Company Payment History and Credit? Check Slow Payers

If you’re a business that’s in the position to give credit to new clients, it’s a wise move to make sure you check their payment history. On the face of things, many businesses can appear to be doing well, but sometimes even the most well-meaning and polite of directors can have a poor payment performance. It’s always advisable to double check, but in light of the current economic climate, it makes shrewd business sense to safeguard against slow payers before you go ahead and lend.

Checking a business’ payment records isn’t particularly difficult or time consuming to do – unless you’re planning on trawling through hard copies of their accounts. If you’d rather not waste your time and effort doing things the hard and laborious way, and you want to make sure you’re looking at the business’ most up to date and accurate payment history, you need to use a credit reference agency.
Credit Reference Agency

Credit reference agencies collect and check the payment records of UK businesses and turn it into data that can provide you, the lender, with a vital insight into a company’s payment history. Ultimately, it is this information that could result in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer as to whether you decide to lend to a new business. Three agencies providing payment records within their reports are Experian, D&B and our own serivice First Report. We gather data from various sources including Experian's payment records on companies throughout the UK. Here's an example of our payment records report. 

Experian run the Payment Performance Scheme from which our payment records are drawn, which uses information gathered from commercial data sharing to give a detailed analysis of a business’ payment trends. It’s a thorough run-down on when the business has paid monies owed, so you can gauge, identify, and react if necessary, to any potential risk. What’s more, you’ll be able to see how the company you are looking into is paying its other suppliers. This means you’ll be able to get a better understanding of any payment discrepancies – especially if you aren’t being paid, but others are. With this data you’re able to keep close tabs on the business in question’s dealings and monitor its payment performance.

D&B’s version is Payment Score. By sourcing millions of trade payment instances every month, they are able to analyse and present the payment performance of a vast array of companies working in the commercial sectors. Being privy to this payment information is akin to having your boss’ bank statements in your hands – except in this case you’d be completely foolish not to consider looking at it.

For easy access to payment information, First Report provides credit analyst reports so, like a professional credit controller, you can check through a business’ payment records. You’ll also get in-depth information on the company’s details, five years worth of extracts of its audited accounts, details of any CCJs, director profiles, and of course, the business’ payment information. First Report’s Credit Analysts Reports provide graphs that present complex information easily. For instance, you’ll be able to see how late a business pays its bills over a period of a year, how many bills it has paid in each month, and then check it against the industry’s average.
Why is it so important to check a company’s payment history?

It can feel a bit like snooping, but in the world of business, it’s not like you’re just considering lending a friend some money as a favour. Business is serious money and if you’re going to lend to a new business you need to know they’re going to pay it back. If you check their payment records you’ll be able to see any changes in their performance. A change will stick out like a sore thumb in the payment analysis – and this is what you need to look out for. It could basically be the first signal that things may not be quite so rosy for the business in question. It could point towards possible financial difficulties and should be viewed as a red light – or a warning sign.

Warning signs often aren’t visible on the surface of things, we’re British after all – and what do we do better than the stiff upper lip? If you want and need to get behind the façade, the most reliable and thorough way of checking a company’s payment history is by using a credit agency where there’s no guess work involved.
At First Report we offer company payment history records as a specific report option. We also include payment records within our most detailed credit reports. For more information about these or any other services please contact us, or to starting using payment records as part of your credit control, open an account with us today.

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