Do Other Countries Have Credit Scores?

Posted by Frank Gogol
Updated on April 26, 2022

What exactly is a credit score? A credit score is a number used in the United States as a record of a person’s financial status. In other words, a credit score keeps a record of your payment history and other financial information.

People generally try to maintain a good credit score because credit score checks are made almost everywhere, starting from banks if you’d like to obtain loans to renting an apartment.

One of the most common doubts that people tend to have regarding credit score systems is whether other countries in the world also have such systems in place or not. Let’s take a look.

Are There Credit Scores in Other Countries?

One of the most common misconceptions people tend to have is that a credit score system exists only within the United States. However, this is not true. In fact, several countries across the world have similar systems to calculate a credit score.

While the credit score systems present in other countries are not completely identical to those in the U.S., these systems are essentially the same in their core function. All of them still show a person’s ability to meet various kinds of financial obligations.

How Credit Systems in Other Countries Compare

A few countries across the globe have no credit score systems in place, and transactions are as simple as giving and receiving payment. However, several countries worldwide have implemented systems to calculate the credit score of a person in terms of diverse factors.

Some of these factors include things such as length of employment, salary, previous debts, age of accounts, and so on.

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Which Other Countries Have Credit Scores?

The countries that have credit score systems very similar to the United States are Canada and the United Kingdom. However, other countries such as Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, and others calculate credit in their own way, allowing people who maintain good credit to get better deals than those who have bad credit.

Japan

There is no official credit score system in Japan. However, the credit score of a person is still calculated in various ways. For citizens of the country, a good credit score depends on the length of employment and the salary they earn. For U.S. nationals, however, their credit score from the U.S. is not going to be counted unless they have an account with an international bank that has a relationship with a bank in Japan. Knowledge of the Japanese language is also a major factor in obtaining credit.

The United Kingdom

The credit system in the United Kingdom is very similar to the one in the United States. Three major credit companies operate here—Experian, Callcredit, and Equifax—and all three of them calculate credit in different ways.

One of the major differences between the credit score system in the U.K. and the U.S. is that being registered on the U.K. electoral register will boost your credit score, unlike in the U.S., where this is not considered.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, a person with a good credit score is typically one that has a steady income and no unpaid debts. Unpaid debts make it difficult to get a good interest rate on a loan for quite some time in the Netherlands. This is because they register as a negative mark against the person with the Bureau Krediet Registratie, which can take up to five years to be cleared.

Canada

The Canadian credit score system is extremely similar to the one in the United States, with the only major difference being credit scores in Canada are calculated in the range 300 – 900. 680 and above is considered a good credit score in Canada. Otherwise, the two credit score systems are similar in most factors, including payment history, age of accounts, and credit utilization.

 Two companies calculate credit in Canada—Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada—both of which are sister companies to the ones that calculate credit in the U.S. (Equifax and TransUnion).

Spain

The credit system in Spain is very similar to the one that has been implemented in the Netherlands. This means the people of Spain mainly maintain good credit by keeping themselves away from the “bad credit” list. Again, people who have received a negative mark on their credit and have been put on the blacklist can remain there for almost 3 – 6 years in total.

However, the credit system in Spain is more comprehensive in the sense that it tracks all the loans, risks, bank endorsements, and credit.

Brazil

Until very recently, Brazil did not have a formal credit system when the government mandated the creation of credit bureaus in 2012. Now, five of the country’s biggest banks have formed a coalition to become Brazil’s first credit research agency. This coalition now takes care of the credit scores of the citizens of Brazil.

France

The credit system in France is in the form of bank statements and income proofs of the past three months, along with the sale of contract and proof of marital status if applicable. A person who can show a 15% down payment and additional fees of 7% will be placed in the “good” credit section of the country.

Germany

The credit system in Germany is fairly advanced. Credit in this country is calculated by SCHUFA, which tracks all financial information such as bank loans, open accounts, unpaid bills, and fines. Usually, people who have a credit score above 90 are deemed trustworthy by banks.

Australia

Australia once had a credit system that used to track only negative financial history such as loans, fines, and unpaid debts. However, the country’s credit system has undergone a complete overhaul since 2017.

For more than three years now, the credit system calculates positive financial data (from the past two years), thereby making the Australian credit system quite similar to the one used in the United States.

China

The credit system in China is still in the development stage. The government has expressed its plans to develop a credit system in the country. However, the People’s Bank of China licensed eight private companies to launch pilot credit programs in 2015.

These programs have not fully taken off yet, mainly because of the government’s plan to implement a “social credit” system. A social credit system encompasses more than just the financial information of a person. It also includes infractions such as drunken driving or parking in a no-parking zone.

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Conclusion

As you can see, a credit score system is not available just for United States citizens. Citizens from the United States who wish to begin a new life in any of the above countries can do so with the help of the credit systems that have been put in place in each country.

U.S. citizens can use the above credit systems in various capacities to show themselves as being trustworthy to different banks and landlords in each of the respective countries.


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