Capital One is making it easier to check your business credit report for free. That’s a big deal, especially since some business credit reports can cost upward of $40 a pop.
On Thursday, the issuer announced that it launched Business CreditWise — an online portal that gives folks free access to their business’ credit report — to the public. Previously, it was in beta testing and available only to select customers through email invitation. The issuer quietly made it available to any U.S. business (not just Capital One customers) earlier this week.
For small-business owners, easier access to information about business credit is a win, even if it means creating an account with Capital One and getting on another mailing list. By law, consumers can request free personal credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus once every 12 months by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. However, the law doesn’t offer the same benefit for business credit reports, which can be much more expensive. And for entrepreneurs looking to apply for small-business loans down the road, the information on those reports can be invaluable.
How to get it
Anyone can look up their business credit report using Business CreditWise. (Just keep in mind, you probably won’t have a business credit report unless you have a business.) Here’s how it works:
- Go to Capital One’s Business CreditWise website.
- Create an account (if you don’t already have one) or log in. You can create an account for free with the following information, according to the issuer:
- First and last name.
- Cell phone number.
- Date of birth.
- Social Security Number.
- Email address.
3. Fill out information about your business. You’ll have to provide your business’ name, address and phone number.
4. View your Business CreditWise dashboard. Once Capital One finds a verified match for your business, you can check information on your business credit report, read tips on how to interpret that information, and file disputes about any inaccuracies you notice.
What it offers
Business CreditWise gets you a business credit report using data sourced from the data firm LexisNexis Risk Solutions. Checking it doesn’t affect your business credit, and access is unlimited. It includes information such as:
- Credit usage.
- Business details.
- Public records.
The portal doesn’t offer a business credit score. But that’s not a big loss — particularly because business credit scores today are unstandardized and different business credit bureaus use different scoring ranges, which can make them harder to decipher and less useful, compared to consumer credit scores.
While small-business loans and credit cards don’t always affect your personal credit, they generally do affect your business’ credit, and it’s helpful to see what lenders see when they pull your business’ credit history. For example, if you have a Capital One Spark small-business credit card, the activity on that card would be reported to the Small Business Financial Exchange, a business data firm, as well as to consumer credit bureaus, the issuer confirms. And because the business credit report offered by Capital One includes data sourced by the SBFE, such an account would likely show up on your Business CreditWise portal.