Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) is an enterprise data company that collects business data from over 30,000 sources worldwide and analyzes that data to help business owners make informed decisions. They have a wide range of products, most of which focus on risk management and sales and marketing.
Amongst D&B’s credit building products is CreditBuilder™ Plus, which helps small or medium business owners build their D&B business credit file and is available for $149 per month, or $1,499 annually. The product can be purchased on dnb.com or via one of D&B’s sales experts.
Other businesses may consult your D&B credit file for a variety of reasons. For example, a business may review your file to gauge the likelihood you’ll be able to deliver goods on time or the likelihood that you may be in business in 12 months before deciding if they want you to be a supplier. If you’re applying for financing, including trade credit, other businesses may review your credit file to evaluate whether or not they want to extend you credit and how much they should extend.
For some business owners, especially those who may be applying for financing or attempting to enter a new supply chain, purchasing a CreditBuilder product makes sense, particularly if you have a “thin” file with little-to-no tradelines (vendors or supplier relationships that report your payment history to D&B). Having more than three vendors reporting to D&B on your behalf, and consistently paying these suppliers on time or early can improve your business scores. This could mean getting even more credit and with better net payment terms—giving you more time to pay for the goods and services your business uses.
We tried this product to get an idea of what $149 per month will get you, and here’s what we found.
CreditBuilder™ Plus Components
In order to gain access to CreditBuilder a company must have a Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S number (DUNS). Your D-U-N-S number is a unique nine-digit identifier for your business and your business credit file. D-U-N-S Numbers are often referenced by lenders and potential business partners to help predict the reliability and/or financial stability of companies they may already work with or maybe considering working with in the future. If you do not have a DUNS, you will be asked to register and fill out a short form so that one can be created for your business. Your business credit profile takes up to five days for D&B to investigate, as they need to gather information about your business, including payment details from suppliers, vendors, and creditors that you’ve worked with.
Aside: You can also register your business for a D-U-N-S number for free via D&B’s website or through your Nav account. Getting a D-U-N-S number for free will take up to 30 days.
Your CreditBuilder Plus will be accessible from Dun & Bradstreet Customer Portal. However, you will not be able to access the product until your DUNS Number has been created and assigned to the product.
There are many components to your CreditBuilder account. The CreditBuilder Insights page shows you key factors of your business credit profile that may be impacting your business credit scores, either favorably or unfavorably. Insights also allow you to select your company’s short-term objectives and then shows you some of your key scores and how they could be impacted. The CreditBuilder product also includes data that covers:
1. A section that contains details of all of your business credit scores and ratings. The Risk Assessment section allows you to view detailed information about your D&B business credit scores, including the factors affecting them and how you compare to the rest of the companies in the Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud. Trending data comparing your scores to industry averages and your selected peers is also included. This section also includes a maximum credit recommendation, so that you can see how much D&B is recommending other companies extend to you. Trending data is included that compares your scores to the industry as well as your peers.
2. A section dedicated to peer companies you’d like to track. The peer’s section allows you to benchmark your company against other businesses across key areas including credit scores, inquiries, and financial performance. You might choose companies you plan to do business with, or competitors whose financial health you’d like to monitor. CreditBuilder Plus allows you to track eight peer companies and receive alerts when there are changes to any of your peers’ business credit files.
3. A section for inquiries that allows you to see what industries are looking at your company’s business credit information. Inquiries indicate the number of D&B customers who have purchased information on your company. If you see multiple inquiries but few inquirers, this might be an indication that some companies are monitoring the credit of your business.
You can also view the number of inquiries made on your peer companies as well as when they were made in comparison to your own.
4. A section that allows you to request additional trade references that D&B may have missed while building your business credit profile. This can include rent paid to your business’s landlord, a supplier whose payments may not have shown up as reporting, and more. A CreditBuilder Plus account allows you to add up to 12 trade references beyond what D&B finds while building your profile.
Company Scores Available via CreditBuilder Plus
A number of different business credit scores and ratings are available within your D&B account that help to describe your company’s financial health. These scores are both historical and predictive, and other factors such as geographical location and industry can come into play depending on the score.
Delinquency Predictor: The Delinquency Predictor Score indicates how likely a business is to make severely delinquent payments over the next 12 months. D&B defines a severely delinquent firm as one in which 10% of its dollars owed are 91+ days late on payments. Your business is categorized into a class from 1 to 5, 5 being the highest-risk class and 1 being the lowest. This score will be affected by factors such as your payment experiences reported, years in business, and industry.
Financial Stress: The Financial Stress Score is an indicator of the likelihood of financial stress, such as bankruptcy, causing the business to shut down within the next 12 months without paying all its debts in full. Your business is categorized into a class from 1 to 5, 5 being the highest-risk class and 1 being the lowest. This score is affected by factors such as payment experience reported, your business’s age, and legal structure (sole proprietor, LLC, S-corp, etc.).
