Step-by-Step: Adding payment history to your D&B credit file
If your company has a D&B D-U-N-S® number, then chances are you already have payment history showing in your commercial credit file. But, if you are like most business owners, that payment history doesn't really represent the amount of money your company actually spends. And adding just ONE vendor to your D&B file has the potential to boost your scores and ratings by up to 90%.
While D&B sales reps are quick (and persistent) when pushing their high-dollar creditbuilding products, they fail miserably in the "how-to" and "service-after-the-sale" departments. I've known business owners who have paid $1,800 (or more) for the Creditbuilder for years on end and NEVER submitted a single vendor.
Many mistakenly believe paying for the service will automatically improve their commercial credit scores and ratings, and then are angry and frustrated to find (months or years later) that nothing ever changed in their D&B file. Or worse, they struggle through submitting the vendors or types of vendors, and end up angry and frustrated that they spent all that money for nothing.
In reality, if you want your existing payment history to get added to your D&B file, it's actually pretty simple — but ONLY if you know what you are doing, how and when to do it, and you have the time and determination to track your progress on a daily basis.
For all you Do-It-Yourself'ers out there, here's my:
Step-by-Step Guide To Adding Vendor Payments To D&B
Step 1: Make A List
You need to make a list of every business (no matter how large or small) that you have made a payment to or a purchase from in your company's name at least ONCE in the past 12 months. How you generate that list doesn't matter, but you can:
Download a vendor list from your bookkeeping software
Pull one invoice out of every folder in your Payables file
Scour through company bank or credit card statements
Pull receipts out of your glove box or project folder
Step 2: Do Some Research
You'll need some basic information when you start the upload process, so I recommend you get this taken care of before you lay out the money for a month of the Creditbuilder:
Gather the vendor's business name, physical address, and phone
Go to www.DandB.com and search for the vendor's business
Make sure the address and phone matches D&B's data
Make sure it's a Headquarters or Single location
If the phone number is different, jot down the number D&B has
Go to www.Manta.com and search for the vendor's business name
Scroll to "Detailed Information" and jot down what their industry is (that's the industry where you'll see them when they get added)
Step 3: Contact Your Vendor To Pre-authorize the Release of Data
Contact your vendor's credit department and let them know D&B will be calling to gather your account history and they are authorized to release that information. If your vendor is a small- to medium-sized company, you can usually ask who D&B needs to speak to when they call to verify payments. D&B will only speak to:
An owner, officer, or principal
Someone in the Billing, Bookkeeping, or Credit departments
Someone who has access to your account information
Can't be your sales rep or another point-of-contact
If your vendor is a large company where you have no direct point of contact, just make a note that you will be submitting "Billing Department" or "Credit Department" as your contact's first and last name.
Step 4: Order Your Monthly Creditbuilder®
If you don't already have one, create an account at www.DandB.com. And then, if you don't already have a free CreditSignal® service, I recommend that you set one up now. Not only will it send you alerts when a score change occurs in your D&B credit file, but it will also give you a $15 discount off the monthly cost of the Creditbuilder®.
From within the CreditSignal, click on the box to the right of your business name to "Upgrade to Creditbuilder" (Doesn't always work from Chrome, so if clicking the Upgrade box doesn't do anything, log in using Explorer.)
Verify your business information
Add your credit card information
Submit your payment
Click to "Go to Dashboard"
Click to [LAUNCH] the Creditbuilder
Click to save, print, or export a copy of the file for your records
Familiarize yourself with the various pages of the report
Step 5: Upload Your Vendors
When it's time to upload your vendors, I always recommend that you start with the ones you've spent the most with in any single transaction in the past year, but you also want to have a healthy mix of vendors from a variety of different industries.
Scroll down to the Trade References tab in the left side menu
Click on the Add Trade References tab
Type in the business name and click search
Choose your vendor from the list
See Step 6 for easy answers and difficult to locate vendors
Step 6: Some Tips For Difficult Vendors
Not all vendors can be submitted to D&B for verification. Banks, credit cards, insurance, and some utilities are disqualified because they are usually "autoreporters" or "decline to report". Only U.S.-based businesses or foreign businesses that have a U.S. base of operations can be used. Of course, all vendors need to have a full D&B file of their own just to be able to find them in D&B's system, but sometimes, even when you do find them, choosing the right vendor from the choices they offer isn't easy either!
If your vendor doesn't come up or there are multiple choices under the same name —
• Narrow it down by the state
• Click "Advanced Search"
• Enter the phone number (with dashes)
• Or the owner's name
• Or the address
• Always choose 1) Global Ultimate 2) Subsidiary or 3) Single location
• Sole proprietorship businesses can be searched by the owner's name
If vendor is a branch or division —
• You can't submit a branch location
• Search using the alternate name
• Search using the alternate phone
• Search Google for the vendor's corporate headquarters or parent company
If a vendor can't be submitted —
• Search for alternates at same phone number
• Skip them and go on to the next vendor
• Call me to see if I can help
Step 7: Track Your Progress Daily!
It is super important that you track your progress daily. While it may take D&B 3 or 4 days to get started on your vendors, progress usually rolls along at a steady pace. If you did your homework (research) earlier, you should be able to identify the payment history (based upon their industry) as it flows into your credit report. If you check the "accepted" vendors against the added payments daily, you can usually see which vendor is reporting what amount and the payment status.
Step 8: Resubmitting Declined Vendors
D&B will decline to accept some of your vendors. I always recommend that you reattempt the vendor for a second time, but almost never a third time! That's considered "poking the bear", and you don't want to do that.
There are about 45 reasons why vendors can get declined, but D&B isn't going to tell you what they are or why your vendor was declined. The most common reasons are:
The vendor auto-reports to D&B (You can re-use that slot for another vendor)
The vendor refuses to provide credit information about their customers
They are already on D&B's "do not call" list
D&B already found payment history from that vendor was reported
(Keep watch! It may flow in automatically later.)
The vendor provided suspicious or incomplete payment info
If D&B noted the vendors as "Unable to Verify" you can resubmit them, this time using your account number and/or a better (direct) phone number.
Step 9: Cancelling The Creditbuilder Service
The monthly Creditbuilder is intended to be used for a minimum of three months, but that doesn't mean you can't cancel the service after just one or two. I recommend that you start the cancellation process at least 10 days prior to the next billing, because a D&B "Save the sale" rep is going to call and try to convince you to keep it or renew it as an annual service. If they don't reach you, they will usually not complete the cancellation process, which means you will get charged again. You may have to call or send in your cancellation request multiple times before it is honored.
Step 10: Keep Up The Good Work
Don't give up, and don't get frustrated. Adding just one vendor can boost your scores and ratings by up to 90%, so every tiny bit of progress is worth it. If you are having problems submitting a specific vendor or need assistance, don't hesitate to give me a call. I can walk you through the process over the phone, explain what's causing the problem, or even take over the job for you.
Does this seem like a lot of work? Don't forget, my $99 Powerboost service includes everything mentioned in the above tips and so much more! If you don't have the time and/or the energy or stick-to-it-ive-ness, give me a call. Adding payment history to the D&B file is just a very small part of what I do every single day for my clients.
If you have any questions, need a quick walk-thru of your D&B report, or would like my assistance in setting up Creditbuilder® so you can add your vendor payment history to your file on your own, feel free to reach out to me directly. I can set it up for you or walk you through the set-up process in less than five minutes — free of charge!
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