The SCHUFA Holding AG (proper spelling SCHUFA , formerly SCHUFA e. V. protective association for general credit protection ) is a private-sector German credit agency in the legal form of a joint stock company with headquarters in Wiesbaden . The shareholders include banks, trading companies and other service providers. Its business purpose is to provide its contractual partners with information on the creditworthiness of third parties.
The Schufa has 943 million individual data on 67.9 million natural persons and 6 million companies. Schufa processes more than 165 million inquiries about creditworthiness every year. 2.7 million of this is information for consumers who want to view their data. It employs around 900 people (as of 2019). In 2019, sales amounted to € 212 million.
Tanja Birkholz has been the CEO since July 1, 2020. Christian Polenz has been Chairman of the Schufa Supervisory Board since July 2020.
In the 1920s, the Berliner Städtische Elektrizitäts-Aktiengesellschaft (BEWAG) sold household appliances financed in installments in addition to the main product electricity. At that time, the installment payments were paid together with the electricity bill and only regularly paying customers were supplied with electrical appliances. This created a system for assessing payment behavior.
Based on the experience gained in this way, the leading BEWAG employee Walter Meyer and his brother Kurt Meyer, a lawyer, together with Robert Kauffmann, the then managing director of BEWAG, founded the protection association for sales financing in Berlin in 1927 . As a result, 13 further regional Schufa companies were created throughout Germany. In 1952 the Federal Schufa e. V. founded by the 13 regional companies that re-established in West Germany after the Second World War.
In 2000 the Bundes-Schufa e. V. converted into Schufa Holding AG and in 2002 the shares of the eight regional companies were transferred to Schufa Holding AG. Its board of directors consists of three people, the supervisory board of nine people, three of whom are Schufa employees themselves. Schufa Holding AG is majority owned by banks.
Since 2004, Schufa has been offering not only information on individuals but also credit reports on companies in order to make business between companies more secure. In 2005 the Internet portal meineSCHUFA.de was published, so that one's own data can be viewed online, which companies have requested or reported data.
The SCHUFA consumer advisory council was founded in 2008. This consists of experts from companies, politics, science, institutions and associations. It serves to bring consumer topics to the SCHUFA and to discuss them across the board and independently. Since 2009, SCHUFA has offered a neutral arbitration procedure for consumers, the so-called SCHUFA ombudsman procedure.
In 2013 the educational initiative "W² WirtschaftsWerkstatt - Take your finances in hand" was founded, aimed at young people and young adults. First and foremost, it is about economic and financial issues. The SCHUFA-FraudPool started in 2014, which enables credit institutions to exchange information about cases of fraud.
On the initiative of the Berlin Consumer Protection Association, the Federal Court of Justice issued the “Schufa judgment” in 1985 (BGH judgment of September 19, 1985, see BGHZ 95, p. 362 ff.), According to which customer data may only be transmitted to the Schufa if the customers agree to the so-called "Schufa clause".
Since April 1, 2010, data transmission has been regulated in BDSG . According to this, personal data on a claim may only be transmitted if the claim has been established by judgment or an enforcement title according to ZPO exists, the claim is undisputed in the insolvency table , the debtor has expressly recognized the claim or if the person concerned was reminded at least twice in writing after the due date, there are at least four weeks between the first reminder and the notification to Schufa, the transmission of the data to Schufa was threatened in good time and the person concerned has not disputed the claim.
In addition to the data that is saved on the basis of the “Schufa clause”, Schufa stores information from public directories and official notices, such as the submission of an affidavit in the context of foreclosure under civil law . Due to the fact that this data is public, this is considered unobjectionable under data protection law. (8) of the Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) explicitly authorizes Schufa to save the existence of seizure protection accounts. Due to the acute abuse of this regulation by credit agencies and banks, the legislature had to improve this regulation. The credit bureaus are only allowed to use this information expressly to provide credit institutions with information on request as to whether the person concerned has another seizure protection account. The collection, processing and use for any other purpose is not permitted , even with the consent of the data subject.
