Getting a small business loan: check your credit rating first

If you need a loan for your small business, your first move is to check your credit rating from each of the three credit reporting agencies. If any of them shows a bankruptcy, a judgment or a pattern of late payments, you’ll have a tough time getting the money you need. Maybe your small business is a corporation, but that won’t keep a lender from checking you out, personally. You’ll have to guarantee the loan to the corporation.

Credit reports are notorious for errors. Check to see there are no mistakes or outdated information. Anything – except a bankruptcy – that is more than seven years old should not be included in your report.

If you discover errors or outdated information, report them to the agency. The agency is obliged to correct their records, but that could take awhile. Start early, at least a couple of months before you apply for a loan.

These are the three credit reporting agencies. There’s no charge to you for their reports on your credit.

TransUnion
www.transunion.com
(800) 888-4213

Experian
www.experian.com
(888)397-3742

Equifax
www.equifax.com
(800) 685-1111

Stay away from advertised services that promise to get your credit reports for you. They may say it’s free, but it’ll end up costing you. You don’t need them to get something that’s free for the asking.

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