Supplier Evaluation: The Supplier Evaluation Risk (SER) Rating predicts the likelihood that one of the following events may occur: your company voluntarily or involuntarily goes out of business, becomes dormant or inactive, or files for bankruptcy. If your company supplies goods or services to other businesses, those businesses may review your SER Rating to understand the likelihood of your being unable to deliver goods and services as promised. This score ranks your business on a scale of 1 to 9, 9 being the highest risk of failure and 1 being the lowest risk. Factors affecting this score include business age, its geographic region, and how active the business has been in the last 12 months. This score is also affected by your financial statements, which you can add to your D&B profile for free via DUNS Manager.
Maximum Credit Recommendations The Maximum Credit Recommendation (MCR) provides the highest value of goods or services that a single unsecured creditor should consider extending to your company in one transaction, based upon monthly payment terms. Other businesses might look at your Maximum Credit Recommendation to help determine an appropriate credit limit to extend to your business.
D&B Rating: The D&B Rating combines your company’s size and balance sheet information, including assets, liabilities, and owners’ equity, to create an overall rating of your company’s creditworthiness.
D&B Viability Rating:
This score has four subcategories:
- The viability score assesses the probability that a company will no longer be “viable” (be in business or become dormant) within one year as compared to all other businesses in the D&B database. The score ranges from 1 to 9, where 9 indicates the highest risk of business failure and 1 is the lowest risk.
- The portfolio comparison is similar to the viability score but compares your business to similar businesses across four profile segments: (1) available financial data, (2) established trade payments, (3) limited trade payments, (4) firmographics and business activity.
- The depth of data indicator essentially shows you how robust your business credit file is. This indicator assigns your business a grade from A to G, A being a high level of data available, and G being a minimal level of data. If D&B deems your company to be “high risk,” there’s a separate H to N grading scale with which they will evaluate your business. Each letter indicates a different form of risk, for example H indicates a business is out of business or bankrupt, K indicates severely high risk, and N indicates insolvency.
- The company profile section is an indicator of the financial data D&B has on you, the trade payments being reported on your business, and the size and age of your company.
Each scoreboard features an action center that tells you what you’ll need to do to improve your score.
Additional Profile Components
The following sections of your profile give you a closer look at the data D&B has on your company and build a more accurate profile.
History & Operations
History & Operations allows you to see background and history on any key persons in your company, including management team and principals, details on related companies, your SIC and NAICS codes. Also included is a description of your company operations, the number of employees and facilities you have, details of a parent company if there is one, the geographic scope of the business, and key holdings.
Public filings inform you of past and present legal activities that could impact your financial stability. Public filings can include bankruptcies, lawsuits, liens, judgments, and UCC filings. You can also see what public filings appear on your D&B report in DUNS Manager or from your free Nav account under your PAYDEX score report. D&B receives public record information from every U.S. state, all federal bankruptcy courts, and all business-related failures filed in the U.S.
Updating Your Company’s Information
D&B allows you to request updates to your D&B business credit file, dispute payment experiences and public filings that have been incorrectly reported on your profile, and upload your financial statements for free via DUNS Manager. Uploading your financials allows you to build a more robust profile should your company not have much in the way of payment experiences on file with D&B.
Nav’s Take: Is CreditBuilder™ Plus Worth It?
CreditBuilder™ Plus may be a good fit if you are in an industry where it is common to work with a number of different suppliers and are willing to pay to quickly build a robust business credit profile. Doing so may let you qualify to do business with them and/or have them extend you credit (net payment terms). CreditBuilder Plus may also be a good match for your business if you are planning to apply for financing in the future.
Here are three features that may make it easier for you to quickly build out your profile:
- Peer benchmarking: As mentioned, the peers section allows you to add up to eight peer companies, which you can use to benchmark yourself against in terms of inquiries, financial projections, public filings, inquiries, and each score D&B has on your account.
- References: Submitting trade references in CreditBuilder Plus may help you add missing payment experiences to your business credit file. Having a complete business credit file ensures that your scores and ratings are accurately reflecting the creditworthiness of your business.
- Action items: Each score and rating available via CreditBuilder™ Plus includes a set of action items that indicate what steps you’ll need to take to bring up your score.
When your business credit profile comes into question, however, many vendors and suppliers are going to first and foremost look at your D&B PAYDEX score. For many business partners, a score of 80 out of 100 or higher will be enough to qualify you to do business with them.
Remember, just adding tradelines to your business credit profile doesn’t mean you’ll have a high Paydex score. You need to show a strong history of paying your tradelines on time or early.