If you are applying for a business license, you may be required by your state government to obtain a surety bond to guarantee you will operate your business in compliance with state regulations.
If you have good credit and need to obtain a surety bond, you'll have an easier time. In short, your credit score affects how much you'll have to pay for your bond.
Here's what you should know about your credit score and your surety bond rate.
Why Does My Surety Bond Require a Credit Check?
Like the process of applying for personal or business credit, applying for a surety bond requires a credit check.* This is because the surety company needs to know how likely you are to pay them back should they pay out on a bond claim.
Your credit score is a great example of how you have historically repaid companies.
If your credit score is high, this signifies to the surety bond company that you have done a good job repaying companies in the past.
If your credit score is low, this might signify to a surety company that you have not done a great job repaying companies in the past.
*Credit check is a soft pull.
Credit Scores & Surety Bonds
Credit scores are roughly classified as follows:
- 750+ -excellent
- 700-749 - above average
- 675-699 - good
- 650 - 674 - fair
- 550 - 649 - subprime
- 549 or lower - poor
Ideally, surety bond companies will look for credit scores higher than 670 and an absence of collections, liens, and judgments. If your credit score is under 670, that's usually okay, you will likely just have to pay more for your bond.
How Much Does a Surety Bond Cost?
You do not have to pay the full amount of your bond to get bonded. You will only pay a percentage. Generally, the rate you'll pay is as follows:
If you have good credit, expect to pay anywhere from 1-3% of the total bond amount.
If you have bad credit, you could pay anywhere from 4-15% of the total bond amount.
The below chart can help you understand how much you might pay for a surety bond if you have good credit and bad credit.
The above chart shows ball-park estimates. To see exactly how much you'd pay for a surety bond, get a free quote below:
Can I Get a Surety Bond With Bad Credit?
The short answer is: YES!
You can learn more about credit in this post: "How Much Does a Surety Bond Cost If I Have Bad Credit?"
If you have bad credit, it's okay. You can still get bonded, you might just have to pay a higher rate, as shown in the chart above.
Paying a higher rate is generally preferable to posting collateral, because in some cases the state may not release your collateral for a long time after your bond is no longer needed.
Reliable surety bond companies should have bad credit options for individuals who need to get bonded.
If You Believe Your Premium Is Too High
If you are offered a surety bond quote, but believe the premium is too high, speak with the surety bond company to make sure the rate was applied correctly and to ask why the premium is so high.
Mistakes are occasionally made during the rating process, and sometimes credit reports contain errors that hurt your credit rating.
Ideally, you should work with a surety bond company that provides you with multiple quotes so you can choose the one that fits your needs best.
If your rate is high, you might qualify for premium financing, where you can pay for your bond in monthly payments. Learn more in this post "Do You Offer Surety Bond Payment Plans?"
However confident you are of your credit history, you should obtain copies of your credit reports every year (which you can do for free at annualcreditreport.com) and go over them carefully so you can identify mistakes and request their removal.
Rates on surety bonds vary based on several factors, like which state you're in, the type of bond, the surety underwriter, and your credit history.
If you need to acquire a surety bond, your credit score can affect your rate and even your ability to purchase the surety bond. This is one more reason you should work on improving your credit history and check every year for mistakes on your credit reports.