App version: 0.1.0

How to Dispute a Business Credit Report

How to Dispute a Business Credit Report
Susan Guillory
Susan GuilloryUpdated September 19, 2022
Share this article:
Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
If you’re a small business owner, you’ve likely put time and effort into building your business credit. Unfortunately, negative information can land on your business credit report through absolutely no fault of your own. This could be due to honest mistakes (even typos) or, worst-case scenario, fraud or identity theft.To make sure your business credit reports accurately reflect your company’s financial activity, it can be a good idea to regularly check your reports from the three commercial reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and Dun & Bradstreet) and, should you find any inaccuracies, dispute them as soon as possible.Read on to learn how to get copies of your business credit reports, what to look for when you do, and how to dispute any misinformation you find.    

Do Credit Reporting Agencies Make Mistakes?

Like consumer credit reporting agencies, business credit reporting agencies do sometimes make mistakes. In some cases, it’s a mistake they’ve made (such as misspelling your name or address); in others, the incorrect information comes from a creditor, vendor, or supplier reporting activity for you. You might see an account you’ve closed still appears, or an outdated balance.Or, you might see an account that doesn’t belong to you. This can happen if a credit bureau mixes up your business name with a similar one and adds data for that business to your report. An unfamiliar account can also be a sign of identity theft, which, unfortunately, is not uncommon for businesses. One reason is that the business credit bureaus are allowed to sell business credit reports to anyone willing to pay for them. Information about your business may also be publicly available via your Secretary of State’s website. Thus, it’s not hard for a fraudster to get hold of your company’s information (such as EIN, business name, and address), and then use it to open accounts in the name of your business.

How to Check Your Business Credit Report

To check your business credit, follow these three simple steps.

1. Get Copies of Your Business Reports

To do this, you’ll need to create accounts with each of the business credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Dun & Bradstreet. Unlike consumers, businesses are not entitled to a free credit report once every 12 months. As a result, each bureau will likely charge a fee for getting a copy of your business credit report. You may also have the option of signing up for business credit monitoring that includes unlimited access to your scores.(One caveat: If you were turned down for a loan, you may be eligible for a free credit report.)

2. Review Each Report Carefully

Make sure your business and personal details are correct; even a misspelled last name can cause issues when applying for credit.Also, review any debts listed. Make sure only active accounts appear, and that balances are accurate (or close to it; they may take a month or so to update).

3. Dispute Incorrect Information

If you see any errors or indications of fraud on your business credit reports when you review them, you’ll need to notify each commercial credit bureau that is reporting the incorrect data about your company. Below, we detail how to dispute errors with each of the three commercial credit bureaus.

How To Dispute a Credit Score

Correcting business credit report mistakes isn’t complicated, but each credit bureau has a slightly different process.

Experian

Here’s the process to file an Experian business credit report dispute.If you’re logged into your Experian business credit report, there’s a “Submit Data Dispute” button at the bottom of the report. Use it to report the discrepancy.Alternatively, you can send an email to [email protected] Include a note mentioning what the discrepancy is and how it should be updated. It may take 30 days or less, unless the investigation is complex. You’ll be notified once the report is updated via email, and you will get a free business report so that you can confirm the updates.If you don’t need to report an error but want to update business details like business name, address, number of employees, or executives, you can visit BusinessCreditFacts.com and click “Update my Report” on the right. Search for your business and select it, then update the information in the following form.

Equifax

To file an Equifax business credit report dispute, you can reach the company via phone or mail:800-727-8495P.O. Box 740249Atlanta, GA 30374

Dun & Bradstreet

If you need to make updates on your Dun & Bradstreet report information, such as business name, address, or leadership, you can file it here.If you want to dispute something on the report, call customer service at 855-315-1462 to report the error.

Why Disputing Business Credit Reports Can Be Worthwhile

Why does it matter if there are discrepancies on your business credit reports? If you plan on applying for business loans, either soon or down the road, these errors may prevent you from qualifying for many business loan types.Let’s say there’s an error on your report where the credit bureau confused your business with one of a similar name, and that business has a lot of debt. Your credit report indicates that you have a high level of debt, which may cause lenders to not want to lend to you. That, or they may charge higher interest than they would otherwise.If your report is missing details on a trade account you opened with the goal of building your credit, you’ll lose the opportunity for your positive payment history to impact your credit.Even if a mistake appears minor, like the wrong number of years in business or an incorrect industry code, it’s worth getting it corrected. If your company is classified as belonging to a riskier industry type or younger than it really is, it could negatively impact your business credit scores.Low business credit can not only negatively affect financing opportunities but also lead to higher insurance premiums and difficulty securing leases for equipment, office space, or retail space

Should You Ever Not Dispute a Credit Score Error?

There’s really no reason not to dispute a credit report or credit score error, even if it may be a hassle to do so. Something as simple as your name being misspelled can mean that any accounts you open under your actual name aren’t reflected on the correct report.When comparing business credit vs personal credit, it is equally important to monitor your business credit as it is to monitor your personal credit, since it impacts your ability to get financing for your business.Take the time to review your credit reports and report any errors so that your financial opportunities don’t suffer.

The Takeaway

Your business credit report can play a large role in small business loan applications and other types of financing, which is why it’s important to pay attention and actively manage your scores. Any mistakes can damage your credit and make you look less reliable in the eyes of a lender or creditor.However, your credit scores are just one part of your business’s financial profile. Lenders will typically look at multiple factors — from your annual revenues to your business plan — when you apply for a loan. Plus, there are many different types of small business loans available, so even if your credit scores aren’t excellent, you likely still have options.If you’re curious about what type of loan your business might qualify for, Lantern by SoFi can help. With our online lending tool, you can quickly get access to small business financing options matched to your company’s needs and qualifications without making any type of commitment.
Photo credit: iStock/svetikd
SOLC0122014

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth disputing a business credit report?
Can you remove negative items from your business credit report?

About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. She enjoys writing about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.
Share this article: