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Credit Reporting Glossary

Provided by Buzgate.org Small Business Resource Referral Network, content partner for the SME Toolkit.

Scan the list below to improve your understanding and ability to interpret financial information for cash management related decision making. Your educational sponsor has included details to help you differentiate between a variety of Credit Reporting Service Provider offerings.

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Accounts Receivable - One of a series of accounting transactions dealing with the billing of customers which owe money to a person, company or organization for goods and services that have been provided to the customer.


Additional Payment Experiences - Tradelines that are aged in a normal manner, as opposed to Trade Payments, which are not aged. The Additional Payment Experience section of a Credit Report lists those tradeline experiences that have not been updated within six months of the report date.

Aged Trades - If a trade is reported monthly, the trade is considered aged when 105 days pass since last reported. If a trade is reported quarterly, the trade is considered aged when 150 days pass since last reported.

Background Report - A report that includes basic demographic information about a company, such as address, phone number, etc. Based on availability, it may also include sales data, number of employees, names and titles of key personnel, years in business, date of incorporation, state of incorporation, primary business activity, and other demographic data.

Balance - The amount of money owned. The exact definition may vary based on the type of information presented.

Bank Accounts - The number of bank relationships a business entity has.

Banking, Insurance, and Leasing - Any information available regarding commercial financial relationships that a company may have with a bank, insurance company, or lessor. Generally, this information may include the name of the company's primary bank, insurance companies which have issued policies to it, and the details of leases which have been reported.

Bankruptcies - A legal process whereby a company or organization receives relief from their debts when they become unmanageable. Bankruptcy Credit Report information generally includes the date, legal form of bankruptcy filed, legal action, and document number. Experian reports on bankruptcies that occurred within the past nine years.

Branch - A term often used in larger organizations that refers to a separate operating location in addition to the main headquarters.

Bulk Transfer - Substantial or all assets of the company that have been transferred to another party.

Chapter 7 - A form of bankruptcy protection whereby a company discontinues all operations and goes completely out of business. Debtor's non-exempt assets, if any, are sold by the Chapter 7 trustee and the proceeds are distributed to creditors according to the priorities established in the code.

Chapter 11 - A reorganization provision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court that enables companies to restructure past-due payments while they continue regular operations in order to emerge as profitable. Companies in Chapter 11 continue to provide employees with salaries and benefits and engage in business with suppliers and customers in a routine manner. An important difference between Chapter 7 filing, Chapter 11 means reorganization, not bankruptcy or liquidation. The purpose of filing Chapter 11 protection is to reorganize and strengthen the company for the future.

Chapter 13 - A form of bankruptcy protection that allows individuals or very small businesses, who have steady incomes to pay all or a portion of their debts under protection and supervision of the court. Under Chapter 13, owners file a bankruptcy petition and a proposed payment plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The law requires that the payments have a value at least equal to what would have been distributed in a Chapter 7 liquidation case.
An important feature of Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that the owners are permitted to keep all of their assets while the plan is in effect and after it has successfully completed it. Chapter 13 is available only to those borrowers with regular income who have less than $269,250 in unsecured debts (such as credit cards) and less than $807,750 in secured debts (such as mortgages and car loans).
Anyone with greater debts usually must declare bankruptcy under Chapters 7 or 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. In a joint Chapter 13 case those limits are not doubled, instead they are applied to the total amount owed by the debtors.

Closed - A term used in bankruptcy proceedings to refer to a company that has completed the bankruptcy proceeding and is now liquidated.

Collateral - Property pledged as security for a debt.

Collections - The number of open or closed collection tradelines (from collection agencies). Open collection tradelines are tradelines for which collection agencies are still collecting. Closed collection tradelines are tradelines that collection agencies have either collected on or abandoned.

Collections Detail - This portion of a Credit Report that shows the detail associated with collections which have been reported. These collections are collections where others are attempting to collect FROM the company, not collections where the company is attempting to collect from other parties. The information generally includes the date, amount, and a status based upon the last report of the collection activity.

