Free and paid for business credit reports

Check your business credit report

Find out how to check your business credit score with a free business credit report as well as what makes up your full report and how to improve your business credit score
logo

Get your Experian Business Credit Score powered by Capitalise

Get business credit reports for your company with all your business data in one place, 100% safe and secure & no impact on your credit score
1
See what's impacting your company credit file
2
Check credit files of companies you work with
3
Free funding eligibility check and calculator
Fact checker
Last updated
September 13th, 2023

What is a business credit report?

Before deciding whether to lend you money, sign a contract, or offer you anything from a long-term lease to a business energy package, service providers and other firms run a check to see if you're a safe bet or not. 

To do that they check your business credit report - a document that is independently put together, publicly available and contains information about how good your business has been at paying bills in the past. This can be done with a free business credit check.

This information is typically rounded up to a single score, showing people how safe a prospect you are at a glance - your business credit score.

The good news is that you have the right to check the information credit reference agencies hold on you and correct any errors you see. There are also plenty of ways to improve your score if you want to boost your chances of getting accepted for the best deals.

Lending to SMEs by all UK banks in 2022[1]
£65.1billion

Why should you check your business credit report?

Credit scores are a critical factor in demonstrating that you are a financially stable business, so it’s important to check yours regularly.

As it's the report that companies use before deciding to do business with you it makes sense to see what's in it - especially as mistakes are sometimes made.

After all, if you don't know what's there already, you won't know how to improve it or what you need to work on.

Understanding, tracking and improving your credit score can help boost your business.”

On top of correcting any mistakes you see, here are four key reasons to check your report:

  • Negotiate better terms with suppliers

  • Win more contracts with bigger clients

  • Access affordable funding with ease

  • Get ahead of risks and opportunities

Once you know where you are and have corrected any mistakes, you should also check again later on to see how any actions you've taken have affected your score.

If it's improved, that means you can then start to negotiate better terms with suppliers as well as potentially win more contracts with bigger clients and access affordable funding more easily.

What’s in a business credit report?

Public record information

Any information about legal notices, county court judgments (CCJs), mortgages, charges and satisfactions of these that is publicly available.

Company information

Business formation date, registration number, registered office address, website, phone number and industry type.

Filed accounts

Company financials, including balance sheet, cash flow, profit and loss, company ratio and disclosure items, and accounts summary showing turnover, profit margins, assets and shareholder funds where available.

Director’s information

Public information on company directors including name, age, nationality and date appointed. Other current directorships they have as well as companies they have resigned from are also included.

Payment information

A payment summary including days beyond terms for the past 12 months, average days beyond terms, payment performance by size of account, payment by different terms, any unpaid accounts and if the company has a consistent payment pattern.

What’s in a business credit report?

Public record information

Any information about legal notices, county court judgments (CCJs), mortgages, charges and satisfactions of these that is publicly available.

Company information

Business formation date, registration number, registered office address, website, phone number and industry type.

Filed accounts

Company financials, including balance sheet, cash flow, profit and loss, company ratio and disclosure items, and accounts summary showing turnover, profit margins, assets and shareholder funds where available.

Director’s information

Public information on company directors including name, age, nationality and date appointed. Other current directorships they have as well as companies they have resigned from are also included.

Payment information

A payment summary including days beyond terms for the past 12 months, average days beyond terms, payment performance by size of account, payment by different terms, any unpaid accounts and if the company has a consistent payment pattern.

What's a good company credit score?
Credit reports rank you according to how risky you are to do business with, with the lower the risk the better. Below are examples of the minimum credit scores that may be needed to reach each risk category. These vary according to the credit reference agency.

Join our SME newsletter for top deals and business insights

Get money saving deals, tips, expert news and business insights

You can unsubscribe at any time. Read our privacy notice.

You’ve successfully signed up, thanks!

How to improve your credit score

File accounts in full

All companies have to file accounts with Companies House every year. Filing full accounts, rather than abbreviated or micro-entity accounts - and doing it on time - can lead to a better business credit rating.

Pay bills faster

How quickly you pay your suppliers can affect your creditworthiness. This is especially true for suppliers that report their customers’ performance to credit reference agencies. Paying suppliers on time (or even ahead of the due date) can help boost your credit rating.

Build up customer and supplier relationships

If your clients and suppliers trust you, they are more likely to pay on time and offer good trade credit arrangements. Looking after those relationships means your credit score can flourish. You can also ask them to give information on your payment record to credit reference agencies.

Avoid insolvency proceedings and CCJs

People are far less likely to offer deals to a company that has a threat hanging over it - that means county court judgments (CCJs) against you or insolvency proceedings are bad news for your credit score. CCJs stay on your credit report for six years, so are important to avoid.

Learn more about Capitalise

Capitalise new

At Capitalise, the vision is to give small businesses and their advisers transparency and control over business finance, in one place. 

Every business deserves an equal chance of success. So we must make business finance clearer. To show how credit scores impact plans for growth and how to improve them. To find funding that's a better fit. And to see risks to cash flow before they become a threat. 


FAQs

Where do credit report providers get the information from?

Information comes from publicly available bodies such as Companies House and TrustOnline (which holds records of court judgments), as well as clients that share their payment experiences where possible.

Who are the main business credit report providers?

The main business credit report providers in the UK include: Experian, Equifax, Dun & Bradstreet, Creditsafe, and Credit Passport.

Should I check with more than one provider?

The majority of information held by credit reference agencies is on the public record, so should be the same across different providers. However, if you lose out on a deal you didn't expect to, it might be worth asking which specific provider the other firm used to check you to see if there are any mistakes on that report you can correct.

In depth guides

Find out more about credit scoring and business finance
Businessman looking at figures while stroking his beard
Can business debt affect your personal finances?
A detective investigates the clues
How do credit reference agencies work?
A man looks through a brochure
6 easy ways to get finance for your business

About the author

James Andrews
James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments

Customer Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5
by 1,056 people

References

1. Money.co.uk: UK business lending statistics 2022