Business Credit Scores and Ratings

What is the D&B® Rating?

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How the D&B Rating Is Calculated and Why It Might Change

Business credit scores can help third parties, including lenders and suppliers, better understand the financial health of a company. The D&B Rating is an important component of your business’s Dun & Bradstreet business credit profile – a collection of scores and ratings which potential partners may review in order to help manage credit risk. There are two parts to the D&B Rating – the Rating Classification and the Composite Credit Appraisal.

The Rating Classification is a combination of numbers and letters that reflect a business’s size based on worth or equity. It is only assigned if a business has supplied Dun & Bradstreet with a current financial statement. At the upper end of the spectrum, a 5A rating represents a business with a net worth of $50 million or more. At the small end, companies with a net worth under $5,000 are labeled HH.

The Composite Credit Appraisal is a number ranging from 1 to 4 that indicates a company’s overall creditworthiness, with 1 representing the most creditworthy businesses. This number is based on information routinely collected by Dun & Bradstreet, including payment histories, financial information, public records, years in operation, and other factors. Note that 2 is the highest score attainable for a company that doesn’t submit financial details to Dun & Bradstreet.

Why Did My D&B Rating Change?

If you were recently notified of a change to your D&B Rating, you may have questions about what prompted the move. There are several reasons the rating may have improved or worsened, including:

  • The submission of revised financial information
  • A change in the timeliness of your payments to suppliers
  • An increase in borrowing
  • Concerns about contingencies from lawsuits

How Can a Change in My D&B Rating Affect My Business?

Anyone can purchase your company’s business credit profile, including potential lenders, suppliers, customers, or insurance companies. Consequently, changes to your D&B Rating may affect:

  • Your business’s ability to borrow money
  • The favorability of terms from suppliers
  • Your leverage in negotiating better payment terms

How Can I Impact My Business’s D&B Rating?

Making it a point to always pay your bills on time (or early) can go a long way toward positively impacting your business’s D&B Rating. Certain aspects, such as the overall net worth of the company, are not as easy to change. However, business owners should consider:

  • Working with lenders that report payments to Dun & Bradstreet
  • Submitting your company’s financial information directly to Dun & Bradstreet
  • Routinely checking public records for inaccuracies
  • Using CreditSignal® to receive free alerts when your business’s credit scores and ratings change*

How Can I Check Another Business’s D&B Rating?

With a subscription to D&B Credit Intelligence, you can view comprehensive business credit reports on other companies to see their scores and ratings, payment history, as well as ownership information and legal events including bankruptcies, judgments, liens, lawsuits, and UCC filings.

What Else Should I Know About Business Credit?

Customers, suppliers, lenders, and other important business partners have an interest in managing risk. Many turn to Dun & Bradstreet’s business credit reports in order to gain insight as part of their partner investigations. Building and maintaining business credit should be a priority for any company that wants to access capital, increase customers, and expand its operations. Consult our Business Credit Guide to learn more about helping establish your business’s credibility.


*CreditSignal only indicates that your D&B scores and ratings have changed and alerts you when your business credit file has been purchased. To view actual scores and ratings and learn about what industries are purchasing your D&B file, we recommend that you upgrade to one of our business credit monitoring or credit building solutions. Please note, due to the proprietary nature of these inquiries and inquiry requests, only the industries in which the purchasing customers reside will be revealed.

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