 

Collections Summary - The portion of a Credit Report that shows a summary of the actual collections reported. The data is summarized into the status of the collection activity, with the dollar amounts for items in dispute and items collected.

Combined - Refers to account balance for combined tradelines. This is the total dollar balance for all new and continuously reported tradelines.

Company Sorting - There are 4 sorting options for reviewing company matches; Sorting by Company Name, Sorting by City, Sorting in ascending order based on Zip Code, and a default technique where lists are sorted by Best Match based on both company name and address matching.

Continuous - A tradeline which has been reported for more than six months.

Corporate Registration - Corporate Registration includes information on the state of the company's incorporation/registration, the date of the incorporation/registration, and the current status of the registration.

Credit Ranking Score - The Credit Ranking Score uses statistical models to measure and predict payment behavior. High Risk means that there is a significant probability of delinquent payment. Low Risk means that there is a good probability of on-time payment.

Credit Summary - This is a summary of the key factors relating to credit worthiness of a company. See icon/color key below:

Business Scoring
Worse: 80% to 100% = ;
61% to 79% = ;
< 61% = .
Bankruptcies: 0 filed = ;
1 or more filed, 0 active = ;
1 or more active = .
Liens: 0 filed = ;
1 or more filed, 2 or less active = ;
> 2 active = .
Judgments: 0 filed = ;
1 or more filed, 2 or less active = ;
> 2 active = .
Collections: 1 or less filed and 0 active = ;
4 or less filed and 1 or less active = ;
> more than one active or more than 4 filed = .

Current - Tradelines where a payment has been made within terms are called "Current."


DBT (Days Beyond Terms) - The average number of days a firm pays its bills past the invoice due date. The Credit Report color of the predicted DBT is based upon observed norms of all U.S. businesses; Green for all entries 15 days or less, Yellow for all entries between 16 and 50 days, Orange for all entries between 51 and 90 days, and Red for all entries beyond 90 days. The DBT norm for all industries is 7 days.

DBT (Days Beyond Terms) Averaging - The process of averaging DBT for a group of companies or industries. The projected DBT for all U.S. businesses is 80% of U.S. businesses have a DBT of 0-15 days; 11% of U.S. businesses have a DBT of 60-50 days, 5% of U.S. businesses have a DBT of 51-90 days, and 4% of U.S. businesses have a DBT over 90 days. The DBT norm for all industries is 7 days.

DBT New (Days Beyond Terms (DBT) New) - The number of days past the date when payment was due for newly reported tradelines. The DBT norm for all industries is 7 days.

Debt - A sum of money owed from one person to another, including the right of the creditor to receive and enforce payment.

Derogatory Public Record - Public Record Information that details negative company actions such as Bankruptcy, Tax Liens (Federal, State, and County), Judgments, and UCC Filings for the subject firm. It includes the date of filings, amounts, locations, etc.

Discharged - A term used to describe a company that has completed a bankruptcy proceeding.

Dismissed - When a legal action is closed by the presiding judge.

Fictitious Business Name (FBN) - Also referred to as "Doing Business As" (d/b/a), Trade Name or Assumed Name, a FBN is when a business or individual selects a business name other than their own name. For example, "John Smith Automotive" is not a fictitious business name as long as the owner is named John Smith, but "Main Street Automotive" is. FBNs are recorded/filed with the appropriate county recorder, county clerk or county business licensing office.


File Established - Shows the number of years a Credit Reporting Service, such as Experian, has been collecting data on a specific company. This date may be different from the Business Establish Date, which refers to when the company first started doing business. For example, the business may have been established in 1/95, but the business was not established on the Experian Credit Report file until 6/95.
Note: The earliest possible 'Experian Established Date' is 1977.

File Number - Credit Reporting Services, such as Experian, assign a unique identification number for each company location in their database. This Experian File Number is 9 characters long consisting of a letter followed by 8 numeric digits. This number can be found in the text of all Experian reports you purchase from SmartBusinessReports.com, and may be used to quickly locate a company under the "Advanced Search" web site feature.

