How do I know if I'm on the blacklist

Black lists: "Unfortunately you are not creditworthy"

Those who end up on a black list often do not receive a delivery against invoice and no mobile phone contract. What do you do in this case?

Vienna. Let's assume you sign a mobile phone contract with a mobile operator - and you want to take this opportunity to take your new free mobile phone home with you. Or you buy a computer and want to pay it off in installments. The seller enters your name into the computer and checks your creditworthiness.

In the best case scenario, you can then conclude the contract. In the worst case scenario, you will be told that your credit rating is insufficient and you will not get the cell phone or the loan. But where did the seller look there? And what can you do in such a case?

The seller has obtained information from a creditworthiness database that is created by business information services. Their customers are banks, insurance companies, leasing companies, mail order companies and mobile operators.

The probability that you will appear in such a database is not that low: According to estimates, there are more than two million entries in the consumer credit records of banks.

 

Deletion after five years

Everyone who has taken out a loan is recorded - whether he pays on time or not. This is to avoid someone taking out loans from several banks at the same time without them knowing about it. The database contains names, previous names, addresses, loan amounts - and any payment problems.

When the loan is paid, the entry disappears after three months at the latest, says Hans-Georg Kantner from the Kreditschutzverband von 1870 (KSV), who manages the lists. Unless you don't pay on time and receive a reminder: Then the entry can remain for five years until it is fully repaid. If you get rid of the debt in any other way (such as personal bankruptcy), the entry will be deleted after seven years.

The situation is similar with the banks' warning lists. This only contains the problem cases: late payers, notorious bank overdrafts, unlawful users of credit or debit cards. Here you will be deleted after three years if you have paid the debt, or after seven years if you have reached another agreement.

If you cannot get a loan from a bank due to a lack of creditworthiness and cannot explain this, you should apply for a self-assessment from the credit information services and have incorrect data corrected. This is what Hans Zeger from the data consortium advises.

Once a year you can request information about your own data free of charge. There are 13 credit agencies in Austria; KSV and Deltavista are relevant for private individuals. Forms are available on the Arge Daten homepage (www.argedaten.at).

You can then ask the bank to delete incorrect data. In extreme cases, you can also demand compensation. If the negative information is correct, you cannot have your entry deleted. Because the lists are not publicly available, but belong to the banking sector.

The situation is different with lists that credit protectors keep for all customers, such as the KSV's commercial credit register. You can access this if, for example, you pay your mobile phone bill or mail order delivery late, incompletely or not at all. You can also delete yourself from such a list if the data is correct.

The opinions of data protectionists and creditors' advocates differ on whether this should be done. KSV expert Kantner advises not to do it. This does not improve creditworthiness: "If you can be deleted, you cannot be found either."

Then you will also be deleted from the general personal database, in which the KSV records all names from the register of residents. If you don't even appear there, the suspicion is that you have had yourself deleted - and you certainly don't get any credit.

 

Better to talk to banks

Zeger, on the other hand, criticizes the fact that there is no legal regulation according to which criteria data get into creditworthiness databases. That is often pure coincidence. Sometimes arrears of 50 cents were enough to get on a list and lose creditworthiness.

In such cases, deletion could be very useful. Kantner, however, points out that the companies can see the amount of outstanding debts and draw their conclusions from it. He advises defaulting debtors to contact the bank or the mobile phone company straight away.

If you appear in a creditworthiness database and cannot pay, it is of little use to hide. Then you should rather seek a personal bankruptcy.

What you should consider with ... creditworthiness databases

If the mail order company does not want to deliver on open account or if you do not receive the cheap mobile phone contract, a negative entry in a creditworthiness database can be the reason. How to find out about it and what to do then.

Tip 1

Self-disclosure. Once a year you can apply for a self-assessment from the credit reporting services free of charge. So you can find out whether there is an entry for your own creditworthiness and what this includes. Although there are more than ten creditor protectors in Austria, the KSV? 1870 and Deltavista are particularly relevant for private individuals.

Tip 2

Check data. Incorrect or outdated information (if a loan has been repaid three months ago or a payment delay was more than five years ago) can be deleted. Forms for requests for information or deletion are available on the Arge Daten homepage (www.argedaten.at). Correct data can only be deleted to a limited extent:

Tip 3

Clear. In publicly accessible databases (for example those who run credit agencies for cell phone companies, mail order companies, etc.), correct but undesired information can be deleted without giving reasons. The problem with this: If you don't appear anywhere, potential contractual partners could even more doubt your creditworthiness.

("Die Presse", print edition, March 17, 2011)