Schufa deletes debtor data: around 250,000 entries deleted

Data about a personal bankruptcy was previously stored for three years. The Schufa now shortens the period to six months.

The Schufa logo is attached to a wall of the company headquarters in Wiesbaden

Restricted collecting frenzy: Schufa has deleted around 250,000 entries about debtors Photo: Andreas Arnold/dpa

WIESBADEN dpa | According to its own statements, Schufa has deleted the entries of around 250,000 consumers who have gone through personal bankruptcy. Against the background of ongoing legal proceedings, the credit agency had announced that it would shorten the storage period for entries from three years to six months. The project has now been implemented, as Schufa announced at the request of the German Press Agency.

“For most of the 250,000 consumers, the shortening of the storage period improves their creditworthiness,” said Schufa board member Ole Schröder. A good credit rating (creditworthiness) can be important for the conclusion of leases, but also for other contracts.

Consumer bankruptcy allows private individuals to free themselves from their debts, even if they cannot repay everything. At the end there is the so-called residual debt exemption. Information about this will be published on an official internet portal for six months. The Schufa and other credit bureaus collect these notices and store them for three years. The courts are debating whether this is still permissible. Because since May 2018 a new data protection law has been in force in the European Union.

Against this background, Schufa had announced that it would shorten the storage period and implement this by the end of April. In the future, the information on a residual debt exemption will be automatically deleted after six months, according to the Schufa. Only new debts that were not waived by the residual debt exemption remained.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) are currently dealing with the question of the storage period. The BGH would like to wait for clarification from the ECJ.

In mid-March, the responsible General Advocate of the ECJ was very critical of the previous practice in two Schufa cases from Germany: The discharge of residual debt should enable those affected to participate in economic life again – but this is thwarted by the long storage. The ECJ judges often agree with the Advocate General’s assessment.

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