Business Credit Tiers: Ranges for Business Credit Scores
Credit scores can seem complicated and mysterious―and business credit scores often seem even more complicated and mysterious than personal credit scores do.
After all, business credit bureaus use entirely different rating scales than personal credit bureaus do. So if you don’t understand the different tiers of business credit, you might start panicking when you check your business credit score and see a 99―except, depending on the bureau you’re checking with, that could be an amazing business credit score.
We’re here to clear up the confusion with a simple breakdown of business credit score ranges and risk tiers. We’ll break down those ranges for the major business credit bureaus, show you how those ranges compare to personal credit tiers, and give you some tips for building top-tier credit.
We’re assuming that you already know a little about business credit―what the big credit bureaus are, why your business credit score matters, and stuff like that. If you need a refresher, our guide to understanding business credit can help.
Business credit score ranges
Credit scoring varies from credit bureau to credit bureau. That means that we need to talk about ranges by bureau―because a good credit score at one bureau might be a low score at another.
So let’s break down ranges at each of the three big business credit bureaus.
Dun & Bradstreet Paydex score ranges
Your business credit report from Dun & Bradstreet contains all kinds of information (like a maximum recommended credit limit for your business and your current number of UCC filings and liens), but your actual Paydex score reflects just one thing: your payment history.
Put simply, your Paydex business credit score is just a numerical representation of how long it typically takes your business to pay its debts.
Paydex scores range from 0 to 100, with a 100 being the best. If your score is an 80 or above, it means you usually make your payments on time (or earlier), while a score below 80 means that you pay late.
Interpreting your Paydex score
Risk of late payment
Avg. days to payment
Before or on due date
1 day–1 mo. after due date
More than 1 mo. after due date
Depending on your Paydex score, Dun & Bradstreet will assign you to an overall risk category. Again, this means the risk that you’ll pay late. So if your business gets labeled low risk, lenders can expect that you’ll repay your credit as promised. But if you get labeled high risk, they should probably expect you to make seriously late payments―if you pay at all.
We’ve broken down Paydex credit tiers in the table above, but you should know that your Paydex credit score gets really, really specific. A score of 98, for example, means that you usually pay 28 days before payment is due. And a score of 79 means that you generally pay two days late.
So if you want to know exactly what your Paydex score means, you can check out Dun & Bradstreet’s Paydex Value Chart.
Mostly, though, you just need to know that a Paydex score of 80 or above means you’re low risk, while a score below 50 marks you as high risk.
Experian Intelliscore ranges
Experian’s Intelliscore also uses a scale of 1 to 100, but it works pretty differently than a Paydex score does.
Sure, it still uses a number to categorize your risk of “seriously derogatory payment behavior,” but Experian uses a lot more factors to determine whether or not you’ll make late payments.
Interpreting your Intelliscore
In fact, all of the following gets used to calculate your Intelliscore:
- Outstanding balances
- Credit utilization
- Typical repayment
- Liens, judgments, and bankruptcies
- Business age, industry, and size
The result? A score of up to 100, with 100 representing the lowest risk and 1 representing the highest risk.
Based on your score, you’ll end up in one of five Intelliscore credit tiers (more than Paydex uses), with a risk somewhere between low and high.
Equifax Business Credit Risk Score ranges
Equifax uses a very different range for its Business Credit Risk Scores. Rather than 1 to 100, you’ll get scored from 101 to 992, with 992 being the best score.
As with other business credit scores, your Equifax Business Credit Risk Score tries to assess how likely it is that you’ll be late on payments―in this case, more than 90 days late in the next year.
Note that while Business Credit Risk Scores usually start at 101, you can get a 0. That only happens if your business has declared bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, Equifax doesn’t publish specific ranges for its business credit tiers―at least for now. But Equifax appears to be revamping its whole business credit suite, so we’ll update this article if Equifax starts offering more specifics.
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Personal credit score ranges
Now that you’ve seen business credit ranges, you might be wondering how they compare to personal credit score ranges.
FICO score ranges
Most lenders (both personal and business) use a version of your credit score called a FICO score. Now, there are quite a few FICO scoring models, so your score and its meaning can vary a bit. But most commonly, lenders use the FICO Score 8 model.
Interpreting your FICO score 8
In that case, your credit score will range from 300 to 850, with an 850 being the best possible score.
Within that range are five different credit tiers, so you’ll get a rating somewhere between excellent and poor.
As you can see, personal credit scores and their ranges look pretty different than business credit scores do. But since many business lenders will care about both your business and your personal credit score, you’ll want to make sure you stay in a good credit range for both.
Tier 1, 2, and 3 credit
Aside from the FICO credit ranges above, you may have also heard of lenders using tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 to describe credit.
You’ll most commonly see this from auto lenders, often from dealers offering financing. They’ll use your credit tier to make lending decisions—like deciding if you qualify for a car or loan or calculating what kind of interest rate you get on an auto loan.
Tier 1 is the best credit tier, while tier 3 is the worst. But you should know that these tiers don’t have official meanings. Different lenders will use different sorting criteria (usually credit score range) to categorize you.
So at one lender, you might qualify for tier 1 credit with a credit score of 720 (a good credit score, according to the FICO scoring model), while another will reserve tier 1 for credit scores of 750 or above (very good or excellent credit scores).
With that said, you shouldn’t stress too much about which credit tier you fall in―because you can’t reliably predict it. Instead, just work on building good personal credit.
Improving your business credit score
At this point, you should understand what your business credit score means. But what if it doesn’t fall in the credit tier you want?
Well, you should remember that your credit score can (and will!) change over time. That means that you can take steps to improve it.
Mostly, you just need to actually use business credit and then repay it on time. So go ahead and take out a business credit card or line of credit, and always make your monthly payments on time (or even better, ahead of time).
As you do so, you'll improve your payment history, and your business credit store should naturally improve.
If you’d like more ideas, our guide to building business credit can help.
Once you know how business credit score tiers work, your credit score can look a lot more meaningful to you. You’ll better understand how lenders will view you, and you’ll know how you can work to improve your business credit score.
So whether you’ve got a great business credit score or one that needs some improvement, we hope our guide helps you become a more informed borrower.
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of your business credit score, keep an eye on it with one of our picks for the best business credit monitoring services.
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