Schufa only partially determines the data it has set itself - external systems such as the ZEK are included. As a rule, banks and other contractual partners deliver data about their customers to Schufa, for which the customer's consent is required. Schufa procures some data itself; For example, data from public sources, such as the debtor registers of the local courts . It is controversial whether this data can be digitized without the consent of the person concerned. On the one hand, the debtor directory is a public database. On the other hand, the placing of data from a court in a purely privately operated database and its digitization is criticized. The legislature had removed a corresponding permission in favor of credit agencies from a draft of the EU data protection directive, so that the digitization of this data can be viewed as inadmissible.
If consent has been given, Schufa stores name, date of birth, current and previous addresses as well as data on the establishment and contractual processing of business relationships ("positive features") as well as data on non-contractual behavior and judicial enforcement measures ("negative features").
The following data is saved:
- Surname, first name, date of birth, gender, (place of birth), (maiden name)
- current address, previous addresses (thus also "relocation behavior")
Type, subject matter and payment terms of the respective transaction
- Loan and leasing contracts with amount and duration
- Opening of accounts ( current account , garnishment protection account )
- credit cards issued
- Establishment of a telecommunications account (term contracts)
- Customer accounts in retail, mail order
Different payment behavior
- Claims that are due, adequately dunned and not disputed
- Demands for a court decision and its execution
Abuse of accounts / credit cards after prohibition of use
Information from public registers, official notices
- Submission of the affidavit (from the debtor register )
- Arrest warrant to submit the affidavit
- Application / opening of a private bankruptcy ( personal bankruptcy )
- Rejection, suspension of consumer insolvency proceedings due to lack of assets
- Industry inquiries
- Condition inquiries
The amount of income or the amount of the account balance are not saved.
Abbreviation for storing selected features in the Schufa
- GI: current account
- CC: credit card
- TK: telecommunications account
- SU: search order
- IA: filing for bankruptcy
- CA: Credit card in processing
- WS: contradiction
The following features are no longer registered or have been replaced by other features:
- VB: writ of execution
- ZW: foreclosure
- GK: Termination of current account
- SM: Credit card abuse
- LP: garnishment of wages
- EV: Affidavit
- HB: Arrest warrant
- SW: contradiction
Deletion of data
At SCHUFA, information is only stored for a certain period of time. The storage periods are as follows:
- After 12 months to the day:
- Inquiries for financial products (but will not be passed on after 10 days)
- After 3 years to the day:
- Loans paid off (after the year of repayment)
- Credit card accounts (after termination of the business relationship)
- Affidavits, arrest warrants for affidavits, information in accordance with Paragraph 1 No. 1–3 ZPO (earlier if the court can provide evidence of deletion)
- Rejection of consumer insolvency proceedings or suspension of proceedings due to lack of assets
- Refusal of discharge of residual debt
- After 3 full calendar years (at the end of December 31 of the third calendar year):
- Information on claims due (4 years if the matter is not resolved)
- Granting of the remaining debt discharge
- Repeal of consumer bankruptcy proceedings
- After 6 full years:
- Opening of consumer bankruptcy proceedings
- After 10 years to the day:
- Announcement of a discharge of residual debt (or if the discharge of residual debt is granted or refused)
Data relating to customer accounts, such as current accounts or telecommunications accounts, are deleted immediately after the account is closed.
For several years now, SCHUFA has been offering an exemption for small claims, whereby the following four points must be met:
- The claim was first reported after July 1, 2012
- The amount of the claim is less than 2,000 euros
- The claim was paid within 6 weeks (was sent to SCHUFA)
- It was not a titled claim (enforcement notice)
Accelerated deletion of data is also possible with an entry in the debtor directory according to § 882c Paragraph 1 No. 1 to 3 ZPO. A copy of the deletion notice must be sent by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt from the debtor to SCHUFA ( advisable after a sworn affidavit , as otherwise your own creditworthiness is almost zero).
In order to have incorrect or outdated data deleted, it is possible to contact the responsible office or the consumer service center. In addition, consumer advocates recommend contacting the contractual partner who reported the entry, such as the bank. Should the Schufa refuse to delete or correct the data, the ombudsman of the Schufa can act as an arbitrator or a lawyer. The ombudsman conducts a neutral review and then makes an arbitration decision.
