Small-business owners outpace consumers in credit management

New study highlights credit and demographic differences between average consumers and small-business owners

Costa Mesa, Calif., Sept. 15, 2016 — We know small business is the heart of the economy and part of the American Dream is to own a business. But just how successful is the average small-business owner compared with the average consumer? Experian®, the leading global information services company, today announced its Face of Small Business study, which examines key credit and demographic attributes of both groups to find out.

Details from the study are available today in an infographic and will be presented in a webinar on Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. Pacific time/1 p.m. Eastern time. For more information, visit

The report contains results from an analysis of data on a random sample of 2.5 million small businesses and 1 million consumers. Findings show that small-business owners outpace consumers when it comes to credit management. For example, the average personal credit score for a small-business owner is 721 — 48 points higher than the average consumer score of 673. Small-business owners also have a higher amount of available credit, with an average credit limit of $56,100; consumers have an average credit limit of $26,900.

Debt load, however, also is higher for small-business owners, with the average total balance of all trades at $195,000 versus $96,000 for consumers. From a payment perspective, small-business owners have a higher monthly obligation as well, with an average payment of $2,032 compared with $954 for consumers. Despite these differences, only a relatively small percentage (5.9 percent) of small-business owners have one or more revolving bankcard trades that are 90-plus days beyond terms in the past 24 months compared with 7 percent of consumers.

“Since the health of small business tells the tale of how the overall economy is performing, it is encouraging to see that while small-business owners have an exceptional amount of credit available to them and carry a higher debt load, they have done a great job managing their payment obligations and keeping utilization low,” said Pete Bolin, director of consulting and analytics for Experian’s Business Information Services. “In order to explore possibilities and pursue opportunities, consumers and small-business owners alike need to master the credit management skills that will allow them to achieve their dreams — whether that dream is to start or expand a business or to finance a new home or vehicle.”

In terms of demographic characteristics, small-business owners are more likely to own a home and have a higher income than the average consumer. For example, the average income for small-business owners is $91,600 versus $70,400 for consumers. Also, 62 percent of small business owners own a home compared with only 47 percent of consumers.

Small-business owners tend to be a bit older and are more likely to have pursued higher education than the average consumer. The average age of a small-business owner is 56, and the average age of a consumer is 51. From an education perspective, 68.6 percent of small business owners have attended some college and beyond, while only 53.5 percent of consumers have done so.

Other highlights from the report:

  • The average mortgage balance for small-business owners is $192,000 versus $147,000 for consumers.
  • The average number of open trades for small-business owners is 7.4 versus 4.4 for consumers.
  • The balance-to-limit ratio for small-business owners is 29.5 percent compared with 30.1 percent for consumers.
  • A higher percentage of small-business owners are married, with 68.3 percent having tied the knot versus 53.4 percent of consumers.
  • The average gender breakdown for small-business owners is 65.6 percent male and 31.2 percent female. For consumers the mix is more equal, with 46.4 percent female and 47 percent male.

For more information about this report or Experian’s other research on the small-business marketplace, please visit

Roslyn Whitehurst
Experian Public Relations
1 714 830 5578
Twitter: @RozWhitehurst

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 2015, we were named one of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” by Forbes magazine.

We employ approximately 17,000 people in 37 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, 2016, was US$4.6 billion.

To find out more about our company, please visit or watch our documentary, “Inside Experian.”

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