What is a credit report on a company?

A credit report includes information on the credit rating of individuals or companies. Professional agencies, such as infoscore Consumer Data GmbH, collect this information and combine it into a comprehensive credit report. If there is a justified interest, the credit report about a consumer is forwarded to partner companies. The credit report is designed to help companies reduce their business risks by enabling them to assess their customers' credit rating before any transaction is concluded with them. Based on the credit report, companies can decide whether, and under which conditions, they want to conclude a transaction.


Credit reports lower the risks of credit transactions

By its nature, a credit transaction involves risk. And it is not only banks that are involved in credit transactions. In addition to normal bank loans, all other transactions in which one partner provides a service in advance are also classified as credit transactions. For example, if a company delivers goods or provides services on account and the goods/services are only paid afterwards, this process is also classified as a credit transaction, since the customer might fail to make payment after the service has been performed. Mail-order companies usually hedge against this risk by obtaining a credit report. By providing their information service, the credit agencies fulfil an important function within the economy and contribute to price stability and security. Moreover, depending on the type of inquiry, credit agencies also forward suitably detailed credit reports.

What information is included in a credit report?

The data used by a credit agency for their credit report differ from service provider to service provider. In addition to general data, such as name, address and date of birth, the agencies collect information regarding credit rating. To this end, they use various publicly accessible sources. Next to information from affiliated companies, this involves e.g. the debtors' lists kept by local courts. Principally, data regarding negative - i.e. non-compliant-payment - history from convenience goods purchases (such as banking or mail-order businesses) are compiled.

Credit report only in case of justified interest

Justified interest is a term which plays a role in various fields of German legislation. The provision under section 29 of the German Federal Data Protection Act applies to credit reports. This is intended to prevent unauthorised parties from accessing consumer data. Under this provision, credit agencies may only forward personal data to their customers if these have a justified interest they can credibly demonstrate. For example, an order on account via an Internet platform can form the basis for a justified interest in a credit report. The consumer has initiated a specific transaction with his/her order under which the company has to deliver before payment, i.e. it has to accept a certain level of risk. This situation counts among those justifying an interest in the consumer's payment history, i.e. in a credit report.

What about my own credit rating? Credit reports regarding yourself

Many consumers are interested in finding out what data about them are forwarded by credit agencies, such as infoscore Consumer Data GmbH, in the framework of a credit report. Therefore, infoscore Consumer Data GmbH offers consumers the option of obtaining a self-report regarding the information stored about them. In this context, the enquirer can also find out which credit report - e.g. which specific score - was forwarded to a company regarding him/her. One self-report per year is free.

If you wish to know what your personal credit report is, you have to request one in writing. For reasons of data protection, phone information as to the credit report is not possible. An enquiry via e-mail is also not sufficiently secure. Your request should include your full name, including name at birth, date of birth and the current address. Moreover, the scope of the self-report is expanded if you also include all addresses under which you were registered in the past five years. A copy of the ID card is only required if the identity of the enquirer cannot be established with absolute certainty otherwise.