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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Three quarters of businesses fail to conduct credit checks

Friday December 11 2009

According to recent reports, 73% of companies in the UK fail to carry out a credit check on new customers. This is the most basic form of protection against bad debt and possible business failure, warned business information provider, Equifax.  

According to recent reports, 73% of companies in the UK fail to carry out a credit check on new customers. This is the most basic form of protection against bad debt and possible business failure, warned business information provider, Equifax.

 

At the same time, bad debts are on the increase, with figures showing a 20% rise in late payments, while small businesses have had to write-off almost 5 billion of bad debt over the past year. Equifax is therefore urging businesses to take precautions to avoid falling foul of the recession.

 

One company that is doing all it can to protect itself from bad debt is T.G. Lynes, a leading supplier of mechanical services to the heating, plumbing and air movement industries, based in Enfield, London. The company has been an Equifax customer for over two years, using the Equifax Portfolio Monitoring Service to track the financial status of its customers in order to ensure they are not getting into financial difficulty. Lynes also conducts full credit checks on any new customers.

 

"It is such a difficult trading climate at the moment, so you need to be certain that the companies you are doing business with aren't going to go bust" confirmed Derek Wheeler of T.G. Lynes. "Using Equifax's Portfolio Monitoring Service means we are alerted to any of our customers who may have a new CCJ [County Court Judgement] lodged or a decrease or increase in credit limit, plus other vital information which is important when trading in a recession.

 

"The knock-on effect of one of our customers going bust could cost us many thousands of pounds and have a detrimental effect on our bottom line. The business was incorporated in 1934, so we have seen trading conditions change over time. Our company has weathered a number of recessions, therefore we know it is vital to be informed of any change in our customers' circumstances as soon as they happen."

 

Nic Beishon, head of Equifax commercial information solutions added: "Trading in a recession opens a business to all kinds of risk. Indeed our most recent report on business failures showed that 8,874 businesses went bust in the second quarter of 2009 and for many of these the payment record and financial stability of existing customers is likely to have been a contributing factor in their downfall. But T.G. Lynes recognises the importance of knowing who they are trading with, to protect against bad debt and fraud. SMEs [small-to-midsized enterprises] are particularly vulnerable in the current climate and we urge other businesses to follow T.G. Lynes' example.

 

"It is crucial to remember that not all new business is good business. It only takes one or two customers going bust to jeopardise a company's own financial standing. Yet it only takes a few simple credit checks and the monitoring on key customers to help a business safeguard against bad risk and secure a good financial future."

 

www.experian.co.uk