Onward with paperwork…a SCHUFA is a very detailed credit record much like those advertised by Experian in the UK.
Your SCHUFA will reflect your financial history and standing. That fine you left hoping it might go away or that unpaid bill may rear its ugly head on your SCHUFA.
It’s an important document that’s for sure and it will be one you’ll undoubtably need.
Much like the UK your credit history will be checked when taking out such post pay contracts such as one for a mobile phone or further down the line when you’d like credit from a bank.
Nowadays you’ll almost certainly need to hand it over to prospective landlords also.
How do I get my SCHUFA?
To get your credit report (SCHUFA Auskunft) you have a few options and it’s somewhat straight forward.
Legally you are entitled to one free report a year. There are lots of third parties and even SCHUFA Holding AG offering paid subscriptions for your credit records and much more.
To get your free report directly from the company responsible for holding credit records (SCHUFA Holding AG) you’ll need to head over to their website.
They have the request form in multiple languages here, English included.
*Make sure you don’t check the box “Alternative” this will start a subscription.*
You’ll need to print and post the form to SCHUFA Holding AG along with your passport and registration document if you’re a foreign national.
Mine took around 10 days to show up, if you’re in a rush you can head over to Postbank.
There you can obtain in branch with your ID and registration document a print out of your SCHUFA. This will leave you 24.95€ lighter in the pocket and this sum must be paid from a German bank account.
Now you’ll be able to see all of the agencies and companies that have left a mark on your SCHUFA.
Your score is given as a percentage. The whole point of your SCHUFA is to show to those who request it your ability to pay debt.
A sparkly fresh SCHUFA will carry 100% this reduced with bad debts and may also be reduced in proportion with how bad the debt is.
92% plus is a nice SCUFA score, drop a few points down to 85% like my friend and landlords won’t be thrilled.
If you’ve never had financial dealings in Germany apart from opening a basic bank account then don’t worry if your SCUFA informs you that they have no entires on your record.
Good debt can be beneficial for your record. Having credit and repaying it within the terms shows that you are perhaps responsible with finances.
SCHUFA does not take into account your income so even if your pull in serious cheddar every month don’t expect a sterling SCUFA if your financial history in Germany is otherwise iffy.
Leaving fines and over paid bills to blight your postbox and SCUFA will make things difficult in the future.
They will be visible on your record for 3 years but will show in some capacity for 6 years.
Treat the SCUFA with the respect that this potentially dangerous beast deserves for your benefit.