Business Tradelines and How they Affect Your Credit Score | Nav (2024)

by Gerri Detweiler

8 min read


Business Tradelines and How they Affect Your Credit Score | Nav (1)

by Gerri Detweiler


If you’re an entrepreneur trying to establish business credit, you’ve probably heard terms like “tradelines, trade credit, corporate tradelines, or vendor accounts.” You may even know they are important, but aren’t sure how to get them and how they can benefit your business. Here we’ll demystify them.

Business Tradelines and How they Affect Your Credit Score | Nav (3)

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What Is a Business Tradeline?

A business tradeline is a credit account between a business and vendor. Typically, a supplier or vendor will offer the business payment terms such as net-30, which means the business can pay for purchases in 30 days, rather than upfront. Net-30 accounts can improve the cash flow of the business since goods or services don’t have to be paid for upfront.

What You Should Know About Business Tradelines

Business tradelines can be a valuable tool when it comes to preparing your business for financing. In a nutshell:


  • Easier approval than loans
  • Can improve cash flow
  • Often available to startups and established businesses
  • On-time payments may help build business credit scores


  • Credit limits may be small initially
  • Limited to purchases with one vendor/supplier
  • New businesses may be charged fees
  • May forfeit a discount for faster payment

How Do I Get a Tradeline for My Business?

Establishing business credit is often a confusing process because not all lenders and vendors report to all major business credit reporting agencies. For example, information about a supplier account may appear on your Experian credit report, while information about business credit cards is often shared with lenders via the Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE).

One great way to establish tradelines is to simply ask. Ask your suppliers or vendors if they offer credit or payment terms. There may be a basic credit check involved, but most don’t require good credit and will rarely check a FICO score.

If you aren’t yet doing business with suppliers or vendors that report to commercial credit bureaus, you can seek out vendors that report. Purchase items your business needs (such as office supplies) then pay on time.

Nav Prime gives you up to two actively reporting tradelines — one from your monthly Nav Prime payment and another from regular use of the Nav Prime Card.* These tradelines are sent to the major business credit bureaus, which builds business credit history.

Business Tradelines and How they Affect Your Credit Score | Nav (4)

Accelerate your path to better funding

Build business credit history, see your business credit-building impact, and secure new funding options — only with Nav Prime.

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How Many Tradelines Should a Business Have?

Payment history helps lenders understand how borrowers have handled credit in the past. A business credit report that lacks tradelines or other credit references makes it difficult for lenders to assess the creditworthiness of the business and how it is likely to pay in the future.

There is no perfect number of tradelines, but if your goal is to build business credit, you will probably want to make sure your business credit report lists at least two to three accounts reporting to business credit bureaus. The PAYDEX score produced by Dun & Bradstreet, for example, requires two tradelines with at least three “credit experiences” to calculate a score. A credit experience is when credit is extended and paid off. You don’t have to use those accounts each month, but keeping them active by making purchases (and paying on time) can be helpful for establishing good business credit.

Is One Business Tradeline Enough?

Having just one business tradeline may be enough in certain situations, particularly if your business is new or if you’re managing a very small operation with minimal credit needs. If the single tradeline is in good standing and reflects positively on your credit history, it can still provide a foundation for future credit opportunities. However, relying solely on one tradeline could limit your ability to demonstrate a diverse credit history, potentially affecting your ability to secure larger loans or credit lines in the future.

On the other hand, having multiple business tradelines can offer several advantages:

  1. It demonstrates to lenders that your business has a history of managing credit responsibly and can handle various types of financial obligations.
  2. This diversity in credit sources can also help mitigate risks associated with relying on a single creditor.
  3. Having multiple tradelines may improve your business credit score over time, potentially leading to better terms and opportunities for financing as your business grows.

Ultimately, the decision to have one or multiple business tradelines depends on your business’s financial strategy and credit needs.

Some types of business financing also report to business credit; many business loans, business lines of credit, business credit cards and other types of financing can help establish a business credit profile.

Before you begin establishing business credit, create the foundation for your business, including details such as getting a business license, getting a business phone number and requesting your D-U-N-S® Number.

