When to Use Business Credit Monitoring Services | A Guide for Small Businesses

When to Use Business Credit Monitoring Services | A Guide for Small Businesses

When to Use Business Credit Monitoring Services | A Guide for Small Businesses


  • Strong personal credit and business credit helps businesses qualify for certain small business loans, insurance, and partnerships. 
  • Monitoring business credit can help your business reduce the risk of the growing problems of fraud and ID theft.
  • Consider business credit monitoring as soon as you start your business.
  • Learn how business credit monitoring works, and pick the right service for your business. 

“I pay my bills on time, so I don’t need to monitor my credit.” That comment came from a business professional I was talking with, and it floored me. 

“You have even more reason to monitor your credit,” I replied. “Your good credit will be very valuable if someone gets a hold of it.” 

I was speaking from both my professional and personal experience. 

I also pay my bills on time, and it was only because I was monitoring my personal and business credit that I learned almost immediately when someone tried to open credit in my name as well as in the name of my business. 

Much like the person who doesn’t think they need to get a health check up because they feel fine, failing to monitor your business credit or your personal credit can mean  problems can go undetected. And little issues may become big issues if they aren’t taken care of quickly. 

Business Credit Monitoring and Why It’s Important in 2024

Here are three great reasons to monitor your credit: 

1. Protect your business against fraud/id theft

Business identity theft has been flagged as a serious problem by numerous organizations, including the National Cybersecurity SocietyTrulioo, a global identity verification platform, says their research found that 79% of responding organizations experienced some type of business identity theft. 

I found out someone was impersonating me and applying for credit in my name as well as in the name of my business when inquiries from companies I had not applied for credit with showed up on my personal and business credit reports. 

Monitoring your business credit is one of the best ways to catch this type of fraud early on, before the crook gets away with much more serious fraud.

2. Expanding and growing your business

Anyone can check your business credit reports including lenders and insurance companies, as well as prospective partners, suppliers, or buyers. (Even competitors can purchase your business credit reports if they are willing to pay for them.)

Prospective customers may use your business credit to decide whether to do business with your company, or to extend payment terms. Say sales are strong and you need to significantly increase your purchases of supplies or inventory. Good business credit can help you get trade credit or inventory financing.

Or let’s say you need a surety bond or insurance to serve a new client. Poor business credit could hurt mean higher insurance premiums which impacts your profitability. Or worse, your could have trouble getting that insurance at all. 

Knowing what’s in your business credit history gives you the opportunity to address any errors, or information that needs updating (such as out of date UCC filings), and, if necessary, build stronger business credit to help ensure your business credit represents your business in the best possible way. 

Knowing what’s in your business credit history gives you the opportunity to address any errors, or information that needs updating (such as out of date UCC filings).

3. Applying for loans and financing

Lenders can use your business credit (or personal credit) to decide whether to approve your loan application, set your credit limit on a line of credit, or help determine your interest rate. That means that business credit can play a key role in getting the best small business loans.

But business owners who pay their bills on time may be in for a surprise when they check their business credit scores. Their credit may not be as strong as they expected.

Why not?

Poor business credit scores aren’t always the result of negative information (like late payments or collection accounts) but instead due to a lack of credit accounts reporting. Not all companies that extend business credit report payment history to business credit bureaus. 

Getting tradelines that report to business credit can be key to good business credit scores. Monitoring your credit can help you understand what’s being reported and track your progress establishing business credit and maintaining it. . 

How Business Credit Monitoring Works

Business credit monitoring will provide you with updates to your business credit data, usually on a monthly basis. Depending on the service you use, you may get:

  • Updated business credit reports from single bureaus or multiple bureaus
  • Business credit score updates
  • Real-time alerts to changes on your credit reports
  • Insights into factors affecting credit scores
  • Public record updates (UCC filings, liens, bankruptcies etc.)
  • The ability to track credit on other businesses

Why Free Business Credit Monitoring May or May Not Be Enough

When it comes to consumer credit, you’re entitled to free credit reports under federal law. You can go to AnnualCreditReport.com to get your personal credit reports from major credit bureaus, and  there are dozens of sources for free credit personal credit scores.  

With business credit, it’s different. There’s no legal requirement that credit reporting agencies provide small business owners with free business credit reports. There are fewer sources for free business credit reports and scores. 

How To Choose a Credit Monitoring Service

Small business owners looking to monitor their company’s credit reports need to first understand that business credit reports in general are more expensive than consumer credit reports. You can go directly to major credit bureaus to purchase small business credit reports on your business or on others, but it will likely be more expensive than what you’d pay for consumer reports. 

Factors to Consider and Prioritize

Ideally you want to monitor your business credit profile from multiple major business credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Dun & Bradstreet, for example.

It’s very common in business credit for a lender, net-30 vendor or business credit card issuer to report to one or two business credit bureaus, but not all three. Monitoring your credit from multiple sources gives you a better view of your businesses’ credit information. 

