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Credit Terms at a Glance

Adapted from content excerpted from the American Express® OPEN Small Business Network

Maximizing the value of credit reports requires a good understanding of the information they contain. Whether you're checking the credit of others or ensuring that your own report accurately reflects your business, use this guide to boost your knowledge.

Company Profile Business details such as company name, address, age, business structure, officers, and industry.
Credit File An ongoing, evolving record of a company's credit history based on information supplied by its creditors to a credit reporting agency.
Credit Rating Evaluation of the risk of late payment from a business, based on a number of factors including past payment performance and legal filings.
Credit Reporting Agency An independent company that collects information about the credit transactions of businesses and consumers, and supplies that information to lenders and other credit grantors to assess risk. Also known as a credit bureau.
Credit Score A computer-generated number that determines your credit worthiness. May be based on income, credit history, payment history, outstanding debts, and other factors.
Dun & Bradstreet The leading provider of business information for credit, marketing, purchasing, and receivables management decisions. Also known as D&B.
D-U-N-S Number A number used to identify a business in Dun & Bradstreet's database. D-U-N-S stands for Data Universal Numbering System.
FICO Score A number that companies granting credit use to assess an applicant's risk. The higher the FICO score, the lower the risk. FICO is short for Fair, Isaac and Company, which develops the mathematical formulas used to produce these scores.
Legal Filings Overview of legal filings, bankruptcies, judgments, liens, and lawsuits.
Payment Performance Historical look at a company's payment patterns to existing creditors.
Revenues Annual sales figures.
Secured Credit A line of credit that is backed with collateral such as cash reserves, inventory, or other assets.
Unsecured Credit A line of credit not backed by specific collateral.


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