Every consumer knows the Credit Checker. But there are a number of other credit bureaus that are almost as important as the best-known German credit bureau. They play less of a role in the granting of bank loans, but more so when repayment purchase contracts, dealer loans, telecommunications contracts or online transactions are concluded.
Some banks and other companies are not limited to one credit bureau, but may even involve several credit bureaus depending on the type of business to be done. It is therefore not entirely unimportant for consumers to have heard at least in name of the largest credit bureaus in Germany.
In the following, we briefly introduce the most important credit bureaus, describe where they get their data from and what information they provide, and state how consumers get their own information.
We essentially limit ourselves to questions of interest to private individuals.
What is a credit bureau?
Credit bureaus are privately organized companies that deal with the collection, evaluation, and forwarding of data that may be relevant to economic life.
This is not only about information about payment behavior and about concluded contracts. Other data such as place of residence, age and civil status or profession can also be collected. As a rule, there are data sets about consumers as well as about companies and self-employed traders.
The data is supplied by partners of the credit bureaus from the business. Sometimes partners such as banks, telecommunications companies or dealers are co-owners of the credit reporting agency.
Some credit bureaus are not limited to different types of credit reports. Rather, the business area is significantly broader, even if business areas other than credit information are often organized in independent companies or in special departments under the umbrella of the credit reporting agency.
First of all, this includes debt collection and accounts receivable management. Some offer consumer marketing (analysis of market structures) and other marketing services such as direct marketing. Linking collection services in a broader sense and working as a credit bureau is particularly problematic because of the risk of data being passed through.
Which credit bureaus are there in Germany
Five major credit bureaus are important. There are also smaller companies, which hardly deal with direct credit information in the consumer area.
The services of various credit bureaus cover different needs. Credit Checker, for example, makes a particularly strong effort in the banking sector.
In the field of mobile communications, the focus is on the info score and bonus universe. These and Good Finance are also the favorites when it comes to online trading or dealer loans with smaller sums.
As far as can be seen, all credit agencies offer score values that are based on the industry for which they are in demand.
For example, a credit score is calculated differently than a telecommunications contract score. Sometimes scores are even offered without data on the payment behavior of a particular consumer.
E-Money Info score
E-Money Info score belongs to the Bertelsmann group. The credit agency has data from around 8 million consumers.
The data comes from partner companies such as banks or mail-order companies and from publicly accessible sources. Negative features are primarily collected.
E-Money also operates a collection department that makes claims for corporate customers, for example from the transport industry. E-Money Info score caused a stir a few years ago because the credit agency relied on scoring.
In fact, residential data seem to play a pretty big role in calculating the score.
According to the company, score values are calculated from address data, payment behavior in the indirect living environment, data from official statistics and registers, information about the age and gender of the consumer, and building data to assess the living situation.
Credit Checker is by far the best-known credit agency.
It has the most extensive data sets of over 65 million consumers. Virtually every consumer living in Germany is listed at Credit Checker.
The data comes from the almost 10,000 contractual partners (banks, trade, telecommunications).
Public directories are also evaluated. The Credit Checker stores both positive features and negative features.
A separate article on creditworthiness informs about which data is likely to be stored.
To determine score values for the different industries, the company combines individual data in the following categories:
- Discovered payment problems,
- Credit activity in the last year,
- Credit use,
- Length of credit history,
- Personal data and address data,
- Data on the living environment are rarely and only created at the request of the partners.
Regular self-disclosure is important
All credit bureaus ensure that their data records are largely error-free. Random tests cannot easily confirm this.
Undeleted negative data and incorrect personal data are not that rare. The consequences can be incorrect calculations of the score. Therefore, not only is regular self-disclosure in the interest of consumers, but incorrect data should definitely be corrected.
At Credit Checker and Good Credit, this also includes the addition of missing data, at least when it comes to positive features such as a properly managed checking account or a contractually operating loan.
If there are problems or if the contractual partner of the credit agency refuses to correct or delete the entry without authorization, an expert should be consulted with a consumer organization, for example.