The Amex charge card, which has no ‘pre set limit’ and has to be paid in full at the end of the month, has been somewhat of a mystery in terms of building business credit.

First confusion – Does an Amex charge card report to any business credit agency or data collection agency (like D&B ). No it does not.

 On top of that it is a charge card – so if you are going to pay it off at the end of every month and it has no ‘set limit’ than what will the business credit report show anyway ?  ‘Zero’ activity and ‘no’ limit !!


Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE) is an agency similar to D&B except they are not- for-profit and have a MUCH LARGER data base than D&B.  SBFE database has files on small businesses just like D&B. Amex Express business cards (charge cards etc) is one of the companies that DOES report to SBFE……. Equifax commercial division (Equifax business credit) handles SBFE’s database.   So in that way creditors who run your Equifax business credit report will be able to see that you have Amex business card.

 Amex is a reputable name and if you do not go over-board in using it on a monthly basis, it will always look good in your business profile/file. Amex Gold card or even there Platinum card could be a stepping stone to say a Citibusiness credit card, a much larger business unsecured cash card.

Amex on your personal credit report (personal credit card) – now that is another story and that might have more cons than pros…. but that is for another article.

Holiday season coupled with a down economy breeds scam artists. Scams are popping up every place you look. Below I will highlight some scams that still seem to be going on.  They sound very convincing on the phone and can fool the best of us.

According to Federal Trade commission – the highest percentage of total frauds are Credit card fraud followed by Utility Fraud and bank fraud.

1                   You can get a phone call from the fraud department of one of the credit card companies that you deal with. The ‘beauty’ of this one is that they do not ask for your credit card number, which makes it even more convincing. They already have your credit card number. What they will say is that they detected some fraudulent activity on your account and they have to credit your account for the money. That makes it seem even better!

What they are looking for are the last 3 digits on the back of your card. That is the missing link as far as they are concerned.

They will proceed with confidence asking you to just verify the last digits on the back of your card after they basically tell you what your address is and/or last digits 4 of your credit card are.

In such a situation the best thing to do is to ask them for a number so you can call them back immediately.  After that of course call the number on your credit card and tell them what happened.

2                   You get a phone call saying that you are approved for a credit card. These are usually made to people with low credit scores since they are most likely to get excited about an offer for credit. The pitch is usually very professional “You have been approved for …..”. What they want at the end is your bank info for the initial fee for enrollment. “this will help you build credit blah blah etc…”. After which you are likely to receive a UPS package, which will be exciting until you see that there is no credit card offer. Just a bunch of other offers!

3                   You get a letter from a company saying something like “your insufficient check has been forwarded to this office for immediate action”. If a payment is not received within 7 business days from the date listed below, your check could be filed with the appropriate municipal court.

If you call them up an ‘investigator’ will speak to you saying that you wrote a check that bounced. They will sound threatening. When you ask for details they will give you a minimum amount of info saying that their system is down  but that you should send over a certain amount of money atleast to keep from going to court  (or even prison)….you get the idea.

4                   Keep an eye out for all you’re credit cards that you do not use. Check activity regularly. Thieves are getting smarter. They do not steal or find a credit card that is not theirs and go on a spending trip out of town (that will shut the card up automatically). They usually spend a little where they found the card so it does not raise a red flag. Than wait for a day and go nearby to spend some more.

5                   Using your Debt card too often can also create problems. Scammers are attaching a skimming device to an ATM machine that is not a part of the original ATM machine. That device captures the pin number and credit card number etc. Ones they have the number they can easily create their own credit card (a fake one of course) that basically can be used, drawing money from your credit card. Hard to spot Skimming devices but if you notice a change at your ATM like a color difference in the card reader or a gap where something appears to be glued to the slot, it is a source of concern. The safest way is to use a trusted, regularly used ATM machine like inside a bank. The corner store grocery is a no no. The scary part about this is that since your info is stolen you can have your credit card in your pocket and still money gets withdrawn from your card. You will not bother to check since your card is not stolen. Automatic gas stations are notorious for this.

