What is a credit bureau – and how can it help your business?

7 June 2022 Posted by: Sarah Brown Business Resources

A credit bureau assesses business and consumer creditworthiness, based on financial information about their payment history from various creditors such as banks, finance companies, credit card companies, and utility providers.

That information is then compiled into credit reports that can be used by your business to help support responsible lending decisions; enabling you to see at a glance if a current or prospective customer is managing their finances responsibly.

As New Zealand’s national credit bureau, Centrix collects, stores, uses and reports on personal and credit-related information about over 95% of Kiwi consumers, as well as most credit-active companies.

This information comes from a variety of sources, including banks, finance companies, telcos, power companies, and debt collection agencies. Other sources of information collated by Centrix include the Companies Office, Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR), and the Government’s driver registration database. 

Centrix credit reports are used by businesses to make reliable lending decisions. They feature a credit score – a number between 0 – 1000 which is a summary of the information in the report, designed to provide a snapshot of a company or person’s creditworthiness.        

As Centrix holds such a wide range of data, our credit scores are a reliable indicator of a person or business’s ability to pay their bills, based on statistical analysis of millions of credit accounts. 

To credit check a person or company, businesses must complete a declaration saying they’re accessing and storing the requested information for purposes that are allowed under the Privacy Act, such as credit risk assessment, credit scoring or for other purposes such as employment consideration or leasing an apartment. 

Using Centrix credit reports, you can screen and monitor any consumers or businesses you lend to, to avoid giving credit to high-risk customers. You can also set interest rates and terms of trade according to the level of risk a customer will create for your business. Customers with low credit scores or a history of defaulting will typically attract a high interest rate.

You can also credit check any customers you provide goods and services to on credit. You could refuse a customer with a low credit score or set your terms of trade to request payment upfront before they receive the goods or services. A good credit rating for your suppliers can also be an indication of a reliable supply chain.

Credit reports are also commonly used by businesses undertaking employment screening and underwriting insurance, as studies have shown that there’s a relationship between a good credit score and other reliability factors. 

As a credit bureau, Centrix also provides other services that complement credit reports, such as ID verification, beneficial ownership checks for companies, and checks on securities held in the PPSR register.

Get credit reports online

Centrix credit reports are real-time, reliable, and cost efficient.  To get a credit report and access the credit score and creditworthiness rating of a person or business before extending credit, visit https://www.centrix.co.nz/get-reports/