Good business credit is considered an economic resource that makes up the financial foundation of a company. However, almost half of small-business borrowers get a “no” because of credit scores, according to the Federal Reserve Banks of New York, Atlanta, Cleveland and Philadelphia.
Here are a few smart strategies on how to qualify for an SBA loan and manage your scores. For more information, search “credit scores” on the SmartBiz Small Business Blog.
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Choose and Use Business Credit Cards Wisely
A great way to build your credit score and qualify for an SBA loan is by responsible use of a business credit card. Business credit cards can offer better sign-up bonuses and reward rates than consumer cards. When used appropriately, the right card can help you preserve cash flow and grow your business. Fair warning: Don’t fall for a “teaser rate” or you might be in for a nasty surprise when that rate expires. Our friends at NerdWallet have put together a “best of” list that takes every detail into consideration: Best Small Business Credit Cards of 2016.
Monitor Your Scores
Business credit reports and scores are ever changing based on a variety of criteria. According to Experian, business credit monitoring can help you:
- Review your company’s credit file for completeness and accuracy
- Remain current on changes in your credit file that could negatively affect your business
- Develop a strategy to improve your company’s credit by examining your file’s strengths and weaknesses
- Know who is inquiring about your business
- Prevent business identity theft by monitoring inquiries into your file
Keep an eye on your scores to make sure they are accurately reported before you apply for a loan.
Make Every Payment on Time
It sounds simple… And it is! Make your payments on time or, better yet, early. All credit bureaus consider your history of paying creditors. Dun & Bradstreet only assigns perfect scores to those who pay early.
Don’t Incur Too Much Debt
Financial help site NerdWallet offers this good advice: Use your cards and lines of credit, but don’t max them out. Limit your spending to 20% to 30% of your credit limit.
Garner Positive Trade References
According to the SBA, adding positive payment experiences that your company has with suppliers, vendors, or business partners may have a positive impact to your business credit ratings and scores. Although not all vendors and suppliers share payment data with a business credit-reporting agency, you have the opportunity to add trade references to your company’s Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) credit file.
It’s never too late to work on improving your business credit score. Why are good scores important? In good times, a good business credit score can help you get more working capital, like low-cost funds from an SBA loan, to grow your business. In bad times, it can be a safety net to help you borrow money to keep your business afloat.
Do you need extra funds for your small business? An SBA loan is the best bet for small businesses with low rates, long terms and low monthly payments. Visit SmartBiz Loans