6                   The ‘Cash back’ at a super market. You have a lot of goods that you just bought. The list is long. The cashier puts in $10 or $20 extra, as if you requested‘cash back’ as a customer from your card. You do not bother to look at the bill. The cashier either pockets the cash back amount or gives it to his/her friend that is next in line buying something else!!

If you do look at the bill and see a cash back that you did not request the cashier will either request you to take it since they would have to ring everything up again, claiming the machine might be faulty. The cashier might even insist that you did request it while still apologizing for what happened.  The sad part is that most will not suspect that this was deliberate and even if they do they cannot prove it since the cashier will just void the transaction and ring it all up again. So as far as the scammer is concerned, they can either make some money or worst case, NOT get caught. That just encourages them to keep doing it. There have been cases of investigation. All I am saying is, watch out for it.

7                   Payday Loan collections: Some collection agency will call you up, usually an oversees outsourced ‘fake’ collection agency. They will claim that your payday loan has been defaulted on and you have to pay or you will be taken to court etc etc. Their whole purpose is to collect anything from you …the more the better but anything they can get is good enough. Of course they only call people who have really defaulted on their payday loans (an increasing number these days). If the person asks for more information they will give a number to an attorneys office. That number is usually a DID number that directs calls to another department of the same office, meaning that it is completely fake. The ‘attorneys’ office will tell them that they were already mailed a letter alerting them of the situation etc. Since the customer has actually really defaulted on the pay day loan it is easy to fall for this scam.  These companies usually go on and on since for a couple of hundred dollars people usually do not hire an attorney to help them in this situation. Attorneys probably cost more, than the scammed dollar amount, to just handle the case.

Please feel free to share your own experience. Something that you have heard or experienced/seen first-hand.


More articles click here

Some times you will come across incorrect information on your iupdate business file, information that you can not change without contacting D&B. Like incorrect UCC filing information. We all know that calling D&B is not a good idea. So if you notice a UCC number appearing on your file that is clearly not your companies or a filing that has already been cleared, what is the best thing to do?  I am assuming you checked with that states secretary department to double check if the public filing is consistent with what you think. Here is a useful e mail that you can use:

E mail them and state your case clearly and concisely,  attaching any “proof’, your Duns number etc. You see D&b does not make these type of e mails public on their website cause they want everyone to call them up so they can sell you one of there overpriced packages.

Anyone who has had to deal with disputes, inaccuracies and others items on their credit report know that it is not an exact science. Closely monitoring your credit report is a must and trying to nip any problem in the bud is very important. Logic does not seem to always work in figuring out what just happened or what is most likely to happen.

Personally I treat everything with a healthy dose of suspicion. Case in point, if I call up a credit company and request removal of a 30 day late. My argument could be that it was a mistake and otherwise I have a very good payment record with them – a good will approach. Say as a result they promise to remove the late payment. First I will ask for a confirmation number and if they do not have one I will make double sure that the conversation was noted (in their system) as far as removing the late.  After that I will watch my report like a hawk, waiting for the late to come off and follow up if necessary. Usually it takes 1 to 2 months to remove. This is just a simple example …

Below I have highlighted a number of situations that might surprise you as far as personal credit is concerned. They show that personal credit is not an exact science and that experience, knowledge and caution count for a lot.

1    Try your best to get your debt interest rate as low as possible. Initially you might accept almost any rate but gradually you want to lower the rate. Other than the obvious reason of paying more, if you use high interest credit sources your credit score will dip.

2    Do not close your oldest credit card (no matter how bad the terms of the debt) if you do not have a long credit history. The oldest will show ‘age’.

3   Paying of a charge-off account will not really increase your credit score. Just the presence of a charge off account depresses your credit score irrespective of its statues. Hence do not be surprised if you spend money to pay off a charge off account and the score does not change.

