Schufa is a German company that collects information about the solvency of third parties. The data is collected e.g. already at the moment of opening your bank account in Germany.
Schufa itself does not download or collect any data and in particular, does not carry out any research. It is solely a data collector and relies on the information provided by its partners. In addition, the company evaluates the debtor registers of the German district courts, where one is recorded if an affidavit is submitted.
Schufa’s partners on the European internal market are, for example, banks, insurance companies, mail order companies, leasing companies, stores, telecommunications companies, debt collection companies. Credit intermediaries are not partners of Schufa.
Schufa partners receive two types of information from the association: type A and type B information. The B-information has only data about your behavior as a customer, for instance, if you respect the contract and pay your instalments on time. A information is more important. In order to operate an account or issue a credit card, the partners (in this case mainly banks) receive information about your entire debt in addition to your B information.
What is the so-called “Schufa scoring procedure”?
Even if you have nothing against you (if you have a negative Schufa record, points are not calculated at all), there may be doubts about your creditworthiness. The reason for this is Schufy’s forecasting procedure (scoring). The score is a percentage between 1 and 100 and is calculated by computer. The lower the value, the worse the financial forecast. The forecast refers to the percentage probability of repayment problems. A high percentage tells us that repayment of, for example, a loan is very likely.
As an individual customer, you are not scored according to your own private data, but according to information in relation to a group of people with similar characteristics (similar data). The score is designed to purely statistically “predict” whether a particular credit agreement will perform similarly to credit agreements of people with similar data in the past. Important information, such as a steady job or high earnings, is not taken into account because Schufa cannot collect information on assets and occupation.
Can Schufa be prohibited from providing data?
The scoring procedure is controversial. The Hamburg District Court (Case No. 9 C 168/01) obliged Schufa to stop communicating to its partners the value of the score that a trader has received. However, the ruling only applies to this individual case. If you want to prevent Schufa from passing on your personal scores, you have to prevent Schufa from doing so by appealing to the court.
However, this is not a recommendable solution: if there is no credit score in the Schufa entry, it can happen that the bank employee rejects your letter: without credit scores there is no credit.
The German Federal Court ruled in a court judgment of 23.01.2014 (VI ZR 156/13): those affected by the credibility entry maintained by Szufa, have the right to know what personal data (primarily credit data) is collected by the company and how the scoring, the so-called probable values (Scorewerte). The formula for calculating the score itself remains a company secret and is not communicated to those concerned.
Values protected by trade secrets include, in the first instance, the general data used in the formula, e.g. statistical data, the weighting of the individual formula elements used in determining the probability value and the creation of comparison groups as a basis for the scorecards.
If your application for credit or an account is denied solely because of your credit score, you may protest that this value applies only to certain groups of people and does not reflect your personal financial situation or your behavior as a debtor.
Shufa calculates a separate score for each industry, such as the credit industry, mail order or telecommunications industry.
What is the so-called “Schufa-Klausel”?
If you want to take out a loan, buy a cell phone or lease a car in Germany, you will usually receive forms to sign that contain a “Schufa-Klausel”. By signing these you agree to your data being passed on to the Schufa.
In the past, there were many disputes about this clause. It had to be reinstated because the Federal Court prohibited the forwarding of data. From now on, data can only be passed on if the transmitting bank verifies the validity and justification of the specific individual transfer with careful consideration of the interests of both parties and, in addition, organizes the credit information system in such a way that the retained data offers as up-to-date an image as possible of your creditworthiness.
You do not have to agree to sign this clause and can delete it from the contract. The danger with this, however, is that you will not, for example, get a credit or a cell phone. If you delete this clause in your bank account agreement, you may find that some features of your account are excluded (e.g. overdraft, EC card, Eurocard or loyalty card).
What should you know about loans “without Schufa information” (ohne Schufa)?
Do not be fooled by lenders who offer you money in newspapers or on the internet without any information about your Schufa registration. These offers are usually not serious and not worthy of attention.
What data does Schufa collect?
Schufa collects in particular contact data (name, surname, date of birth, address and possibly other previous addresses). The data of persons living abroad are also collected. Furthermore, Schufa collects information on bank accounts, cell phone accounts, credit cards, leasing contracts, instalment payments as well as loans and guarantees.
In addition to this information, data is also collected that is in some way related to this information: for example, duration of the loan, payment interruptions or termination information. Furthermore, information is collected on whether a credit card has been revoked or whether the bank has closed an account.
