Managing your credit for the good of your business

As we are all very much aware, the American economy has come off of one of the most challenging years of its time. And although this month brings the start of a brand new year, a variety of obstacles are assuming their position in a long line of items that need resolution.

Especially in today’s world, it is within any business owner’s best interest to stay on top of his or her credit and any business transactions within their organization. The current standing of an organization’s credit profile functions as a business’ résumé when it is time to establish new relationships with suppliers, service providers, banks and insurance companies.

For small businesses, the owner’s personal credit history can be taken into account when he or she goes to apply for credit for the business. This is especially the case for newer businesses.

For those business owners looking to grow or support initiatives that may require additional funding – which remains available – consistently monitoring their credit standing is crucial to keeping their business (and, in turn, the local economy)thriving.

Regardless of whether past credit status has been positive or not, regular monitoring of that status is a must. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a free copy of your credit report is available annually (www.annualcreditreport.com).

It is also wise to check again every six months, especially during times when you anticipate the need to borrow money.

There are a few different ways to monitor credit on a regular basis:

• Through a credit-monitoring service

• Online via one of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax)

• By signing up with a service from one of the above credit agencies to receive regular updates on your credit report. (Please note that signing up for products or services may require a fee.)

If through reviewing the information in your report you come across inaccurate information, steps are available to assist you in getting that information corrected:

• Make a copy of the report and circle any items that you believe communicate inaccurate information

• Send those materials via certified mail to the credit bureau

• Send an additional copy of your statement to the creditor whose items are the topic of debate (this could be a credit card company, a bank or any other lender)

Once the report is sent in to the credit bureau, the bureau will contact the creditor to determine whether or not the information can be verified. If it cannot, the appropriate changes will be made and the bureau will send you an updated credit report.

 

Kristy Weaver is senior vice president and Southwest Washington team leader for Pacific Continental Bank. She can be reached at kristy.weaver@therightbank.com.

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