How to Maintain Tradeline Activity

Maintaining tradeline activity involves actively managing your credit accounts to ensure they remain in good standing and continue positively impacting your credit profile.

Here are some steps to maintain tradeline activity effectively:

  1. Make timely payments: Make sure that your payments are on time for all your credit accounts, including loans, credit cards, and lines of credit. Late payments can have a significant negative impact on your credit score and the health of your tradelines.
  2. Keep balances low: Aim to keep your credit card balances low relative to your credit limits. High credit utilization can signal financial stress to creditors and may negatively affect your credit score. Strive to pay off balances in full each month if possible.
  3. Manage credit reports: You might be surprised how often your credit reports contain wrong information. Regularly review your credit reports from all three major business credit bureaus to check for any errors or inaccuracies. Dispute any discrepancies promptly to ensure your credit information is accurate.
  4. Use credit wisely: Avoid opening unnecessary credit accounts or applying for multiple lines of credit within a short period, as this can indicate financial instability to creditors. Be strategic about applying for new credit and only take on debt that you can manage responsibly.
  5. Maintain account activity: Even if you’re not actively using a credit account, consider making small purchases periodically to keep the account active and prevent it from being closed due to inactivity. Closing accounts can reduce your available credit and potentially harm your credit score.
  6. Communicate with creditors: If you’re facing financial difficulties that may affect your ability to make payments, communicate with your creditors proactively. Many creditors offer assistance programs or flexible payment options that can help you avoid negative consequences such as late fees or credit score damage.

By following these practices, you can effectively maintain tradeline activity and ensure that your credit accounts continue to positively contribute to your overall creditworthiness.

Are Business Tradelines Legal?

Absolutely. But there are some questionable practices associated with something called “seasoned tradelines.” Some companies (including some credit repair firms) offer to sell seasoned tradelines to help business owners establish credit quickly.

Here’s how it works:

A company will establish a corporation and open accounts under that corporate name, with the goal of “flipping” it. It will then sell this “shelf corporation” to another business with the promise that it will immediately have access to thousands of dollars in credit lines. But rarely does this turn out to be what it seems.

The established credit lines may not be the type of funding the new business needs, and if lenders catch whiff of the new business owner trying to take advantage of this scheme they can quickly shut those accounts down. “It’s usually shady,” says Nav’s Chairman of the Board, Levi King. While there may be legitimate reasons for buying a shelf corporation, using one to try to get access to funding your business otherwise would not qualify for is not likely to be one of them.

What’s Next?

Improving your business credit is a worthwhile goal. It can open up avenues to better financing for your business, help separate personal and business credit, and give potential lenders a reason not to focus on personal credit scores. Establishing positive tradelines is a crucial step in that process.

To do so, you’ll want to take the following steps:

  1. Open a business credit card that will be reported to commercial credit agencies.
  2. Establish accounts with lenders and/or vendors who will report to the business credit agencies.
  3. Pay your accounts on time (early is even better) and you’ll be on your way to establishing a solid business credit rating.

Business Tradelines and How they Affect Your Credit Score | Nav (5)

Accelerate your path to better funding

Build business credit history, see your business credit-building impact, and secure new funding options — only with Nav Prime.

Boost my business scores

*DISCLAIMER: Nav Technologies, Inc. is a financial technology company and not a bank. Banking services provided by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., and Thread Bank, Members FDIC. The Nav Visa® Business Debit Card is issued by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A. or Thread Bank, and the Nav Prime Charge Card is issued by Thread Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa cards are accepted. FDIC insurance is available for your funds on deposit, up to $250,000 through Blue Ridge Bank, N.A. or Thread Bank, Members FDIC. See Cardholder Terms for additional details.

This article was originally written on January 19, 2016 and updated on April 17, 2024.

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Gerri Detweiler

Education Consultant, Nav

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Known as a financing and credit expert, Gerri Detweiler has been interviewed in more than 4000 news stories, and answered over 10,000 credit and lending questions online. Her articles have been widely syndicated on sites such as MSN, Forbes, and MarketWatch. She is the author or coauthor of five books, including Finance Your Own Business: Get on the Financing Fast Track. She has testified before Congress on consumer credit legislation.

