As a supplier of goods or services to organisations, it’s vital that you get paid on time. That’s why it’s so important to ensure you work with reliable businesses with good credit histories.

Before you seal a deal to supply a new customer, your first course of action should be to do your own research and then to apply for a credit limit with us. A credit limit is simply the value of sales outstanding at any one time we can cover between you and your future customer.

For example, you might want to cover £10,000-worth of business. You make the application and we will come back with a decision to fully approve cover, to reject cover, or to cover part of the amount you requested.

Applying for a credit limit: step-by-step

1.       Log in to our online portal and go to the credit limits section.

2.       Search for your customer by inputting the company details in the relevant fields.

  • To identify your customer, use the company identifier.
    Names and addresses don’t always do the job because there are plenty of companies with the same or similar registered or trading names.
    Be aware that VAT numbers alone are not always reliable identifiers. In some cases, they are not publicly available, and in others they can be shared between more than one entity.

  • If a company identifier is not available, search by name and address, then enter as much accurate information as you can. This could include:
    • Full customer company name directly followed by its legal form (ex: ABC Company Limited).
    • Full address and postcode - in some countries, state or province may also be compulsory.
  • If you still can’t find your customer in the list, it means the company you’re looking for might not have been set up yet in our sytem. Please provide as much relevant information as possible. This could include email addresses, a company registration number, the names of directors/owners and your contacts as well as the company’s VAT number if it has one.

3.       Enter the amount of your credit limit request and check the payment terms.

4.       Confirm to send the application back to us electronically.

5.       We will come back with a decision.

  • If the customer was already set up in our system, a decision will be given quickly.

  • If we need to investigate a new business, it might take a little longer.

You can keep track of your pending requests in the system at all times.

How do we assess your customers?

The main sources to ascertain a business’ financial strength are its annual accounts, its management accounts and its historical payment performance. Some of it is public information, while the rest can be uncovered by talking to existing suppliers and searching for evidence of contracts gone bad.

With access to a vast spectrum of UK and Irish registered company data via our trusted information partners, we are kept up-to-date with adverse judgement events on companies as and when they happen. Similarly, in international territories we can check if the legal system has had to act to enforce payment in the past.

We investigate the customer with site visits, we review payment performance information, and we take into consideration the general economic conditions in the country where the company is based. By putting all this information together, we create an overview of their risk profile.

It's important to exercise caution when working with new customers. Fraudsters are implementing increasingly clever tactics in order to steal from unsuspecting people and businesses. For more information on how you can protect your business against fraud, take a look at our guide: How to steer clear of fraud.