Soon you will have the option (for a fee) to find out your small-business FICO score, thanks to one credit monitoring company. Applying for a small business loan is rarely a walk in the park, but Salt Lake City-based Creditera is hoping to make it a little more transparent. The one-year-old, venture-backed startup, which gives paid subscribers access to personal and business credit reports on a monthly basis, will be one of the first companies to release the FICO LiquidCredit Small Business Scoring Service (SBSS) for individual businesses that are seeking loans. The FICO score, which is graded on a scale from 0 to 250, is used by many banks and credit unions, as well as the Small Business Administration, to evaluate creditworthiness. The SBA uses the score when approving all loans under $350,000. Traditionally, the FICO score was not released to small businesses seeking loans, and couldn’t be obtained even from FICO itself. Creditera CEO Levi King says the partnership between Creditera and FICO came about as a result of a months-long discussion with the credit-scoring company. “The FICO score is meant to be a quick underwriting tool for businesses,” says King, drawing upon personal credit, business credit and financial data to produce a score. Businesses that receive scores of about 160 have a better chance of getting their loans approved, says King, though there are some lenders that will approve loans for businesses with lower scores. In addition to revealing the FICO score number, Creditera says it offers customized feedback to help business owners improve their grade. “If the reason code is adversely affected by too much revolving debt, for example, they can make an effort to pay off or down their credit card. That’s one of the key pieces of this – understanding it, and taking action to improve it,” says King.
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