Do Businesses Get a Free Annual Credit Report?

by Gerri Detweiler

By now, you probably know you are entitled to one free look at your personal credit report each year. There are a number of websites and services that exist to help people review their consumer credit report. But, when it comes to getting a free business credit report, not many options exist. It can be done though.

Why Businesses Are Not Entitled to a Free Report

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law that stipulates how credit-reporting agencies handle individuals’ credit information to safeguard privacy and accuracy. This includes the following privileges:

  • Free access to your personal credit report once every 12 months
  • The right to dispute inaccuracies on your report using a formal process
  • Notification from creditors and employers of adverse actions taken based on your report

Though this law revolutionized credit reporting for individuals, it does not apply to businesses. Thus, business owners do not have access to a free business credit report by law.

Let’s cover a few ways you can gain access to your business credit report, so can ensure accuracy and know where your business stands. We’ll start by looking at the old-school, clunky way first.

Request a Credit Report After a Loan Denial

If you have applied for a business loan and been denied, you will receive a letter in the mail from the credit bureau the lender contacted when checking your company’s credit. You have the right to request a copy of your business credit report from this credit bureau by sending the letter back within 90 days of receipt along with a written request to see your free business credit report.

While this method does offer the opportunity to review your report for free, it won’t provide a complete picture, as it will only give you information from the credit bureau used by the lender, and there are three major bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian) that lenders typically use.

Plus, by law lenders, vendors, and suppliers—anyone checking your company’s credit report—are not required to disclose they used it to evaluate your business. So, you may not even receive notification.

How to See Your Free Business Credit Report Right Now

I hate to get promotional, but this is where we come in. Nav is the only place offering free access to a summary of both business and personal credit reports in one spot. If any other companies were doing this, I’d include them here, but they don’t exist.

Within seconds of logging in to Nav, you’ll see personal and business credit reports from three bureaus while taking all the legwork out of obtaining them. Nav also saves you the hassle of making a separate effort to check your personal credit report.

If you prefer to do things on your own, all three of the business credit bureaus will give you a full copy of your business credit report for a fee. With Experian and Dun & Bradstreet, you visit their website and fill out a form (including payment information). With Equifax, you need to call a customer service line to order a copy of your business credit report.

Also note that your business credit score will likely differ between bureaus. They all use different models and may have different information on file. That’s why Nav gives access to both Experian and Dun & Bradstreet reports for free.

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About Author

Gerri Detweiler

Gerri Detweiler

Credit expert Gerri Detweiler is education director for Nav. She has more than three decades of experience in consumer credit education, has been interviewed in more than 3500 news stories, and answered over 10,000 credit questions online. Her articles have been widely syndicated on sites such as MSN, Forbes, and MarketWatch. She is the author or coauthor of five books, including Finance Your Own Business: Get on the Financing Fast Track. She has testified before Congress on consumer credit legislation.