The majority of D&B®’s business credit scores and ratings are calculated using information about how your business pays its bills. In this respect, it operates much the same as personal credit: late payments can bring scores down, while on-time payments can help build them up. To help calculate these score and ratings, D&B takes into account payment information gathered and received from suppliers, vendors, and other partners.

However, information about a business may not be readily available. If suppliers, vendors, or other partners do not report your payment history to D&B, your business credit profile may not tell the complete story of your business’s financial stability and credibility. D&B uses the term “trade references*” to refer to these records of past payment experiences.

Trade references serve several important functions:

  • Credibility: Trade references help to complete your D&B business credit profile, which helps directly increase your business’s credibility with anyone who views your profile.
  • PAYDEX®: The PAYDEX is perhaps the most vital score. It’s the indication of the payment history of a business, and cannot be calculated without three trade references. Not having a PAYDEX score, or having a low PAYDEX score, may result in higher premium and interest rates, lost business, or challenges in raising capital. Lender, suppliers, and other partners may view a company without a PAYDEX score, or a low score, as less likely to pay them back.
  • Impact: Trade references can potentially have a positive (or negative!) impact on your business credit scores and ratings. Submitting trade references with on-time payments may increase your scores and ratings, while late payments may bring them down. For more on this, see how to go about building business credit.

When a trade reference is submitted, D&B contacts the other business to verify the information and ensure it is accurate. D&B will make up to 6 attempts to contact the other company to verify a trade reference before halting inquiries**. However, the trade reference may be submitted again, and D&B will make up to 6 more attempts. D&B will also accept inbound verification.

There are certain payment histories that cannot be manually submitted as trade references through the CreditBuilder™ product. These include but are not limited to:

  • Payments that have not yet been made but are anticipated;
  • Payments to businesses that have shared principals or some other type of legal ownership relationship;
  • Bank references;
  • Utilities and gas companies used for non-commercial purposes;
  • Credit card companies;
  • Landlords;
  • International companies.

Trade references help complete the story of a business. They can make a business appear credible and financially stable to potential vendors, suppliers, lenders, and strategic partners. Submitting trade references can be done by purchasing CreditBuilder™ from Dun & Bradstreet.

*Trade References will be added subject to D&B® verification and acceptance. Please see http://www. for eligibility, process and other information regarding Trade References.

**Inquiries are the number of individual product(s) purchased by a customer(s) on a D&B D-U-N-S® Number in a rolling one-year time period. Although the specific name of the inquiring customer(s) is not available, your product may allow you to see the inquiring customer’s industry.