Businesses of all sizes are sometimes confronted with vendors who are unable or unwilling to pay bills. Suppliers who are late with payments can be reported to credit bureaus through a number of different methods. Deciding whether to report these late payments is up to the individual business, but the various methods of reporting give a business several options. Knowing which option is open to you and choosing the right one for your needs is important.
Join the consumer credit reporting bureaus as a member. There are three consumer credit reporting agencies; Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. These companies maintain separate credit reports on consumers and businesses. Each of these credit reporting agencies (often referred to as CRAs) has different requirements for who can become a member and report credit items. Becoming a member of one, or all three, of these companies might be worth it if you have numerous items to report, but it might not be if you are reporting a single vendor late payment.
Report to Dunn and Bradstreet. While the three CRAs maintain credit reports on consumers and businesses, Dunn and Bradstreet (D&B) maintains them solely on businesses. D&B specializes in providing detailed information about businesses, and its reports often are used by creditors evaluating a business for its creditworthiness. Businesses can sign up with D&B and provide reports on their vendors' and suppliers' payment habits.
Begin a collections action through an agent. Businesses also can report to any of the credit bureaus by hiring a collection agency to initiate a collections action. Collections agencies are often members with the CRAs and or D&B, and can report to them on behalf of their clients. Having a collections agency pursue a vendor will negatively affect the vendor's credit because these agencies usually automatically report to the credit reporting bureaus.
File a report through a credit reporting service. Some businesses might be able to file a credit report item against a vendor by using a credit reporting company. These companies are similar to collection agencies in that they both report to the credit reporting agencies. Where they differ is that these companies do not seek to collect the debt. They make the report on the delinquent payment, but do not further damage the supplier's credit history by reporting a collections action.