business credit monitoring. It only offers consumer credit monitoring. 

Is There a Version of Credit Karma for Businesses To Check Their Credit Scores?

Nav* is the most comprehensive source for personal and business credit insights and credit monitoring. Nav is the only place to provide both personal and business detailed credit data from 6 reports. Small business owners can see their relevant credit information and how lenders and credit issuers evaluate their creditworthiness through Nav’s Detailed Credit Reports.

*Nav is a different company than Credit Karma LLC, and is not affiliated with Credit Karma. 

Is There an App That Specializes in Building Business Credit?

Nav Prime is a financial health platform that offers detailed credit reports and offers an app available for iOS and Android. 

Nav reports your monthly payments for Nav Prime as a tradeline to all three major credit bureaus. Customers who used Nav’s Detailed Credit Reports with tradeline reporting saw an increased business credit scores up to 50% in the first 3 months.*

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an employer identification number required to build business credit?

An employer identification number is a tax ID, similar to a Social Security number, but for businesses. An EIN is not required to build business credit. 

However, it can be helpful to get one and to use it when applying for small business loans or a line of credit. This can help ensure any tradelines you get are properly linked to your business credit profile. Again, it’s not required, but you can get an EIN for free.

Do business credit cards report to personal credit? 

Most business credit cards don’t appear on personal credit reports unless you default and fail to pay back what you’ve charged. Most business credit cards and charge cards are reported to business credit bureaus, and can help build business credit. Learn how business credit cards report to business credit here

Does Credit Karma offer a real credit score?

Credit Karma shows VantageScore credit scores. These scores were developed by the major credit bureaus as an alternative to FICO over a decade ago, and their use continues to grow. 

According to VantageScore, over 3,000 banks and other companies use VantageScore credit scores daily to assess consumer creditworthiness. In 2022, over 19 billion VantageScore credit scores were used. 

VantageScore credit scores are not used in business credit decisions. 

Are there alternatives to Credit Karma?

If you want to check your personal credit file, you can get free copies from AnnualCreditReport.com, the federally mandated site for free credit reports. 

If you want to check your personal credit scores, here are more than 38 places you can get your credit scores for free

Nav can help you actively build business credit history, improve the metrics that matter, and access your best financing options.

*Based on aggregate data tracking Experian® Intelliscore Plus business credit scores after three months of having Nav tradeline reporting. Results will vary. Scores are calculated from many variables; some users may not see improved scores.

This article was originally written on March 27, 2024.

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