4   If a judgment or a collection account is paid off (or settled by a partial payment agreement) do not automatically assume that the original creditor will also indicate that the account was “Paid” or “settled” etc. The credit bureaus do not make these into one account. So the original delinquent debt will most likely remain and remain for the length of the SOL (Statue of limitations, see my other article, click here) if nothing is done about it.

Having said that when an underwriter is involved, like in certain loans or mortgages, he/she will look at the report carefully and will see that the two accounts are the same. They can see that the account(s) have been settled.  Problem is that two ‘bad’ accounts are more likely to depress your credit score and as a result your case (loan/mortgage request, credit report etc) might be rejected on the bases of a low credit score. Meaning an underwriter might not even get a chance to see your report . A higher credit score is always better.

At the very  least, it is best to get a “Delete account” letter AND a “debt settled” or “paid” letters as you negotiate the settlement (see previous article, click here).   Quite simply make it clear that you will not move forward with any negotiation unless they agree to provide those two letters on payment of any settlement amount.
5  Paying off installment loans or student loans will not necessarily increase your credit score, all else being equal. In fact most likely your score will not change at all. It seems that only revolving credit account repayments increases credit score.

6  Closing unused credit card accounts seems to almost always lower credit scores. Plus if you can, try leaving some balance on your credit cards, even if little, when the creditor is making money off you, the creditor is happy.
Here are some more useful tips:

1  Remember you can dispute anything on your credit report. Anything. They have 30 days (30-40 but ask the specific company) to answer and if you send in another request before the 30 days are up the time is just extended. It is better to wait for the allotted 30 days to pass before placing another request.

2   Sending all letters certified mail? Certified mail requires signatures so if you send everything using certified mail some of the items might not go through especially if mailed to the original creditors. Certified mail is only really needs to be done for debt validation with a collection agency.

3  Credit reporting agencies love to ask you for your bankruptcy papers if you ever mention that you are planning to file bankruptcy. Never mention that you want to fill bankruptcy and which accounts you would include in the bankruptcy.  More of this in later articles.


For more free Personal credit articles click here and go to the bottom of the page for Personal credit articles

Look at what a Duns report looks like …

This is a follow up article from Part 1 that shows a small business that just got a Duns report (from Dun and Bradstreet) established. Part 1 shows the basics and this part shows how the report keeps changing as new items are updated as the business owner establishes his/her business credit by following the steps that we outline, vendor credit, public filings. This will be a series of articles and as the corp builds its credit I will keep posting the updated report and highlight the changes.

To read Part 1 click here and go to the bottom of the page, last article.

We all know that the format of D&B log in and the report has changed a little. Plus our corp (see the previous article on this subject) has certain information updated, meaning new information appears on its report.

The explanation of most of what you see above is in Part 1 (click here) and read the last article at the bottom of the page.

The page above shows the major changes that took place since this report was updated (see Part 1). Lets magnify this page and see the details. First the top half:

1  Notice the line above Public filing shows that on Sept 2 2010 a correction to the address info took place. It was an addition of an office location.

Ucc filings:

2 Notice the filing number (one of the ways the credit agencies look deeper into the filings)

…… be continued. You can read this complete article (and Part 1) immediately by clicking the links below.

Complete Part 2

Also read the first article on Dun & Bradstreet  for a better understanding of what D&B really looks for click here


Here is something directly from Experian business credit website. I left it unchanged with the link. Have a quick read and I will highlight the most important points later:

Understanding Business Credit

Why did my business credit score change?

It is not uncommon for your business credit score to fluctuate slightly. Using our model for business credit scores, we examine more than 140 variables to determine your score. There are many factors — beyond what is displayed on the business credit report — that may cause your score to shift.

Factors include, but are not limited to:

  • The presence of derogatory public records on the business profile, such as collections, liens, judgments and bankruptcies
  • The status, recency, frequency and dollar amounts of any applicable liens, judgments or bankruptcies
  • An increased trend in slow payment of obligations
  • An increase in the number of business credit inquiries or applications that are generated by the business or the owner
  • The number of trade experiences, balances outstanding, payment habits, credit utilization and trends over time
  • Years in business, line of business or Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, size of business and other demographic data
How Business Credit Scores are Calculated

Business credit scores range from 0 to 100, with 0 representing a high risk and 100 representing a low risk. Scores are based on a number of factors contained in your business credit report.