Frequent Purchase - Credit Reporting Service may offer purchase discounts when you purchase the same report on the same company. For example, Experian reduces a purchase price by 50% when customers purchase the same company report within 90 days of the initial purchase. You may also review reports online at no additional charge for up to seven (7) days following initial purchase. Experian provides a convenient MyReports link on most pages to facilitate easy access to this customer value.

Headquarters - The company location where the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or President resides.

Industry DBT - The number of Days Beyond Terms (DBT) for businesses in the same industry. The DBT norm for all industries is 7 days.

Inquiries - Inquiries are the number of companies making inquiries on the subject company in the last nine (9) months.

Intelliscore - A model used by Experian to predict seriously derogatory payment behavior. Scores range from 0 to 100 where 0 represents a high risk and 100 represents a low risk. Actual score range levels are as follows:

Score Range Estimated %
of Businesses
Risk Level
00.00-32.47 20% High Risk
32.48-58.63 20% Medium - High Risk
58.64-70.19 25% Medium Risk
70.20-77.71 20% Low - Medium Risk
77.72-100.0 15% Low Risk

Involuntary - A term applied to bankruptcy proceedings when company creditors initiate the bankruptcy process.


Judgment Amount - The total judgment balance amount. Experian reports on judgments released within the past five years.

Judgments - Number of judgments filed. This does not include judgments satisfied. Therefore, the judgment may be satisfied but you cannot tell or "match" the satisfied judgment. The information generally includes date, plaintiff, filing agency, legal type, legal action, document number, liability amount, and description. Experian reports on judgments released within the past five years.

Key Facts - Key facts are the basic information about a company; address, phone number, etc. When available, it may also include sales, number of employees, names and titles of key personnel, years in business, date of incorporation, state of incorporation, primary business activity, and other demographic data.

Liens - This section shows activity related to open tax liens levied against the company. The information generally includes date, filing agency, legal type, legal action, document number, liability amount and description.

Limited Payment Data - Company does not have enough payment history to generate a report which includes a credit score, or to provide a meaningful prediction of future payment trends.

Median - The middle value in a distribution of numbers where above and below values represent an equal quantity of values.

Newly Reported - A tradeline which has been reported for the first time in the last six months.

Notes Receivable - A loan made by a company which is evidenced by a promissory note.

Open Account - Credit extended by a business to a customer.

Out of Balance - A company which has many more expenditures than revenue.

Parent - A company that wholly owns at least one other company, subsidiary, or branch.

Payment Summary - These are graphical elements showing the company's payment history over time.

Payment Trend Indicator - A method of predicting how quickly future payments will be made based upon historical payment information.

Predicted DBT (Days Beyond Term) - The prediction is a forecast of the DBT for 60 days into the future. It is based on the trend in DBT, the type of industry of the business, derogatory public record information, collection accounts, number of inquiries, years in business on file, and other factors.

Predicted DBT (Days Beyond Term) - The prediction is a forecast of the DBT for 60 days into the future. It is based on the trend in DBT, the type of industry of the business, derogatory public record information, collection accounts, number of inquiries, years in business on file, and other factors.
In a Credit Report, the background color of the predicted DBT is based upon observed norms of all U.S. businesses where green represents all entries 15 days or less; yellow for all entries between 16 and 50 days; orange for all entries between 51 and 90 days; and red for all entries beyond 90 days. The DBT norm for all industries is 7 days.

Previously Known As - Due to a name change or merger, the primary name of the company has been changed to the current name shown. The previous name is also displayed.

Proceeds - The income arising from the sale of land or other property.

Recent High Credit - Recent High Credit shows the highest account balance with the reporting firm in the last twelve months.

Remember me - A web site user feature offered to Experian members whereby a check box associated with the text, Remember me, will assign a permanent encrypted "cookie" on your system to remember your login information. When the check box is selected, you will be automatically recognized next time you return to the site to login. Cookies are only sent to the web site which originated them, so your use of other web sites will not expose the information stored in the cookie to other sites. This cookie will be erased anytime you click on the 'Log out' link found in the upper right of most of Experian web site pages. You should not select the Remember Me feature if the computer you are using for access is in a public location, or is otherwise unsecured.

