Fair, Isaac & Co., of San Rafael, Calif., said it has teamed up with an Internet company to help small businesses determine whether to extend trade credit to their customers.

Fair, Isaac and Net Earnings, a company that sells loans and insurance over the Internet, plan to develop the on-line credit evaluation system this year.

Latimer Asch, vice president for commercial products at Fair, Isaac, said banks could offer the service on their Web sites and charge entrepreneurs to use it.

Most small manufacturers or wholesalers extend trade credit to their customers, granting them a grace period of 30, 60, or 90 days for payment.

"This will allow small businesses to evaluate the creditworthiness of their customers," Mr. Asch said.

"It will help businesses improve their cash flow by getting paid on time."

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