  • Number of trade experiences
  • Outstanding balances
  • Payment habits
  • Credit utilization
  • Trends over time
  • Public record recency, frequency and dollar amount
  • Demographics such as years on file, Standard Industrial Classification codes and business size

Here are the points that I feel are the most note worthy:

  • “..presence of derogatory public records ..such as liens”
  • “..Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, size of business and other demographic data”
  • “We examine more than 140 variables to determine your score.”   – 140 variables !
  • “There are many factors — beyond what is displayed on the business credit report”
  • “The status, recency, frequency and dollar amounts of any applicable liens,…..”
  • Public record recency, frequency and dollar amount”

This is coming directly from Experian.  As I always say – it is your complete business file that will maximize your business credit potential. Please look beyond Paydex scores and vendor credit.

I can assure you that most people can do it and if you do it, aim high.

Click here for the articles directly from the Experian site

Notice this point 5. They actually talk about UCC filings. Need I say more.

For more info and many more free articles  click below:


Using lesser known credit reporters! A simple “secret” way to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack:

As you know not all vendors report to business credit contrary to what D&B might hint to BEFORE you purchase their credit building product.

For those of you who are new at this: when you order from certain vendors they will report to business credit agencies and/or places like D&B (which is really a data collection agency). Now, not all vendors report. That is why places like Graingers, Uline, Quills etc (companies that do report) are popular among business credit builders. In fact they get a lot of business just because they report.

Keep in mind that many lesser known businesses also report.  There was a time when all one had to do was get an EIN number and they would call two of these vendors, get credit and after a month apply for unsecured credit cards. Times have changed.

Today you need to have more vendor credit and you have to wait longer. But there have been even more changes, subtle changes……

Part of lending is subjective. Say if I (or someone from my team) is looking at a business credit file. Nine times out of ten times we can tell if the company’s sole aim is to get quick credit. One of the first things that will make it obvious is that the vendors involved would be the usual: Graingers, Quills, Reliable etc. My point is if you are aiming for some great business credit without PG (personal credit guarantee) you cannot follow the crowd.

As credit becomes tighter, the need for credit is actually going up. This is mainly due to the vast number of undervalued assets available for sale. Restaurant owner are selling at a loss, real estate, Laundromats and pretty much most businesses under the sun that have their income cut in half while their debt service remains the same. So the demand for credit/financing is very high. As a result more and more people are getting into business credit building. As with any emerging trend the information out there is slightly outdated and in most cases very outdated.

If you are aiming for some credit than by all means follow the crowd. But if you want to fulfill the potential that business credit has than your approach should be different.

Recall that I mentioned the usual vendors (like Graingers etc) that most people use, initially you might have to work with them since they can be easy to get. The main point I want to stress is you just have to get some vendors on your credit that are not the usual, most common players. In the future I will add a more complete list of little known vendors that report to places like Experian, D&B and the like. One such place is Strategic Network Solutions and the other is AZ SNACKS, INC (see below).

You just have to understand that having a great business credit file is more than just some usual vendor credit yet it is NOT that hard to build. A business file that can not only get GREAT business credit but can “bring-up” a brand new corp that you make. That makes it much easier for the new corp to get credit. Now isn’t that interesting. Yes, there is just a lot more to business credit than meets the eye.

For now look into other companies that report on your business credit report, a good mix of vendors is a must. Your business should look real and active. In these times you need to have everything in order and than a little more, AN EDGE. Do not leave anything to chance. Remember your aim should be higher than the average person building business credit……you have better information on the subject, don’t you !



