Karlsruhe – The economic information file Schufa does not need to educate consumers on how to accurately calculate their creditworthiness. Statements that allow conclusions to Schufa’s calculation formulas are part of the trade secret and need not be communicated, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled in a verdict announced on Tuesday. (Az: VI ZR 156/13)


Picture: Schufa

The plaintiff in the main proceedings had wanted to buy a car and finance it through a loan from BMW’s house bank. This succeeded but because of initially proven false Schufa information only in the third attempt. Therefore, she wanted to know fundamentally about the data transmitted by the Schufa beyond her so-called score value, how this value came about.

The plaintiff relied on the Data Protection Act. It states that information files must explain to the persons affected “the formation and significance of the probability values ​​on a case-by-case basis and comprehensibly in a generally understandable form”.

According to the judgment, however, this duty to inform is limited by the trade secret of Schufa, which is also protected under EU law, and the organization is therefore not required to give details of how it weighs the underlying values ​​in detail.

According to the judgment, the Schufa only has to provide information about which personal and credit-relevant data have been stored with it and included in the calculation of the probability values. This information was given by the Schufa. In addition, the applicant was informed of the data transmitted to third parties in the last 12 months, of the probabilities currently calculated and of the data used to calculate the probabilities.

According to its attorney, Schufa annually provides some 680,000 information to banks, online retailers or other companies about the creditworthiness of consumers. For this purpose, the Schufa claims to use a stock of over 66 million records, which it gets from business partners such as financial institutions, insurance or telecommunications companies.