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25 responses to “Business Tradelines: What They Can Do for Your Business Credit

  1. Hello, I need to use Nav as a Trade Creditor, but i cant find the address, phone number or email.


    1. If you have a Nav account at the Business Boost or Business Loan Builder level it will automatically report to major commercial credit bureaus. There is no need for manual verification. If you have questions about your Nav account you can reach out to customer support:


  2. Hi Gerri,

    Your article was very informative Im new to building business credit I have several Net 30 account since April paying invoices on-time but non are reflecting on my Equifax or Experian report. The trade lines are in my business Fictitious name (DBA) not the original entity name I think this may be the issue What do you think Any insight you can give Thank You


    1. There probably is a mismatch happening somewhere. The commercial credit bureaus do a pretty good job of matching DBAs to the parent company but it doesn’t always go smoothly. If you know those accounts are reporting I’d suggest you reach out to the credit bureaus to see if you can add the DBA to your existing business credit profile.


  3. Very helpful thank you


  4. Great information thankyou


  5. I’m a new venture. How many vendors do I need to build business credit as fast as possible (of course I will pay all bills early)?


    1. It’s a good idea to have at least 2-3 vendors reporting.


  6. Having issues getting a 3rd vender to report. When prospective vender calls D&B they say not enough information due to only 2 venders so they do not do Paydex score. Several venders have backed off. Please advise.


  7. Please I need help , Iam registered as King of Bling Sports Apparel&Novelties, I guys have me down for Hats off Studio , can we fix this problem


    1. Aundrey – Are you talking about your Nav account? Please reach out to our customer support team so they can help:


  8. There are so many conflicting reports as towards the personal credit business credit, just who does report it and when I reached out to my credit line and they said they report 2 the bureau’s and Dun & Bradstreet. 8 years later I’ve checked they’ve never been reported.


  9. Hello, I opened a Weex Fleet Credit Card in June 2020, and from what I researched it should report to Equifax but it hasn’t (nor to any of the other two agencies). I called Weex and they say they do report every month. The only tradeline I see in Equifax is NAV : ) but NAV seems to only be reporting to Equifax, not D&B and Experian.
    Any ideas. Thank you. Regards.


    1. Hi Oscar – For Nav reporting, please feel free to reach out to our customer support team at 844-636-2445. Not sure what’s going on with Weex though.


  10. Great information, im joining Nav ASAP!


  11. i have 6 trade lines but they are all reporting. how can correct this


    1. I’m sorry I don’t understand the question.


  12. Would it be good to get a tradeline for a business to help establish the credit and get credit cards for funding the company


    1. Frederick,

      We recommend you build business credit sooner rather than later, and tradelines can help. This article goes into more detail: Easy Approval Net-30 Accounts


  13. If you never had a credit card for personal or business, with never having a card and you have no lates, no open or any current cards within the last 4 years. How do you get approved for a credit card with a 526 score


    1. I have two suggestions for you Tony: a secured credit card and a credit builder loan. One will give you a revolving account reference and the other an installment account reference. If you don’t have any negative information on your credit reports, my prediction is you’ll see some results fairly quickly from having current positive references listed.


  14. Hello. I am in the process of trying to build my business credit. Please contact me in regards to steering me in the correct direction.


    1. Joaquina,

      The best place to start is with a free Nav account. Once you sign up you’ll have access to our free tool called Business Launcher. It will help walk you through the steps of building business credit. If you have specific questions as you go through that, you can reach out to our customer support team. They’d be happy to help.


  15. will give you a business tradeline with no credit check for use of their web design services


    1. please send me more information to build my business credit


Business Tradelines and How they Affect Your Credit Score | Nav (2024)


How does a business line of credit affect your credit score? ›

A business line of credit typically won't directly affect your personal credit score. Small business lines of credit, small business loans, small business credit cards and other debts your business is liable for, won't usually show up on your personal credit report.

How do tradelines affect your credit? ›

Typically, a tradeline appears on your credit report when you open a new account. This may have a slight negative impact on your credit score due to a hard inquiry. Once they're on your credit report: Tradelines stay on your credit reports as long as accounts are active.

