Credit check in Germany

What is SCHUFA? What information is stored in the database. How to delete information from SHUFA and when they will be deleted by themselves.

The moment when an immigrant in Germany is faced with the strange acronym SCHUFA comes quickly. Neither the conclusion of a contract for the telephone and the Internet, nor the issuance of a loan, nor the opening of a current account can do without a request to this organization. And in the last couple of years, even renting a home without showing a confirmation of the tenant’s financial solvency through the “shufa” is not enough.

What is SCHUFA

Schutzgemeinschaft für allgemeine Kreditsicherung – this is what lies behind the acronym. Translation: Society for the Protection of Credit Quality. In fact, it is a credit bureau that collects information about the inhabitants of Germany. The organization evaluates the stored data about a specific person and tries to draw a conclusion about the creditworthiness. When a bank or firm enters into a contract with a new client, a request is sent to SCHUFA. This makes it easier to understand whether it is worth trusting a person.

If the information about a potential client is negative, then the likelihood of refusal to issue a loan, conclude a contract or provide other services will be high.

Therefore, a “schufa” in Germany is the most important thing!

How SCHUFA receives data

For 2017, “shufa” stores 800 million records for 5 million companies and 66 million people. 10% of the information is negative.

The organization does not collect data on its own. They are transferred by 9,000 partners, including banks, leasing companies, telecommunications firms, online stores. And the most interesting thing is that information is transmitted only with the consent of clients. True, they are not exactly unaware of this … They just do not pay attention.

When a person opens an account in Germany or gets himself a new SIM card, he signs a contract. The contract usually contains “SCHUFA-Klausel” – the condition that the history of the fulfillment of agreements will become a separate record in the “shufa” database. Alternatively, the transmission of customer bona fide information is governed by AGB – General Conditions of Contract.

Typical situations when the client data is updated in SCHUFA:

  • opening a current account in Germany,
  • obtaining a German credit card,
  • applying to the bank for a loan, obtaining a loan in any form,
  • car leasing,
  • mobile phone contract,
  • contract for the supply of electricity .

What data does SCHUFA store

In addition to personal data – name, surname, address, date of birth – requests for loans, the duration of contracts, information on late payments, early termination of the contract, closure of a current account, and the like are stored in the “shufa” database.

During the first couple of years of living in Germany, a migrant leaves dozens of financial “traces”. And, worst of all, out of ignorance or because of overlays, these traces do not say anything good about him. A person comes to the bank for a mortgage , and he is offered a loan at an interest higher than the average, or is refused. They say that “bad shufa”, period. And not because they want to hide the reason for the refusal, but because they have no other information. SCHUFA, in response to a request for a person, simply sends a number from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the more likely that person will fulfill the terms of the contract.

number Risk of non-compliance with the terms of the contract
> 97.5% Minimum
95% – 97.5% Permissible
90% – 95% Between acceptable risk and high
80% – 90% Tall
50% – 80% Very tall
<50% Critical

Items in the database appear as a result of the analysis of statistical information about a person. The conclusion of contracts, the opening of accounts and the presence of debts are regarded as “positive” data. They dealt with a person, saw, estimated the income and made an agreement – that’s great! But the delay in payments, early termination of the contract, refusal from the already received loan are regarded as “negative” entries.

Migrants often have misunderstandings. Moved from the hotel to a rented apartment without notifying the telephone company. They sent the bill to the old address, no one paid – get a negative entry. After a couple of weeks, the patch became clear, the bill was paid, but only SCHUFA remembered everything for 2-3 years.

Or the first time a migrant came to a bank to open a bank account, and he already has a “bad shufa”. Because housing was found cheaper in an area where, according to statistics, a large number of people with a negative credit history live. Since there is no other data about the person, the geographical location will also work.

But there is good news as well. SCHUFA does not store data permanently. Each type of record receives a certain retention period, and after this period the information is deleted and no longer affects the credit rating.

Type of information Removal period
Debt information 3 years after full payment
Loan request 12 months after request
Request for loan conditions 12 months after request
Current account or credit card Immediately after closing the account
Requests from other companies for information about a person’s creditworthiness 12 months after request
Violation of the terms of the contract, for example, a missed payment 3 years plus the period until 31.12. If the debt is not repaid – 4 years plus the time until 31.12. During legal proceedings, information may be stored further
Data on the presence of debts from the departmental court (when filing bankruptcy) 3 years, or earlier if you send a court confirmation of the payment of debts
Online store account 3 years
Sureties for the debts of other persons After paying off the debt
Undeniably Wrong Information Can be removed if asked

How to get or change information in SCHUFA

Once a year, residents of Germany have the legal right to obtain personal data free of charge. To do this, you must fill out, sign and send a special form published on the official website of the organization.

The answer includes confidential information: loan terms, contracts, stability of payments, and so on. Therefore, using this method to provide credit data to third parties is at least unreasonable.

In the case of issuing loans, concluding contracts and other similar financial matters, you do not need to order a report from the “Shuf” yourself. This will be done by a bank or company, through its own channels and at its own expense.

If it is found that the information in the SCHUFA database contains incorrect data, a request for deletion is sent by letter to the address

SCHUFA Holding AG

Privatkunden ServiceCenter

Postfach 103441

50474 Köln

The letter will need to provide evidence of the incorrectness of the data, attach copies of the relevant documents. In disputable cases, you will have to contact the Ombudsman at

SCHUFA Ombudsmann

Postfach 5280

65042 Wiesbaden

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Igor Smith/ author of the article
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