Business Tradelines – also known as trade references or trade information – are accounts that appear on business credit reports.
Personal credit reports may include tradelines for personal credit cards, loans, and lines of credit. There are two types of business tradelines on credit reports: financial tradelines and vendor tradelines.
The financial tradelines of your company are those reported by a bank, credit union, or financial institution. Financial tradelines outline your company’s history of obtaining and repaying (or missing payments on) financial products such as a business credit card, loan, lease, or line of credit.
Additionally, business credit reports can include vendor tradelines. Tradelines are also known as merchant, corporate, or supplier tradelines. Vendor tradelines are the net payment accounts you may have with vendors and suppliers.
As an example, if you open a net-30 account with a vendor, you have 30 days to pay an invoice. The credit report of your company may show how much credit you used and whether you made your payments on time or late.
There are several business credit bureaus that track business tradelines and other information about your business.
Bureaus specialize in financial tradelines, while others specialize in vendor tradelines. Several commercial credit reporting agencies collect and categorize information about both types of tradelines.
The Experian business credit report may list all of your business’ credit accounts and classify the tradeline company as financial, supply, services, utilities, or transportation.
Experian is also a consumer credit bureau, but your business credit profile from Experian is completely different from your personal credit report.
Dun and Bradstreet (D&B), on the other hand, focuses only on vendor credit and business credit. In addition, it categorizes a company’s trade payments. D&B may group your trade credit accounts by industry rather than listing them individually.
Why are tradelines important?
Business tradelines can be important since they give other companies and organizations a sense of your creditworthiness.
Credit reports may include an overview of your company’s history of paying its bills and accounts.
Additionally, they often have information about the business, such as how old it is, what its industry is, and whether there are outstanding liens or judgments.
When you apply for a loan, line of credit, lease, insurance, or trade credit, someone may review your business’s credit report. When you are trying to get a contract with a major corporation or government agency.
A lot of business credit reports include business credit scores or creditworthiness ratings, and your tradelines can directly impact these.
D&B Paydex Score, for example, ranges from 1 to 100. To get a score of 80, you must pay your trade accounts on time. Getting a better score requires you to pay early than the trade credit accounts require.
4 Things you should know about Business Tradelines
Running and growing your business may require the use of credit. However, there are a few things you should know about tradelines in particular.
1. Not all businesses report tradelines to a business credit bureau
Taking out a business loan, opening a line of credit, or opening a trade credit account can help you build business credit, but only if that tradeline appears on your business credit reports.
Companies may not want to invest the time or money to create a reporting system and send updates to the credit bureaus, and they are not required to report your accounts or payments.
There are other business credit bureaus that don’t let you manually submit trade references to try and build your credit history.
Fortunately, many companies report tradelines. Even then, you should check which business bureaus they belong to.
As a result, building your business credit with Experian is important, but it won’t matter if you apply for trade credit with a supplier who checks your Equifax Business or D&B report.
2. Be cautious about buying tradelines or shelf companies
If you’re looking for a fast way to build your business credit, you’ll quickly discover there are companies that sell tradelines. These are usually “seasoned” tradelines, meaning they’ve been in business for quite some time.
Generally, the seller will authorize your business to use the tradeline. A shelf company is a company formed on paper that sits on a shelf until it’s sold.
The idea is to purchase a company that has been in operation for a long time and has established credit. As a result, it can qualify for contracts and higher funding limits based on its “history.”.
Although tradelines and shelf corporations aren’t technically illegal, lenders don’t like this practice. If a lender finds out that you used these tactics, you might be in trouble.
Buying tradelines or a shelf company with the intent of misrepresenting your credit history and applying for a loan or credit account could be considered fraud.
3. Maintaining tradeline activity is important
Keep your business’s accounts active once you have established tradelines. Businesses and creditors want to see you pay your bills on time, or in the case of companies using D&B Paydex Scores, paying them early.
Experian considers a tradeline new when it’s added to your credit report for the first time. A tradeline is considered “regular” if it is updated at least once every three months with new activity.
However, if three months pass without any activity, the tradeline becomes “aged”. When there are no updates for 36 months, the tradeline can fall off your Experian business credit report-although it can return to regular status if it’s updated in the future.
4. You want more than one tradeline
In the same way that having a tradeline without information isn’t particularly useful, you want to have more than one business tradeline to augment your business credit report.
When building good business credit, it can be especially helpful to have several tradelines with a long history of on-time payments. It might even be a requirement for some business credit scores.
As an example, the D&B Paydex scoring model requires at least two tradelines (some people report needing three) and three trade experiences (payment records) in order to score your business.
How do you get a business tradeline?
A business tradeline can be obtained by opening a credit account with a company that reports to at least one of the business credit reporting agencies. If you aren’t sure if a company reports, you can contact them and ask.
You can also ask your current vendors or suppliers to report your account to one or more credit bureaus. As discussed above, however, they may be reluctant to spend resources on reporting.
Have trouble getting approved for a loan, line of credit, or trade credit account? Try contacting the company’s credit department. Hopefully, they will be able to clear up the requirements and the reason they’re denying your application.
Your business may need to be at least six months old to qualify for trade credit, or you may need to have established tradelines elsewhere.
Sometimes, it will be easier to qualify for trade credit after placing several orders and showing you’re a good customer.
How to find business tradelines that report
If you are looking to expand your credit report or add new tradelines, here is a list of vendors and suppliers offering easy approval net-30 accounts.
Several of these companies offer office supplies, shipping supplies, and cleaning supplies that your business may need anyway. Establishing payment terms with a supplier and purchasing these items using a net-30 account will improve your cash flow and build your credit at the same time.
Introducing credit strong’s business tradeline – no personal credit required!
You can also use Credit Strong Business’ secured instalment loan to add a financial tradeline to your business credit file. With a business credit-builder account, your loan will be secured by a business savings account.
Credit Strong will report your account and payments to Equifax Business and PayNet. Experian and Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE) reporting will also be added soon for existing and new customers.
You can choose either a five or 10-year plan, and there is no prepayment or early termination fee if you close the account early.
Business Tradeline FAQs
The business tradeline is a credit account that appears on a company's credit report. Establishing trade relationships and paying your bills on time (or early) is key to building your business's credit.
A business tradeline can be bought online. The seller may add your business as an authorized user on an established tradeline or sell you a shelf company with established credit. However, we don't recommend it.
The purchase of a business tradeline is not illegal, but that does not mean it's a good idea. Providing false information about your business's credit history on a bank loan application may be considered fraud. It may also hurt your relationship with creditors and credit bureaus.
You can get tradelines by opening an account with a business reporting to a credit bureau.
Credit cards, loans, leases, and lines of credit can add financial tradelines to your credit reports. Trade accounts with vendors or suppliers (such as net-30 accounts) can add vendor tradelines to your reports.