Are tradelines good for business credit? ›

Tradelines can be a great way to build business credit. Many suppliers and vendors offer payment terms to their business customers. If the business gets credit through a vendor, pays on time, and the account is reported to their business credit report(s), the tradeline will help build business credit.

How much does a tradeline boost your credit? ›

Positive Impact: Tradelines with a positive payment history on accounts in good standing can be beneficial. They can Increase the number of credit lines you have, which factors into your credit mix (10% of your score). Lengthen your credit history, especially if the tradelines are seasoned accounts (15% of your score).

Does LLC debt affect personal credit? ›

How does an LLC affect a credit report? If your LLC has debts taken out in the company's name, only the LLC's business credit report will be impacted by whether you repay your debts on time. An LLC loan will only impact your personal credit if you cosign or guarantee it.

Does your LLC affect your credit score? ›

Starting an LLC will not directly affect your personal credit score unless you decide to personally guarantee or cosign a loan for your company.

Are tradelines risky? ›

It's important to note that mismanaging your trade lines can have serious implications on your credit scores. Instances of late payments, defaults or high balances can tarnish your credit history.

What are the cons of tradelines? ›

Risks of credit tradelines

If the tradelines you add have a history of late payments or other negative factors, creditors can use this information from your credit history to weaken your access to credit. So be prepared to pay any tradelines on time and in-full over the course of the tradeline.

How many tradelines is good for business credit? ›

There is no perfect number of tradelines, but if your goal is to build business credit, you will probably want to make sure your business credit report lists at least two to three accounts reporting to business credit bureaus.

Can I buy tradelines for my LLC? ›

Purchasing a business tradeline isn't illegal, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. Misrepresenting your business's credit history on a bank loan application may be considered fraud. You could also hurt your relationship with creditors and credit bureaus.

What are tradelines for LLC? ›

A tradeline or trade information refers to the financial obligations that a business has to its creditors, suppliers, service providers, and other vendors that involve payment terms. Simply put, tradelines are any account that appears on your credit reports and includes information about the creditor and their debt.

How do I build business credit fast? ›

If you want to build business credit quickly here are five simple steps.
  1. Step 1 – Choose the Right Business Structure. ...
  2. Step 2 – Obtain a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) ...
  3. Step 3 – Open a Business Bank Account. ...
  4. Step 4 – Establish Credit with Vendors/Suppliers Who Report. ...
  5. Step 5 – Monitor Your Business Credit Reports.
Dec 5, 2019

How can I raise my credit score 200 points in 30 days? ›

Try paying debts and maintaining your credit utilisation ratio of 30% or below. There are two ways through which you can pay off your debts, which are as follows: Start paying off older accounts from lowest to highest outstanding balances. Start paying off based on the highest to lowest rate of interest.

How can I raise my credit score 100 points overnight? ›

10 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score
  1. Review Your Credit Report. ...
  2. Pay Your Bills on Time. ...
  3. Ask for Late Payment Forgiveness. ...
  4. Keep Credit Card Balances Low. ...
  5. Keep Old Credit Cards Active. ...
  6. Become an Authorized User. ...
  7. Consider a Credit Builder Loan. ...
  8. Take Out a Secured Credit Card.

How long does it take a tradeline to hit your credit? ›

Trade lines may show up on your credit report as soon as 15 days after the time of purchase. Alternatively, a trade line may be delayed on showing on your report up to 45 days depending on the timing of the purchase.

What are the disadvantages of a line of credit? ›

  • With easy access to money from a line of credit, you may get into serious financial trouble. For example, if you don't control your spending.
  • If interest rates rise, you may have difficulty paying back your line of credit.
Dec 19, 2023

Why is my business credit affecting my personal credit? ›

Beyond the initial hard inquiry, most business cards only report activity to commercial credit bureaus. The one exception: negative payment history. Several business credit card issuers will report late payments and serious delinquencies to consumer credit bureaus. This will negatively impact your personal credit.

Is business credit linked to personal credit? ›

Business credit and personal credit are two different things. A good personal credit score may help someone qualify for greater financial responsibility in their personal life, such as a mortgage or an auto loan. Business credit scores and ratings may help do the same thing for a company.

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