Search Help - Neither quotes, neither parenthesis, nor truncation should be used within search expressions. Combining terms with AND, OR, or NOT are not supported and should not be used. Experian will accept all the terms you have entered and attempt to locate the best matches based on a proprietary and complex matching algorithm. For example, by entering MEYER ELECTRIC you may receive matches such as MEYER ELECTIC, MEYERS ELECTICIANS, MEIR ELECTIONICS, MYER'S, etc. Experian will return up to 25 of best matches.
Tip: If you're not finding what you're looking for, generally it's best to make your search more specific by adding City, Address, and Zip code information.

Standard and Poors - Standard and Poors tracks public companies. Their report, which generally focuses on financial data, is included in Experian ProfilePlus Report if the company has been selected for tracking.

Subsidiary - An operating unit of a larger company. Typically operates autonomously or semi-autonomously.

Tax Liens - Knowing if a business has a tax lien will help point out if they are becoming a higher risk due to nonpayment of taxes. In this situation, the tax agency is taking security of the debt.

Tax Lien Amount - The total tax lien balance amount.


Tax Lien Count - Number of tax liens filed. This does not include tax liens satisfied. Therefore, the tax lien may be satisfied but you cannot tell or "match" the satisfied tax lien.

Total Balance Amount - Sum of all balances. This includes all tradelines; Regular, New, Aged, and Other.

Trade Account - A tradeline that has no aging.

Trade Payment Detail - Also referred to as Tradeline Data, Trade Payment Detail refers to tables of accounts in a Credit Report that present the details of the company's payment history over time by tradeline. Actual tradeline company names are not displayed, but rather supplier category names will appear. For example, if a company is 60 DBT (Days Beyond Terms) with 'ACME CELL COMMUNICATIONS,' the entry may appear as "TELECOM ... 60DBT."

Trade Payment Experiences - Trade Payment Experiences reflect "new" and "continuously" reported tradelines. Only those accounts that are Continuously Reported or Newly Reported are included in these types of reports. To be considered "Continuously Reported," a tradeline must have been established and maintained in the Experian file for at least six months including at least one update over the most recent three month period.
A "newly reported" tradeline has been added to the file within the past three months. Each tradeline represents a unique credit experience. Actual tradeline company names are not displayed, but rather supplier category names will appear. For example, if your company is 60 DBT (days beyond terms) with 'ACME CELL COMMUNICATIONS,' the entry may appear as "TELECOM ... 60DBT."

Tradeline - A business extending credit for a service or product. Trade Payment Experiences can be used to recognize early, on-time, and/or late payment patterns. Generally, the more tradelines reported, the more informative the payment analysis.

Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) - Companies that extend secured loans to other businesses file Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) documents with the appropriate secretary of state office to protect their interest in the asset. United States statute covering the rights and obligations of the various parties involved in the purchase and sale of goods.

UCC Detail - Companies that extend secured loans to other businesses file Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) documents with the appropriate secretary of state office to protect their interest in the asset. This is the detail of the actual UCC filing, the information generally includes the date, filing number, jurisdiction, secured party, and collateral activity.


UCC Summary - Companies that extend secured loans to other businesses file Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) documents with the appropriate secretary of state office to protect their interest in the asset. This is a summary of the last 2 years of UCC filing information. It does not show detail, but does show the filing activity.

UCC Total - Number of tradelines with Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings. This includes original, continuation, addition, and supplemental filings.

UCC Derogatory Filing - A Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filing where one of the following types of collateral have been pledged; Accounts, Accounts receivable, Contracts, Hereafter acquired property, Inventory, Leases, Notes receivable, Proceeds.

Voluntary - Company initiated the bankruptcy proceeding.

Zero Balance Trades - Number of tradelines with balance = 0. This includes all tradelines; Regular, New, Aged, and Other.

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