The business partners of Schufa are divided into three categories:
- A contractual partners (credit card companies, credit institutions and leasing companies) receive positive and negative features.
- B contract partners (non-banks: retail, mail order, electronic retail , real estate , telecommunications and other companies that provide services and deliveries against credit) receive negative features. Schufa also provides risk management and customer care services for other companies, in particular insurance companies that can demonstrate a legitimate interest.
- F contract partners (debt collection agencies) receive address data (according to the Schufa press office, however, only from natural persons who had also consented to the Schufa clause when concluding a contract, i.e. as in all other cases).
The Internet auction house eBay has been using the Schufa data since March 2003, for example, to establish identity when opening new user accounts ; a suitable measure to protect against identity theft , since it is not possible to log in with data taken from the phone book, for example, by linking to the date of birth. In addition, the request is saved for one year exclusively for the consumer in his data record for control purposes. The Reemtsma and various auction houses and Freemail -Anbieter put an Adult Verification System , a Schufa.
Since November 1, 2005, Schufa has also been offering an age verification system, which has been approved and recognized by the Commission for Youth Media Protection. This means that there is no need for the time-consuming PostIdent procedure for purchasing products that may only be sold to adults (for example, high-percentage alcohol or DVDs that are not suitable for minors). These products are always delivered personally to those identified as adults. This is to prevent minors from receiving articles that are not allowed for them.
According to the company report (2014), Schufa has 9,000 corporate customers. In the credit industry, telecommunications, receivables management and the commercial real estate industry, Schufa holds market shares between 80% and almost 100%.
According to the Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG), every person has the right to information about the data stored about them by a company. There is also the right to have incorrect data corrected. Every citizen can apply in writing for a free data overview in accordance with Federal Data Protection Act once a year, or several times a year if there is a legitimate interest. In addition, Schufa offers the option of viewing your own data for a fee - on the one hand permanently via the online portal meineschufa.de and on the other hand via the written product “credit report”.
You can access the meineschufa.de online portal via one of the three service packages: MeineSCHUFA compact for € 3.95, MeineSCHUFA plus for € 4.95 and MeineSCHUFA premium for € 6.95 per month. In addition to the possibility of viewing your own information, the basic functions of the packages include automatic notification by email and / or SMS about changes or queries to the data by contractual partners of Schufa. In addition, your own base score can be set in the personal area of the portal can be viewed. Schufa charges a one-time registration fee of € 9.95 to register with meineschufa.de.
The written credit report can be ordered online via meineschufa.de, by telephone or in writing. It costs € 29.95 and contains two documents: conclusive information for third parties (such as landlords or employers) and extensive information for personal information.
If the person making the application should notice incorrect data, they can contact the Schufa service center. A report in August 2010 that a third of the 450,000 inquiring consumers had found errors in their own data at Schufa turned out to be a false report.
After receiving the written copy of the stored personal data, an electronic copy of this data (in accordance with Art. 15 GDPR ) can be called up at electronic-datenkopie.de .
Schufa also offers its contractual partners a score value. This is a value from 1 to 100, which is assigned to the respective consumer and indicates an estimate of the probability that a loan will be serviced. The lower the value, the higher the Schufa estimates the probability of failure. According to Schufa, the score value depends on the purpose for which it is requested - for example, insurance companies receive different score values than mobile phone providers. The number of changes of residence and the number of bank accounts are included in the score values.
The exact scoring procedure is under lock and key. It is supposedly based on a logistic regression model that models the probability of occurrence of a random event with two possible outcomes. For the 2001 procedure, around 6.7 million anonymized data records were evaluated over a period of 15 months.
The base score is given in percent in the self-report and recalculated every three months. It is between 0% and 100%, with high values being better and 100% being a purely theoretical value.
According to a study by the BMELV from 2009, in a sample of 100 people, the base score for people in insolvency proceedings was typically 5%, and 29% for those in bankruptcy proceedings with discharge of residual debt. In this study there was no base score for four people, nine had a base score below 89%, 60 people had a base score between 89% and 99% and 27 people had a base score of over 99%.
