10 States With the Best Business Credit Scores

It’s no secret that personal credit scores are a barometer of financial strength. The better your score, the easier (and cheaper) it is to get things like a mortgage or car loan. But, did you know small business owners have a separate business credit score for their company?

The two scores share commonalities, both impact a business owner’s ability to get financing, but they also have surprising differences.

While personal and business credit scores are both influenced by region, new data from Nav.com reveals other factors, like local policy climate, can impact business credit scores. Nav used data from 15,500 of its small business customers to calculate the average business credit score for each state to find the top 10.

Business Credit Score 2017 Rankings

So, what is a solid business score? Unlike personal credit scores, the business credit score range is much smaller. Most models range from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the better. Each of the 10 states with the best business credit scores have scores of 45 or above — putting them in the low- to medium-risk range. Business owners with scores in this range will find it easier to qualify for loans and trade credit with more favorable terms.

If you own a business in a northern state, your business credit score is more likely to outshine the rest of the country. Eight of the 10 states with highest average business credit scores are located where snow can regularly fly, with one “roll tide” exception.

10. Michigan: 45.0

Michigan snuck into the top 10 with an average business credit score that makes it easier for business owners to get an affordable loan. The state ranks higher for business credit scores than it does for personal credit, where its 675 is almost equal to the national average. Its business score nearly mirrors its 12th place ranking for policy climate according to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council).

9. Maine: 45.7

Maine business owners enjoy both stronger than average business and personal credit scores. This is a winning formula for success, as both scores can be used by business lenders to get business financing. Its strong business credit score flies in the face of the SBE Council’s low, number 44 policy climate ranking, which is a surprising, recurring theme in our list .

8. Alaska: 45.7

The “great white north” trend continues, as Alaskan business owners maintain higher business credit scores than most of the country. Unlike others on the list, Alaska’s average personal credit score of 668 falls below the national average and it’s settled in the middle of the pack when it comes to policy climate.

7. Wisconsin: 46.1

It should be easier for Wisconsin entrepreneurs to find the cheese they need to run and grow their business thanks to a solid business credit score. Their residents also rank fifth in personal credit scores, thanks in part to having the lowest credit card delinquency rate according to TransUnion data. The state ranks below average for policy climate, but it doesn’t seem to be holding Wisconsin back.

6. Utah: 46.3

Talk about a state with business tailwinds. Utah’s business credit score is among the nation’s best, its personal credit score of 679 is above average, and its policy climate is comes in at No. 11. It’s no wonder why the beehive state consistently ranks tops in business growth.

5. Oregon: 47.3

Like others on the list, Oregon shows that strong personal credit health can translate to good business credit scores. The state’s top five ranking means its business owners with strong scores can negotiate better payment terms for goods and services from suppliers, like net-60 or net-90 day terms. Like Maine, Oregon ranks very low on the SBE Council’s policy index rating, but its business owners’ credit scores are thriving.

4. Alabama: 47.6

Alabama is the only southern state that cracked the top 10 list—although it has the 5th-worst personal credit score average in the country. Some of this can be explained by Alabama’s strong No. 9 rank for policy measures and costs that impact small business. Strong business credit scores will help most Alabaman companies, but for younger companies (under 2 years in business), business lenders will heavily weigh personal credit scores.

3. Nevada: 48.8

Nevada hit the business credit score jackpot, beating out all but two other states in the nation. It also ranks number one in the SBE Council’s policy index, which should mean that business owners there are less burdened by regulations and taxes. Despite those solid rankings, and reflecting the boom or bust persona of Las Vegas, it also has the third-worst personal credit in the country. For  business owners with strong enough business credit scores and financials, they may be able to overcome personal credit flaws when applying for lending.

2. Iowa: 49.2

Iowa may be first in the nation to pick the Presidential candidates, but it narrowly missed out on pole position for business credit. Business owners here also have the added benefit of strong personal credit, where it ranks in the top 10. Having strong credit scores in both categories can help the state’s entrepreneurs qualify for the money they need to expand — which should come in handy as Iowa’s economy is predicted to expand through 2017.

1. Vermont: 51.7

Like maple syrup on pancakes, Vermont’s business credit is sweet. Its average score takes the top spot in the country and it is the only state that cracks the 50 mark, signifying a lower credit risk. Again, we see that the SBE Council’s policy index ranking doesn’t necessarily correlate with business credit health, as Vermont ranks near the bottom on their list. The state’s stellar business credit score, combined with personal credit that ranks No. 2 in the country, makes for business success. Entrepreneurs in the Green Mountain State with strong business credit are most likely to secure affordable funding, with the best terms.

Considering U.S. small businesses produce 46% of GDP, their success can ripple across the entire economy. That success typically depends on access to affordable capital. One way you can set yourself up to qualify for the best funding is by maintaining a strong business credit profile. Low scores are the number one reason business financing applications get denied. You can get your free business credit scores, along with your personal credit scores, by visiting Nav.com.

A list of business credit score rankings for every state, maps, trends and methodology for Nav’s 2017 State Business Credit Snapshot are available here. Personal credit data was sourced from Experian’s 2016 State of Credit report.

Editor’s note: You can get a snapshot of your personal credit by taking a look at your credit report summary on Credit.com. This provides you with your two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, plus a review of the five key areas that affect your scores.