Simply a Paydex score does NOT mean much as far as establishing business credit the proper way. A basic paydex score of 80 simply indicates that you have like three tradelines on your credit report. Without getting too technical; A Paydex score takes into account the number of tradelines & how well the tradelines were maintained (payments).  Many will tell you to start applying for business credit after you get an 80 score. No wonder these same people will tell you that you would ALWAYS have to PG (Personal credit guarantee) business credit.

On the other hand D& B rating is what tells the real story.  The ratings take into consideration many different factors: number of employers, net worth etc , etc. To me a good D&B rating is equivalent to having a great business credit file. Usually D&B will not give your business a rating straight away. It might take a couple of months.  Diverse lines of credit, UCC filings, repeat business, payment history all play a part. This is especially true in this economy. Moreover, most lenders will look at your report and try to “read between the lines”. They will look at aspects that show the stability, history, future potential etc. As I always say, if you want to develop business credit your aim should be cash lines of credit. You should have the ability to withdraw cash and not pay interest for months (0% introduction rate). Now that would give you tremendous investing opportunity, wouldn’t it.

A strong business credit file has varied lines of credit, great payment history.  It usually has a strong presence on the web. A strong business credit file might also have to maintain some type of compliance issues (business license). All of  these factors can easily be put in place to increase the chances of getting business credit.

If your goal is to get quick credit using a business than by all means, wait for a 80 Paydex and apply for a PGed (personal credit guaranteed) business card; but then remember that will only be an extension of your personal credit.  You can never tap into the full potential of business credit using that method. Feel free to ask me any question. 


Prepaid cards or loans are the first choice BUT make sure that they report to credit bureaus and not have outrages fees: For example: Applied Bank secured cards can be a choice. Also approach your personal bank for a secured card or loans. (read the Personal credit repair Part1).

After a couple of months move to unsecured cards (or semi unsecured cards). At this stage you have some credit history and you want to apply for unsecured credit. It is not really wise to apply to just any credit card since at this stage you will be rejected by most card companies. An inquiry on your report is a negative so be careful.

Orchard bank is usually a good choice. Of course you would have to put up with some really high fees . Plus do not expect them, in time, to increase your credit dramatically or reduce your rate by much. The aim is to develop some positive credit history and then apply for OTHER credit cards.

Personally I would say apply for a First Premier card as soon as Orchard appears on your credit report.In terms of reporting and developing credit they are good enough BUT it is their ridiculous fees that I do not like. They have a tendency of charging fees even if you have a zero balance on your card. Just be aware of the various fees so you can budget for them. The last thing you want is to be late on payment while rebuilding credit.

After waiting another two months or so I would suggest, Capital one and Discover cards. At this point you should be at a stage that your credit is improving at a faster speed. You will have more choices and you might want to apply to some of the cards that you get offered in the mail. These days Chase is becoming more relaxed in its lending standards. So you might want to consider them also.

Have a good mix of credit: Secured loans (read article on “Personal Credit Repair Part 1” , for the “secured credit trick”), credit cards, installment loans etc.

Here is something that you might not know: If you apply for a years membership with Bally total fitness, the total amount of the years membership appears on your credit. You will keep paying the $10 to $30 per month membership fee and the balance is reduced. So it has an effect of an installment loan and that would certainly help build credit.

These days banks are surprisingly compromising IF they give you credit. May be it is the fear of having another defaulted credit client, I do not know, but use that to your advantage. I have seen situation were one calls up First Premier after using them for a couple of months and asking them to close the account. The reasons given were; high fees and too low a credit limit. After some negotiations First Premier CREDITED the card with enough money so the client would not have to pay the fees out of pocket. This happened with no strings attached, meaning that the card could be closed again after the allotted 6 months. Now I am not saying that this would happen to everyone. I only site this example to illustrate that negotiating with credit companies after you have made some payments can pay off.

Lastly do not forget the power of UCC filings. No need for approvals, no need for picking which place to apply, no need for negotiating and certainly no fees to pay (other than the minor filing fee). UCC should be a part of credit building and repair. As soon as you apply for a secured card or loan you should file UCCs and they work for business and personal credit