Schufa has now opened shop for ordinary citizens. It is now possible for private individuals to obtain information about the financial position of companies, other individuals and themselves. The credit information service Schufa has been known to offer information about the credit worthiness of individuals to companies, landlords and banks. Consumer advocates accuse Schufa for not being transparent in the methods they use to get credit information about people. In a bid to clean its image, Schufa wants to immediately start by offering their services to private individuals. Schufa has come up with different prices for services they will be offering to private individuals.
28,50€ per request package
The product is ultimately designed exactly as the previous information about individuals – with the crucial difference that this time its for the citizens benefit. Interested individuals can now get financial information about companies listed in the commercial register of companies. Information covered by this package is:
- Information on previous payment behaviour
- Master data and information commercial register (depending on the legal form of the company )
- Industry information (Company profile, activity focus )
- Financial figures (sales , employees, capital , etc.)
- Officials and their linkages (Members Status , birthday , residence, links to other companies)
- Events of recent months (eg, change in management , shareholders )
- (If any) insolvency information
- Balance sheet information
According to Schufa the availability of this information is an interesting example for contracters who want to convince investors of their solvency, for small businesses who wish to assess their new business partners and for employees who are interested in knowing the economic strength of their new employer before they take on a new job.
By availing credit information to private customers Schufa seeks to assist its clients reduce the economic risk before getting into contracts thus avoid the costs and hassles in a possible insolvency of the counterparty. However, the Federal Data Protection Act will still be enforced and any request for information must be of a legitimate interest.
In addition Schufa offers other products for private customers, whose number has doubled in the past three years to 1.6 million. Their online portal meineschufa.de enables consumers to find out data about them that has been saved. This service costs a one off charge of €18.50. Clients who want a notification additional notifications regarding changes in their credit status pay ten euros a year for this service.
“Ident safe” package for 39,90€ p.a
In this package the customer receives assistance incase his name appears in unwanted internet sites. For example when a third party has stolen their identity and has used this stolen identity to make purchases online possibly damaging the credit worthiness of the individual concerned . The service includes an early warning system: a telephone helpline and the removal of those traces on the internet.
For 10€ per month Schufa offers a package called “webcodes”. This allows clients to access of their personal credit worthiness information quickly. It enables customers who urgently need to submit this information to a third parties of their choice about their own solvency or identity.
However critics say that Schufa hardly has any competition as they are very few alternatives for private customers in the market of information services. Schufa’s main competitor is the portal monetas.de that was launched in summer 2013 and it provides comprehensive information on the solvency of a company. This new portal is treading carefully in accessing whether it will get legitimate interest from the potential clients. A normal single request costs 10€ and 20€ for the comprehensive risk analysis of a company and clients who want more information would benefit more if they took out a package, which is cheaper than single requests.