Sometimes it’s not easy to keep an eye on your personal finances. Especially if you are starting new in Germany or you just landed here. You will have multiple contracts, at least one current account, a credit card, perhaps a loan, an account at Amazon, your utility bills etc.
When you signed these contracts, you would have also signed a clause which said that the data will be transmitted to a company called SCHUFA. SCHUFA is one of two major companies in Germany which check credit worthiness of individuals and companies. According to article 15 GDPR, you are allowed to retrieve a copy of your personal data each company stores of you, including SCHUFA.
Who is Schufa and which kind of data do they store?
Schufa is a company which earns its money by providing interested parties /affiliates with information about the creditworthiness and credit scores of business partners. This can be private people but also commercial entities / businesses. Let’s say you are applying for a loan from a bank, the bank would check your data at Schufa to see whether you have already defaulted a couple of loans or are behind your payments. If true for holding only has positive information about you, then the loan would be granted. Apart from loans, Schufa is checked as soon as you pay anything on installments, or are trying to get into a contract e.g.with the phone company.
Based on your payment performance for past contracts and unknown algorithms to the public Schufa calculates a credit worthiness score- the credit score.
Request SCHUFA information for free
Although SCHUFA stores a lot of data only a few data points are passed on to the business partners if they request them. Schufa will hand out data based on the requirement. For everyone who asks, Schufa provides a copy according to article 15 GDPR, they will provide a free Schufa report where you can check which banks score you in which manner and which data is stored at Schufa
If you are planning to buy a home or in apartment you should check the Schufa report in order to see if they have correct data off you because the home loan will be granted / interest rates might change depending upon schufa score.
you can also get data changed there for the good if you see any wrong data points in the report.
Free SCHUFA information will have following information
All personal data stored at SCHUFA (e.g name, current address, date of birth, previous addresses, etc.)
The base score (assessment of the risk of default)
All transmitted score values (industry scores) of the last twelve months (each bank, might have a different score, which should not worry you – they just have different experience with you as a client and also have different algorithms to calculate the score)
Free report vs. paid SCHUFA report
There are multiple options to get data which is stored at shufa all depending upon the occasion which you need it for.
Free report according to article 15 GDPR
The free report is primarily intended for personal use. It is not recommended to pass this report to others as the data might be misused. You can obtain the report annually which will be sent by post to your current address (which is stored at SCHUFA as well).
There is a report available which is meant to be shown to potential landlords. If there is only positive information stored about you at SCHUFA he knows that you are at least somebody who does not default on payments.
Another option to check your school SCHUFA score is to opt for a subscription service in which you will have online access to your data at all points of time. currently Schufa asks you to sign a one year subscription with them. Which has a one-time activation charge and a monthly fee.
Request SCHUFA free of charge – how do you get the free report?
To request a copy of your free Schufa report you need to go to the website www.schufa.de and click on the “Produkte” tab. You’ll see a point called “Datenkopie nach Art. 15 DS-GVO”. That’s the one you are looking for. Don’t fall for the trap to get the paid one. Choose “Datenkopie nach Art. 15 DS-GVO” here as well and “order”
They will then ask you to fill a form with couple of info, so they can identify you:
- First name, last name
- Date of birth
- Street and house number
- Zip code and city
These are the mandatory fields. Others are optional.
You will then need to upload a copy of your ID or passport and your . The upload is mandatory because otherwise you could ask for a report for someone else. Please ensure that your passport is readable in the digital copy because otherwise SCHUFA will not be sending you the report. After uploading it is going to take about 7 to 10 days for sure to send you the report to your postal address.
Need an expert to guide you through?
Getting your credit score straightened out is of utmost importance before financing your dream home.
Let an expert guide you through the full process of financing - incl. getting Schufa straight