By Hansen, Fay
Business Credit , Vol. 102, No. 9
The Revolution in Online Resources
The past two years have spawned a revolution in credit information and data grounded in the unprecedented proliferation of online resources. Online credit resources have multiplied so quickly that credit managers can now choose from a wide range of services, many of which did not exist even a year ago. Most importantly, three fields of credit data that were once only lightly mined and accessible are now increasingly available: information on very small companies, data on privately held companies, and detailed reports on companies based abroad. These recent additions to internet-based credit resources round out the data that was previously available and affordable only for large U.S-based public companies.
Most of the relatively new services provide standard credit-related information such as company background, officers and executives, ownership, financial information, public filing information, antecedent information and business news reports. Many of them also provide credit ratings and stability scores based on their own models, forecasts and predictions for future performance, and comparative analysis and risk reports.
These new Internet-based resources carry three obvious advantages for credit managers over traditional print-based sources:
1. They offer absolutely current information and data.
2. Searching for and retrieving the data requires less time.
3. The cost of each inquiry is substantially lower.
In addition, many of these services allow credit managers to select and organize the information and data through profiling or portfolio systems that automatically sort the data for relevance, update the information as new information becomes available, and present the data in a customized format. The only question they leave unanswered is how credit managers will reallocate the time and money that they can save by tapping into the new services. For credit managers who have been waiting for an opportunity to expand their strategic role in management, the time has come.
The services listed below represent just a sample of the credit information and data resources now available in addition to traditional sources. A trip to the web site of any of the services listed below will provide more details about the data that can be accessed and full contact information.
BusinessCreditUSA.com is an Internet business credit portal offering business credit reports, online updates, and business credit applications: Perhaps its greatest asset is that it offers a database with 13 million records for U.S. and Canadian companies specializing in small and midsize firms. More than 55 percent of the database is represented by businesses with fewer than four employees. Every record is verified at least once a year.
BusinessCreditUSA.com offers effective solutions for low-dollar credit decisions. its database allows users to verify business existence and stability factors; confirm information on new accounts; learn about current and prospective customers; pre-qualify prospective customers; and find fax, telephone, and address information.
Information provided in the businessCreditUSA.com business reports includes company profile and contact information; line of business; ownership; a credit or stability rating based on businessCreditUSA.com's own model and data; parent company; public filing information including liens, judgments, bankruptcies, and lawsuits; a management directory; antecedent information; news items; revenues; comparative information of other businesses in the same area; and in some cases, a photo of the company's headquarters or business location.
Users can search for a company by company name, executives or principals' names or location. Most credit reports are priced at about $5, with volume discounts available. …