The industry scores are calculated on a daily basis. Industry scores were introduced in 1997 and revised in 2001 ("Version 1.0") and 2008 ("Version 2.0"). In the meantime, all industry scores have been updated to version 3.0. There are the following types:
- Schufa score for banks 3.0
- Schufa score for savings banks 3.0
- Schufa score for cooperative banks 3.0
- Schufa score for the mortgage business, version 3.0
- Schufa score for retail, version 3.0
- Schufa score for mail order & eCommerce 3.0
- Schufa score for telecommunications companies, version 3.0
- Schufa score for testing freelancers 3.0
- Schufa score for testing small businesses 3.0
The following information is given for each:
- "Score value" between 0 and 1,000 in version 1.0 or between 0 and 9,999 in version 2.0, with larger values being better,
- "Ranking level" from A to P, where A is the best level,
- “Probability of fulfillment” between 0% and 100%, with 100% being the best.
The determination and transfer of score values can be contradicted in writing to the Schufa.
Since April 1, 2010, consumers have been able to receive information on historical probability values - that is, Schufa scores that have been sent to Schufa contractual partners within the past 12 months - as well as the current industry scores in accordance with payment defaults ”, “credit usage”, “credit activity last year”, “length of credit history”, “general data” and “address data” (mostly not used) are provided in accordance with the legal requirements the overall meaning of the score is given. The calculation method that leads to the scores is not specified.(4) BDSG. In order to explain the creation of the score values, individual evaluations in the six data types “previous
The police, tax investigators and enforcement authorities can also access the Schufa data.AO is a sufficient legal basis for requests for information .
As part of its B2B portfolio, Schufa u. a. with the products full report, compact report and brief report information about the creditworthiness of companies. It provides information about companies registered in the commercial register as well as about small businesses and freelancers.
Shares and holdings
The shares in the company are distributed as follows:
- 34.7% credit banks
- 26.4% savings banks
- 17.9% private banks
- 7.9% cooperative banks
- 13.1% trade and others
Schufa Holding AG holds shares in the following companies:
- fpn fraud prevention Network GmbH: 100.0%
- CS Connect GmbH & Co. KG: 50%
- CS Connect Verwaltung GmbH: 50%
- Bad Homburg Debt Collection (BHI): 25.1%
Legitimation of inquiries
Inadmissible compliance queries from Schufa data e.g. B. by an acquaintance employed by a Schufa contractual partner cannot be reliably prevented. In its 24th activity report, the Independent State Center for Data Protection Schleswig-Holstein reports on a case in which a businessman ultimately received unauthorized Schufa data from a housing management company, which is a contractual partner of Schufa.
The calculation of the score value is not disclosed by the Schufa and is therefore opaque to outsiders. Up until 2001, obtaining personal information was included in the scoring as a negative feature; After massive protests, the Schufa stopped this practice. Every consumer can prohibit the transfer of scores to his person at Schufa. It is unclear whether this application will have a negative impact on a later credit decision . Since the beginning of 2007, your own base score value has been shown in percentages in your own information (online) and is recalculated every quarter. However, the industry-specific score value, such as B. the bank score in credit decision processes and account openings.
Criticism was that obtaining credit offers was included in the scoring as an extremely negative feature when the credit institution gave the request reason “request credit” instead of “request credit condition” in the Schufa request. This practice is now forbidden by the new regulation in § 28a Abs. 2, S. 4 BDSG : It “is made clear that data on behavior of the person concerned, which (within the framework of a pre-contractual relationship of trust) serve to create market transparency, even with the consent of the Affected persons may not be transmitted to credit agencies for future transmission (sentence 4). In the past z. B. Inquiries from those concerned about credit conditions at various banks for information gathering equated with repeated credit inquiries aimed at a specific contract conclusion, registered with credit agencies and taken into account negatively in the so-called score calculation. This assessment contradicts the demand for market transparency and the model of a responsible customer who decides for or against a contract on the basis of several comparable offers. According to the proposed new regulation, the transmission of data via inquiries about credit conditions to obtain information in the database of a credit agency is not permitted. "
According to Schufa in 2016, social scoring, in which information from social media , e.g. B. Facebook , are not used after criticism in this regard. Data on the residential area ( geoscoring ) are also not used in 99.7 percent of all calculations. Whether someone lives in a “good” or “bad” residential area does not affect the respective credit rating.
