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How a Virtual Address Hurts Your Credit

Location. Location. Location. How many times have you heard it? But there are some credit "gurus" out there who tell their clients to use a virtual address so they look more "corporate" or professional. Unfortunately, what they don't tell their clients is that trying to pass off a virtual address or mail-drop location as a physical address can actually cause more harm than good.

When assessing your company's validity, D&B looks at the "Super Seven" elements — seven specific data points that help to determine your company's viability and credibility:

  1. Business Name: Must match exactly to any available legal documentation and/or information flowing in from alternate trusted resources, such as credit card companies, banks, and other financial data providers.

  2. Legal Structure: Whether this is a corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship, but also whether it is headquarters, branch, division, subsidiary, parent, or global ultimate.

  3. Physical Address: The physical location where business is conducted, whether it is a business or residential location, approximate square footage, and whether it is owned, rented, leased, or shared. Virtual offices, personal mailboxes, and auxiliary mail-drop locations are not permitted, and typically are viewed as deceptive in nature.

  4. Phone: Whether it is a landline, cellular phone, or VoIP (voice over internet protocol), and whether it is in the business name or in the name of an individual associated to the business.

  5. Principal/Title: Names of all owners, principals, partners, and directors, as well as their titles. A brief biography of ownership history and previous education and work experience is useful.

  6. Industry: This includes up to five SIC codes that best define your business overall operations. The SIC codes auto-match to the corresponding NAICS codes to determine risk factors that may be associated to a specific industry classification.

  7. Size/Strength: This is determined using either your employee count or financial data. Publicly traded companies are required to provide annual financial statements. Privately held companies are not, but they can provide their estimated, projected, or actual sale figures.

The physical location of your business is very important because it helps D&B determine more than just your company's location, but also your size, strength, and potential future need for credit or capital.