Many business owners are shocked to find that their personal finances have such a large impact on their business’s ability to access credit. Revolving credit, in particular, can have an unexpected affect on any individual’s ability to access new lines of credit or business credit cards for their business. In fact, your individual FICO score can factor up to fifty percent into a lender’s decision to approve your business for credit or not.
In order to understand how revolving debt impacts your business’s access to credit, it is important first to have a good understanding of what revolving credit is and how it works.
Revolving debt includes all of an individual’s personal credit cards, department store cards, and any home equity lines of credit they may have out. Revolving debt is the ratio between how much credit is available to the individual from these three sources and how much is actually owed. This is a reflection of your financial state. If an individual has all lines of credit maxed out or nearly so, it will appear that something is going on in the person’s financial life, or that they are desperate for more capital, not what a lender wants to see when deciding to grant you access to more money. For example, if an individual has a total of 10,000 dollars available to them in all his credit cards, department store cards, and home equity lines of credit, but has a total balance owed on all three of only 4,000 dollars, that would be a forty percent ratio. Anything under fifty percent is generally good.
After incorporation is a critical time for a business to go to the next level, and this usually requires more capital in the form of loans, credit cards, or other lines of credit. It is exactly at this time when your personal revolving debt comes into play so crucially for your newly incorporated business. Your numerical FICO score will play a large role as well. It is usually ideal to have at least a score of 680 at this time, but this requirement will vary depending on the type of credit being requested. The requirements to finance a mortgage on a new property, for instance, will be vastly different than the requirements for a new business credit card.
Particularly in the case of a new business, your personal finances will be key. This is because as a newly established business, the lender has little to examine other than your personal finances. Managing your personal debt is one very important way to ensure that lenders will have a positive outlook on giving your business access to credit, but it is not the only factor involved. Having no credit cards, or only one or two, is not ideal. Lenders will want to see a fairly diverse and long credit history, so having one or two long-established accounts is great, but three or four total open lines is a much better number. Also, if you have bankruptcies, judgments against you, this will likely weigh into the bank’s decision. Make sure your personal finances are in great shape before you risk the success of your business on them.