SCHUFA stands for: “Schutzorganisation für Allgemeine Kreditsicherung”, a sort of “organization for general credit safety”. Will you remember that?
Not to worry, luckily we have experts like Elisa Stella, Founder of Düsseldorf Expat Assistant, to give us all the helpful tips we need to get our lives started in Germany.
The SCHUFA Holding AG is actually a private company tracking and keeping credit records in Germany: as soon as you register your residence (Anmeldung) or open a bank account, your personal record will start following you in many aspects of daily life.
- Looking for a flat to rent? You need to show a SCHUFA certification.
- Applying for a loan? Buying a new car by installments? You need to show a SCHUFA certification.
- Getting the landline from Deutsche Telekom? They´ll check your SCHUFA!
The more debt you have, the more bills or fines you don’t pay punctually, the lower your score will be. If you have anything below a 90%, it will be hard to recover. Moreover, it takes between 3 to 6 years after you resolved your unpaid bills to recover your SCHUFA record.
…and don’t think those debts won’t follow you after leaving Germany!
It’s definitely wise to keep your Schufa clean, in order to show you’re able to pay your bills and that you can be trusted as a customer and/or tenant.
Given your SCHUFA record is clean, let’s see how to get a SCHUFA-Auskunft free of charge (for instance to convince a landlord that you are a suitable tenant for his property).
- Click on the Union Jack on the SCHUFA website
- Download the PDF form and print it
- Fill it in properly, which means in a tidy, complete and precise way
- Tick off the field “Current scores Please tick if you would like to receive your current scores.”
- DO NOT TICK OFF “Order Credit Report € 29,95”
- Provide a copy of your passport or ID-Card
- Provide a Meldebescheinigung (confirmation of your residence, no older than three months / not the Anmeldung if the Anmeldung is older than three months)
- Put the filled form, the copy of your passport, and the Meldebescheinigung in an envelope, stamp it and write your name and address as sender
- Send all by post to SCHUFA Holding AG – Postfach 10 25 66 – 44725 Bochum, Germany
- Be patient, you´ll get all details per post – usually in 2-3 of weeks.
Everybody can get his Schufa-Auskunft free of charge once a year, so create multiple copies of it and use them whenever you need them during the year.
This will hopefully make your life in Germany a bit easier; a clean SCHUFA is a very reassuring cue to manage daily issues with a clear conscience.
Have any other questions about SCHUFA or expat services? Ask Elisa! Do you have questions about living #LifeInDüsseldorf? Feel free to send us an email with your question at email@example.com. If you have tips you’d like to share with others, we’re also accepting guest posts which include the author’s name, bio, and photo.