The Evolution of the Credit Reporter


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Today’s business owners are on the go more than ever, and a majority manage parts of their businesses with mobile devices. We developed our mobile app, “CreditReporter,”  to give these business owners quick and easy access to the information they need most. The app uses the latest technology and is lightning fast. Among other features, users can see their companies’ profiles and credit scores in real time, can find out when others are pulling their report, and can receive instant alerts when scores change. They can also add business credit references and see the status of those references. And if help is needed, users can tap to call Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. to speak to a credit advisor within minutes.

Keeping track of credit data wasn’t always so easy. In fact, we named our mobile app CreditReporter as a tip of the hat to the credit reporters of yesterday. Back in the 1800s when the credit industry began, credit reporters were actual people: professionals who interpreted and reported on business credit information. They actually went out into the community and met with business owners face to face, to ascertain a company’s “means, capital, and character.” The inclusion of “character” is significant and is something we have focused on at Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.; the character and credibility of a company is just as important as its balance sheets.

Untitled1The job of credit reporter was highly respected, and as such was a stepping stone for future entrepreneurs and politicians. When Abraham Lincoln wanted to establish his professional reputation, he chose to start his career as a credit reporter. It should come as no surprise that he was consistently ranked as one of the best; his 1858 performance review indicates that he was “No. 1 always. Responsive and very good.” Lincoln was the first of four future chief executives who worked at Dun & Bradstreet. The others were Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, and William McKinley.

Company credit information was contained in reference books, published every year. As the nation grew, so did the number of volumes in that year’s Dun & Bradstreet reference book. We’ve acquired and displayed quite a few of these books in our office museum, and I can vouch for the fact that they’re massive. It’s hard to imagine the work that went into producing each one. I’m sure they were painstakingly checked and double checked for accuracy… only to become outdated as soon as a company moved or went out of business. Untitled2

Today, we’ve come to expect fast, accurate information at our fingertips. For business owners, such access is a requirement to compete in today’s rapidly evolving global marketplace. To that end, here at Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. we’ve made it our number one priority to provide our customers with the most thorough and nimble technology available to make monitoring and managing their credit a breeze.  Like so much else in the twenty-first century, credit reporting has gone the way of the mobile app. But the history of credit reporting reminds us that technology alone can’t give us a complete picture of a company, especially those vital qualities like character and credibility. Nothing beats a human to human connection, especially in business. With that in mind we have hundreds of credit advisors across the company available to offer individualized assistance, and we are diligently working on more ways to incorporate the human element into the scores and ratings we offer. In this way, we can stay connected to the values of our past while embracing the technology of the future.

Access your business credit where you need to, when you need to.
Download CreditReporter now.

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About Jeff Stibel

Jeffrey Stibel is Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. Jeff was previously President and CEO of, Inc. (NASDAQ: WWWW) and General Manager of United Online, Inc. (NASDAQ: UNTD). Prior to United Online, Jeff was founder and CEO of, now part of ValueClick, Inc. (NASDAQ: VCLK). Jeff currently sits on the boards of numerous private and public companies including The Search Agency, EdgeCast Networks, BrainGate and Autobytel (NASDAQ: ABTL), as well as academic boards for Tufts University and Brown University. Jeff is the author of numerous academic and business articles, including the book Wired for Thought and is the named inventor on the U.S. patent for search engine interfaces. He was the recipient of the Brain and Behavior Fellowship while studying for his PhD at Brown University.

You can learn a lot more about Jeff's approach to business on his Harvard Business Review blog, as well as by following him on Twitter (@stibel), Google+ (Jeff Stibel) Facebook (/stibel).


  1. Good to see someone with such credibility, passion & author of numerous academic & business articles! Best of Luck!ZP

  2. Steve Waddell says:

    Really like the DNB app and it’s ease of use because it is on my iPhone.

    HOWEVER, I have found that it has a problem in that it is not accurate – there is a major difference in how are trade references are reflected on the website vs how they are shown in the app. I brought this up to our DNB rep and he recommended we use the website until they get that fixed; he agreed with the issue.

    • Hi Steve,

      I’m really not sure what issue you ran into. I checked with our product team that built the app and they assure me that there’s no difference between how trade references are shown in the app vs the website. To the best of our knowledge, the “add a trade reference” tab within the app has identical form fields, copy and processing to our website dashboard.

  3. Steve Waddell says:

    Hi Dustin,

    I just found another, where the app reports we have 1 special event, and the website says we have none.

    So there are multiple issues, and after the posting I made here, I was contacted by Lennon Cole about these concerns. I just contacted him again today about the special event issue. Here is his reply – notice the comment to trust the website vs the app:

    Hi Steve –

    Apologies, I didn’t realize no one had been in contact with you. I reached out to you at the behest of our product department; the answers you sent were forwarded to them with the understanding that they would follow up. I just pinged them again with your update below (regarding special events), and asked if any additional information was available regarding the issues you’re having.

    I do know there’s nothing we can do about multiple or incorrect listings in search. That information is pulled directly from Dun & Bradstreet’s database.

    Again, I’m sorry for the lack of communication. For now, though it’s less convenient, I’d trust what the website says vs the app.

    I’ll let you know as soon as I hear something.

    My best,

    Lennon Cole
    Social Media Coordinator

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