In addition, Schufa also deals with data related to enforcement methods, namely: affidavits (formerly assurances with the power of promise), affidavit orders, opening of consumer bankruptcy proceedings or bankruptcy proceedings with the possibility of an arrangement, discharge from such proceedings due to lack of assets.
How long does Schufa keep the information collected?
Entries in Schufa must be deleted after a certain period of time. Data concerning inquiries (e.g. intention to open a bank account) after 12 months. This data is made available to the general public, but only for 10 days. Information on loans is retained until the end of the third calendar year after the year in which repayment was made in full. Guarantees are deleted as soon as the entire debt (credit) is paid off.
Data on business dealings that are not in accordance with the provisions of the contract are deleted only after three years from the settlement of claims. Information on current accounts and credit cards is deleted immediately when the customer closes the account. Data on shopper accounts is deleted after 3 years. Data regarding the debtor register from the district courts or orders to submit an affidavit are deleted after 3 years. If you prove to Schufa that the district court has already deleted the entry, then the data in Schufa can also be deleted ahead of time.
It is true that the Schufa should delete information after a certain period, but you should check this just in case. According to our information, there is often outdated data in the register.
Can I find out what data is collected about me?
You have the right to inspect the data that is collected about you (according to §§ 33ff. Bundesdatenschutzgesetz – Personal Data Protection Act) by applying for a credit report on your person. You should check your data in the Schufa once in a while to avoid surprises. At the latest, if you decide to take out a loan or make a hire purchase in Germany, for example, you should order a credit report from the Schufa.
Important: Only people with a German residence (address) can get information from the Schufa!
How can I get a free credit report from the Schufa?
The Schufa is obliged to provide interested persons with free information about the stored data once a year. To do so, please click on the link below and select “Datenkopie (nach Art. 15 DS-GVO)” from the menu on the left. You can select the form in English. Please remember not to mark “Alternative” on the form, because this will incur an additional fee!
If you need the information from Schufa more than once a year there are two options: order a one-time report for 29.95 Euro or a membership (Schufa compact) costing 3.95 Euro per month (plus a one-time 9.95 Euro activation fee) and lasting a minimum of one year (termination at least one month before the end of the contract period). Below we describe how to get both – first the one-time Schufa report and second the Schufa compact.
How do I request a one-time Schufa report?
To request a one-time Schufa report, you first go to the Schufa website and click on the “Jetzt bestellen” button:
Then enter your personal information and proceed to the next page of the form. Enter personal information, fields with an asterisk are mandatory fields. Under point 2., enter the code shown on the left:
Next (1.), enter your address information (2.). If you have a second home address in Germany, enter it in step three (3.). Under point 4., please enter your other addresses in Germany, including any previous addresses (“auch frühere Adresse”):
Finally, provide the bank account number (1.) from which the fee will be debited and your email address (2.). Under point 3. you will find information on data protection:
A one-time Schufa report costs €29.95.
What is Schufa compact and how do I register?
In order to have access to your data collected by Schufa at any time, you can register for the Schufa compact. To do this, please go to the following page and select the first package “meineSchufa kompakt” by clicking on the button “Jetzt bestellen”:
Then enter your personal (1.) and address information (2.). Under point 3., please enter your other addresses in Germany (“zweiter Wohnsitz”), including any previous addresses (“Sonstige, auch frühere Adressen”):
Next, you need to enter your bank account (1.) and login information 2. (3. username, 4. password, 5. repeat password). Under point 6., specify how you would like to be notified of any changes to your SCHUFA entry:
The penultimate step is a summary and an opportunity to correct if any of the information is incorrect:
The last step is to agree to the data processing (1.) and order information (2.). Finally, click on the button “Jetzt kostenpflichtig bestellen” to order your SCHUFA report:
What can you do if the Schufa data on you is incorrect?
As the experience of consumer advocates and lawyers shows, there are also errors in the Schufa database. In particular, previous residential addresses are sometimes outdated, and some entries are out of date. In such situations, you yourself must make an effort to have the data corrected or deleted. To do so, please contact Schufa and in accordance with Section 33ff. Data Protection Act to request the deletion, blocking or correction of erroneous data. It is important to defend yourself, because otherwise you may be considered a risky customer if the data contains errors.
If Schufa is unable to verify in a timely manner whether the information is correct or not, then it is blocked until the matter is resolved.
You may also (and this is a very reasonable solution) notify Schufa’s contractors in parallel to correct the data, as the one who caused the erroneous entry is obliged to cancel it and is also responsible for the consequences of the erroneous entry.