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Small-business analysis shows gender differences in credit management
Type of business also shown to split along gender lines

Costa Mesa, Calif., Feb 24, 2015 — Experian®, the leading global information services company, today announced new insights from a recent small-business analysis that showed small-business owners' payment behavior and credit management varies by gender. The analysis shows women business owners having a slightly lower commercial and consumer credit score than men. For example, the average commercial credit score for a woman-owned business is 34, while the average score for a male-owned business is 35. Similarly, the average consumer credit score for women business owners was 689 compared to male business owners at 699.

Businesses owned by women     Businesses owned by men
(Click on the images for a larger view.)


"Maintaining a positive credit profile is a powerful piece of advice for consumers and business owners, regardless of gender. Having good credit can make a difference in getting access to funds to help your business grow," said Peter Bolin, Experian's director of consulting and analytics. "Without access to this capital, it forces business owners to fund their enterprise through personal loans, which could put their personal credit at risk if the business struggles. This is especially troubling for women-owned businesses, as our research shows their credit scores are lower and take longer to pay their bills than their male counterparts."

In terms of payment behavior, the average number of days beyond contracted terms that male business owners pay their bills is 8.1 days, whereas women pay their bills 8.4 days past due.

During the analysis, Experian also reviewed additional credit attributes of small-business owners and found that:

  • More than 22 percent of male-owned businesses have at least one open commercial trade account, while the same can be said for only 18.5 percent of women-owned businesses
  • More than 25 percent of female business owners have between 10–19 open tradelines on their personal credit file, compared to 17.5 percent of male business owners
  • In the last 24 months, female business owners had an average of 1.3 personal accounts become 90-plus days past due, while male business owners had an average of 0.9 go delinquent

Business types by gender

Experian's analysis also looked at the top 10 industries for male- and female-owned businesses. There were several industries that ranked in the top 10 for both genders, including business services, retail stores, building maintenance, restaurants, real estate and management consulting. Those specific to men were general contracting, motion-picture and video-tape distribution, general automotive repair and plumbing, while those specific to women were beauty shops; personal services; child day care; and gift, novelty and souvenir stores.

Top 10 industries for male business owners Top 10 industries for female business owners
1. General contracting 1. Business services
2. Business services 2. Beauty shops
3. Real estate 3. Retail stores
4. Restaurants 4. Building maintenance
5. Motion-picture and video-tape distribution 5. Personal services
6. Retail stores 6. Restaurants
7. Building maintenance 7. Real estate
8. Management consulting 8. Child day care
9. General automotive repair 9. Gift, novelty and souvenir stores
10. Plumbing, heating and air conditioning 10. Management consulting

Additionally, 48.3 percent of women business owners run their business out of their home, compared to 44.8 percent of male business owners.

"While there are a lot of similarities in the industries male and female business owners explore, it is clear that there are still some distinct differences between the two," Bolin continued. "By understanding a business owner's credit behavior and demographic and firmographic information, lenders will be able to gain deeper insight in order to take appropriate action when making a lending decision or marketing to prospective clients."

The analysis found that male-owned businesses experience higher sales than women-owned businesses. More than 24 percent of male-owned businesses have sales that exceeded $500,000, while only 14.5 percent of women-owned businesses see sales of that size. Furthermore, 21.2 percent of male business owners have a personal income of $125,000 or greater, compared to just 17.4 percent of women business owners.

"The majority of NAWBO members are small-business owners, and access to capital to start or scale their businesses is often an obstacle to their success," said Darla Beggs, national board chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners. "Today, we are proud to continue to serve as an advocate for all women entrepreneurs and provide the information they need, such as this revealing study from Experian. We hope this information brings increased awareness to the connection between credit scores and access to capital, and we will work with our members to educate them on the benefits of good credit management."

Resources for business owners

Understanding and monitoring their company's business credit profile to ensure it is in good standing is essential for small-business owners to gain access to necessary capital. With the insights that business credit reports provide, small-business owners can take the appropriate actions necessary that will positively impact their business. Experian provides some helpful resources to help small-business owners gauge the health of their business, including:

  • BusinessCreditFacts.com — An authoritative source for understanding and learning about the benefits of managing business credit. Visit https://www.businesscreditfacts.com.
  • Experian Business Credit — A site that enables small-business owners to access a copy of their business credit report as well as understand the impact that maintaining a positive credit profile can have on a small business. Visit http://www.experian.com/businesscreditreport.
  • Business Score PlannerTM — An education tool for business owners to understand how financial plans and changes to commercial credit information can impact a business credit score. Visit http://sbcr.experian.com/scoreplanner.
Methodology

The analysis is based on a statistically relevant sampling of data from Experian's consumer and commercial credit database from November 2014. The sample was based on a known business population where gender was identifiable. Average scores are not representative of national averages or a random national sample. Gender information was obtained from Experian Marketing Services.

About Experian's Business Information Services

Experian's Business Information Services is a leader in providing data and predictive insights to organizations, helping them mitigate risk and improve profitability. The company's business database provides comprehensive, third-party-verified information on virtually all U.S. companies, with the industry's most extensive data on the broad spectrum of small and midsize businesses.

By leveraging state-of-the-art technology and superior data compilation techniques, Experian provides market-leading tools that proactively support the entire credit life cycle, enabling our clients to find new customers, process new applications, manage customer relationships and collect on delinquent accounts.

About Experian

We are the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to our clients around the world. We help businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. We also help people to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft. In 2014, we were named by Forbes magazine as one of the "World's Most Innovative Companies."

We employ approximately 16,000 people in 39 countries and our corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2014, was US$4.8 billion.

To find out more about our company, please visit www.experianplc.com or watch our documentary, "Inside Experian."

Business Credit Tip

If you're a sole proprietor or a business owner with fewer than 20 employees, your personal and business credit scores are closely linked in the eyes of banks and other lenders. So it's important to take steps to protect both. You should monitor, evaluate and protect your credit standing just as you would protect any other business or personal assets. Learn more about protecting your credit.

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