What Is a Trade Reference on a Credit Application?

by Laura Reynolds - Updated September 26, 2017
Business credit application

Even small corporations leave a financial trail behind them as they conduct business. Annual reports provide public records, and customers and suppliers all provide information to organizations such as Dun and Bradstreet to assemble a picture of your company, or Paydex score, for potential creditors. Since lenders require -- and check -- trade references, it benefits you to report acceptable references with which you are in good standing.

Choosing References

D&B maintains public credit ratings available to potential lenders, suppliers and clients, so executive officers assemble their trade references carefully. Lenders typically require at least three trade references with no adverse payment records or public records, such as lawsuits, within the preceding 12 months. Primary references -- suppliers upon which your business depends -- carry more weight on credit applications than secondary references. Incomplete transactions, international corporations, banking and periodic exchanges such as utility, insurance and financial services do not typically constitute acceptable references.

Defining Trade

Trade involves the exchange of goods or services for money or other items of value. A trade reference typically refers to such exchanges between businesses. Primary trade references include payment for parts, supplies and materials, but they might also involve advertising, printing, graphic design, software development and direct mail service. Consultants, decorators, attorneys and accountants generally constitute secondary trade references, as do cleaning, computer repair and collection services. Other secondary references might involve those involved in your business car leases, post office boxes or furniture rental.

About the Author

An avid perennial gardener and old house owner, Laura Reynolds has had careers in teaching and juvenile justice. A retired municipal judgem Reynolds holds a degree in communications from Northern Illinois University. Her six children and stepchildren served as subjects of editorials during her tenure as a local newspaper editor.

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