Although we’ve emphasized business credit here, consumer credit is also important to business owners. Many small business financing options involve a personal credit check, especially for smaller or younger businesses. You’ll want to make sure you monitor your personal credit file along with your business’s credit. 

It’s also helpful to get alerts, and to pay attention to them. That’s how I learned how my business and I were being targeted for business identity theft. 

Business owners on the go will want a robust mobile app that allows them to quickly check their credit and financial information, and respond to any issues anytime, anywhere. 

Consider Your Needs and Budget

If your budget is tight, there are options for monitoring your business credit for free, including Nav. They are a great place to start. But for the most comprehensive services, consider paid credit monitoring. 

Top Sources for Business Credit Monitoring

Here are several options for monitoring your business credit+.

Bank of America 

View your free business credit scores from Dun & Bradstreet, when you are  a customer with Bank of America’s Business Advantage 360+, online small business banking platform.  

If available for your business, you’ll get The D&B® Delinquency Predictor Score and The D&B® Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE) Score, based on data from Dun & Bradstreet.

Dun & Bradstreet 

D&B Credit Signal offers free business credit scores and ratings for 14 days from Dun & Bradstreet+, one of the major commercial credit bureaus. After the free trial, you’ll receive a monthly summary of information in your credit file, and directional indicators for your credit scores to help you understand whether your business creditworthiness is improving or going down. You’ll also see how often your credit file is accessed. 

Another plan, D&B Credit Insights, offers a free and basic (paid plan). With the free plan, you’ll get directional changes in three scores: PAYDEX Score, D&B Delinquency Score and the D&B Failure Score. With Basic, you’ll also get 24/7 access to view five D&B business credit scores & ratings including the D&B Rating and detailed legal events: lawsuits, liens, judgments, UCC filings. 

The Basic Plan currently costs $49/month or $499 when billed annually. 


While you may know Experian+ as one of the major consumer credit reporting agencies, it also offers business credit reports. 

Business Credit AdvantageSM from Experian offers unlimited access to an online copy of your Experian business credit report and Experian credit ranking score, with automatic tracking of changes and three-month trend information. With email alerts you can find out about inquiries and significant changes to your business credit.

Business Credit Advantage currently costs $189 annually. 


Equifax+ does not currently offer credit monitoring products directly to small business owners; however, ou can monitor your Equifax business credit reports through Nav. 


We know we’re not impartial here, but Nav was built for small business owners to help them take control of their business financial health. As a result of that mission, Nav provides the most comprehensive tools to monitor your business and personal credit in one dashboard.

Here’s how it works:  

How Nav Can Help

A free Nav account offers summary reports and credit grades from Equifax and Experian (business credit) and Experian (personal credit). Note that Nav is not a credit bureau — we pull information from the major bureaus and help you make sense of it.

With Nav Prime, you get:

  • Your business credit reports from two of the leading business credit reporting agencies: Equifax® and Experian™, updated monthly. Understand what information companies are reporting about your business. 
  • Business credit scores* from Equifax and Experian (Experian™ Intelliscore PlusSM V2 and Equifax® Business Delinquency Score®). Monitor your progress in building a strong business credit history with credit scores updated monthly when you log in. 
  • Personal credit reports and scores from Experian™ and TransUnion®. (Scores provided are based on Experian™ VantageScore® 3.0 and TransUnion® VantageScore® 3.0). Log in monthly to see updated reports. 
  • The option to purchase a FICO Small Business Scoring Service (FICO SBSS) business credit score. 
  • Tradeline reporting. Nav submits your monthly payments as a tradeline to major business credit reporting agencies. 
  • Credit health updates. Use credit trends, insights and score factors to position your business for growth. 

You’ll also have access to features that are always available on Nav’s platform, including:

  • Personalized recommendations for business credit cards, small business loans, and financing options, based on your business data and qualifications. 
  • Social Health tool. Connect your Facebook and Google Business Profiles and see which reviews need your response to reply quickly and build trust. 

There’s another unique benefit that none of the services above offers. Nav Prime payments are submitted to major business credit bureaus as a tradeline each month to help build business credit. 

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.* And The majority of customers that use Nav tradeline reporting at least a year continue to see positive business credit score changes**.

Nav Prime, which offers Detailed Credit Reports and business credit scores from multiple bureaus, costs $49/month, with a discount for annual payments. It costs up to $250 elsewhere to get those benefits.*** 

*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.

**Based upon the aggregate percentage of Nav customers with positive score changes, nearly 75% of customers continue to see positive business credit score changes across business credit bureaus by keeping their Nav tradeline at least a year.

***Based on the aggregate cost of comparable individual products if purchased directly from credit bureaus, including applicable taxes.

+Information about credit monitoring products from Bank of America, Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian has been gathered independently by Nav. 

This article was originally written on April 29, 2024.

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