Image: PIKSEL

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Trump’s Business Credit Score Is 19 Out of a Possible 100

Trump-business

Debate season has brought about quite a bit of talk about how Donald Trump runs his businesses and how the Clinton Foundation gets its donor dollars. Nav, a business score education organization, decided to run business credit scores for both The Trump Organization and the Clinton Foundation (you can view the full Nav report details here). The results might surprise you.

What’s a Business Credit Score?

Similar to your personal credit scores, business credit scores and reports suggest a way to determine the credibility of a company by looking into how it has handled debts and obligations in the past.

“Suppliers, vendors and even business partners can look up your business’s credit score, anytime they want, without notifying you and without your permission,” Gerri Detweiler, head of Market Education for Nav, said.

Businesses leave an information trail when using credit, which is collected by business credit reporting agencies. A business credit score could be determined by the use of business credit cards, repaying equipment leases or business loan, or working with creditors that report business activity to credit reporting agencies, Detweiler said.

According to the Nav report, many types of businesses rely on business credit scores similar to the way people rely on personal credit scores — these scores can determine interest rates and loan approvals. Lenders, vendors and suppliers may look up a business’ credit scores to make financing or trade credit decisions. They may also use the scores when determining whether to extend terms to a business, such as letting it pay for goods or services in 30 days (net-30) or 60 days (net-60). The U.S. government can also review business credit when a company applies for a large contract. Even potential business partners may look into a company’s reports before deciding to do business with it.

Business scores often take a harder hit because of late payments than personal scores. Delinquencies or slow payments, for example, might be reported if they’re only a day late for a business, compared to the 30-day grace period typically offered with personal credit, according to Nav.

And, just like with personal scores (which you can view two of on Credit.com for free, updated every 14 days), there can be reporting mistakes that can ding your business credit score, Detweiler said.

The Trump Organization’s Business Credit Score

According to Nav, The Trump Organization, Inc.’s business credit score is a 19 out of 100 as of Sept. 23, 2016, which puts it below the national average score by more than 30 points. The Nav report said the score indicates the Trump Organization “is very likely to default on its credit payments” and that “this will make it difficult to get financing.” It puts Trump’s Organization in a “medium-to-high risk” category.

What Hurt the Trump Score

“Derogatory information, including a tax lien, judgement and collection accounts are affecting the Trump Organization’s credit scores,” Detweiler said. Derogatory information can include things like bankruptcies, but Trump’s bankruptcies did not show up on the report — most likely because they were old or for other businesses he is associated with, Detweiler said.

“Payment status is the most important factor when it comes to business credit scores, accounting for approximately 50% or more of the score,” Detweiler said. The Trump Organization’s payment history shows it pays an average of 26 days beyond terms (DBT), compared to the national average of 12 DBT.

Up for Debate

Interestingly, the report also shows a tax lien, a judgement and three collection accounts, all of which ding the Trump Organization’s score, but the status of these is unclear.

The first, from the Environmental Control Board, said “paid in full, amount paid $0” and is dated 2015. Another is an account in collections reported by Altus Global Trade, which shows up twice: One appears to be closed and the other seems to be uncollected, according to the report. There’s no start date. The amount paid is listed as $0.

“This could be a duplicate, it could be resolved, it could be a mistake,” Detweiler said. “Just like personal credit, this is an illustration of why, as a business owner, you want to check your business credit report, and if it isn’t accurate, then you need to dispute it.” So, in effect, Trump or someone from his organization should dispute these items on his business credit report if they believe they are inaccurate. “If these items bringing down the credit score are mistakes, they could be fixed,” Detweiler said.

The other items are a state tax lien for $526, which shows as released and presumably was paid. (Note: Tax liens can stay on your credit report for a given number of years, even after they’re paid.) There was also a judgement regarding ABC Imaging of Washington, D.C., for $3,294 from December 2013.

Two separate things that worked in the Trump Organization’s favor are its business credit trail, which extends for more than 35 years, and that the bankruptcies weren’t on the organization’s report.

The Clinton Foundation Score

According to Nav, the Clinton Foundation’s business credit score is a 42 out of 100 as of Sept. 23, 2016, which puts it below the national average score by about seven points. The Nav report said the score indicates the Foundation is “somewhat likely to default on its credit payments” and that “this could make it difficult to get financing and the terms may be unfavorable.” It puts the Clinton Foundation into a “medium-risk” category.

What Hurt the Clinton Score

What works against the Clinton Foundation is that it is a relatively new organization and it is a foundation — its credit history only dates to 2013 and it has a relatively “thin file,” Detweiler said. Because it is a foundation, it may not use a lot of credit, so there may not be as many active trade lines as a regular business, she said. That’s because foundations are often funded through donor dollars. “According to the reports, the foundation has no derogatory information, low credit utilization, a mix of different accounts and a projected payment trend of zero days beyond terms,” Detweiler said.

If You’re Establishing a Business

Establishing good credit in business is similar to establishing good credit habits in your personal life.

“A good course of action to establish good business credit scores would be to take care of any delinquent accounts that are being reported, and — most importantly — make on-time or early payments in the future,” Detweiler said.

Even if you’re not running for president, it’s important to keep a close eye on your business’s credit reports to make sure they don’t contain errors and, if you do find any, you repair the problem.

Image: scarletsails

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