On November 1, 2011, Schufa Holding AG was sentenced by the Berlin Regional Court to disclose the details of the calculation of the credit default probability and the scoring process (LG Berlin, judgment of November 1, 2011 - 6 O 479/10).
In its judgment of December 1, 2011 (8 O 100/11), the Wiesbaden Regional Court was of the opinion that there was no further right to information, since the Schufas would be opposed to confidentiality worthy of confidentiality.
On January 28, 2014, the BGH (AZ VI ZR 156/13) also confirmed a ruling by the Giessen Regional Court , according to which the scope of information in the Schufa information on the score meets the requirements of the BDSG and the exact score calculation can be regarded as a business secret . The Hessian data protection officer responsible for the supervision of the Hesse-based Schufa welcomed this judgment, which confirms the Hessian supervisory practice. Due to the extensive general information on score values and the data types that convey the respective processed data in the information provided, the score procedure is sufficiently transparent for those affected.
In view of the company's efforts to open up new business areas in the housing industry, insurance industry and debt collection company, the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and some state commissioners for data protection warned in a joint press release (May 15, 2003) that the Schufa would develop into a private sector Central file . According to the press release, every additional data source “leads to a more detailed personality profile of the person concerned.” The transparent citizen would become a reality.
Numerous cases have been reported in which e.g. B. Telecommunications companies threatened their customers with a Schufa entry and then made this if these customers terminated the contract due to lack of services. In the case of contradicted claims, according to Criminal charges against the reporting company for defamation according to StGB are regularly discontinued by the public prosecutor's offices on the grounds that the perpetrator - the individual person in the company - can hardly be identified. The requirement that Schufa should also operate a quality management system towards the reporting companies has not yet been met.Paragraph 1, Sentence 1 No. 4 lit. d) BDSG no data transmission and no entry is made according to the Schufa guidelines, but Schufa does not check this itself. If the person concerned proves the objection to Schufa, preferably via a lawyer, then the company deletes the entry - the reputation damage but may remain.
In 2009, the Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection carried out a study on the error rates of various credit agencies and found that Schufa has a very high error rate. The Stiftung Warentest has for her magazine Finance test carried out in 2003 a study and found that a lot of data (69%), out of date or incomplete were wrong. In 2010 the foundation came to the result after its own random sample that 1% of the Schufa data was wrong, 8% out of date and 28% missing data. In 2012, the Schufa admitted that the business model of the Schufa was based on the principle of reciprocity, so that Schufa contractual partners should report updated data to the Schufa according to the contract.
According to Schufa-Kredit-Kompass 2018, however, 90.6 percent of consumers only have positive information.
On June 5, 2012, Schufa AG announced that, together with the Hasso Plattner Institute , they wanted to research private and professional social networks , especially Facebook , and other online services as a source for assessing the creditworthiness of consumers. This approach has been criticized by consumer advocates and politicians because of the border crossing in the recording and collection of protected personal data. Due to the extensive criticism, the Hasso Plattner Institute terminated the contract on June 8, 2012.
In 2018, the organizations AlgorithmWatch and Open Knowledge Foundation Germany founded the " OpenSCHUFA " initiative to decrypt Schufa algorithms using data from private individuals and reverse engineering . The Schufa competitor Arvato is part of the Bertelsmann Group. The Bertelsmann Foundation is one of the financial supporters of the AlgorithmWatch organization, which is jointly responsible for the OpenSchufa project. SpiegelOnline and Bayerischer Rundfunk evaluated the organizations' data set and reported, among other things, that people also had bad scores at Schufa who had no negative features such as payment default. Age, gender, and the number of moves affected the score. Young men are often worse off.
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