Money For Members

Does having a good credit score matter in Switzerland?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Does having a good credit score matter in Switzerland?
Having not enough money to your name is not good for your credit-worthiness. Photo: Pixabay

The Swiss are pretty money-savvy and good financial standing is important to them, so what does this mean in terms of credit scores?


‘Financial standing’ doesn’t necessarily mean 'wealth' - a word usually associated with Switzerland.

Instead, it means financial responsibility and solvency - the two qualities that many Swiss, especially those of the older generation, live by.

It implies living within one’s means and, if possible, saving money and building a nest egg for the future, rather than spending it all and - even worse - going into debt.

Getting into financial trouble such as defaulting on a loan, going into arrears or even being late with monthly payments is bad - and especially so for foreign nationals who hope to become naturalised one day.

Having a record of these kinds of financial troubles is likely to prevent them from obtaining citizenship.

READ ALSO: Could personal debt stop you from becoming Swiss? 

Being in debt is also bad - for anyone, not just foreigners - because it affects your credit standing and with it your ability to have a solid financial footing.

Who determines your credit score in Switzerland?

That would be the ZEK (Zentralstelle für Kreditinformation or Swiss Central Credit Information Bureau), which operates a central database which only banks and loan providers can access.

Basically, all your credit history, which includes your credit card use, loans, history of all open or denied credit applications, account overdrafts, and other such information is stored in there.

However, ZEK contains not only the negative data. If you are diligent about paying all your bills on time and not having any arrears, then this information is included there as well, and will serve you well if you ever need to take out a mortgage or another loan.

READ ALSO: What happens if I don't pay my Swiss bills on time?


This is how it works

Every time you apply for a credit card or a loan, a record of that application is added to your credit history at ZEK, according to Moneyland consumer platform. 

If the application is denied for a valid reason, your credit record will be negatively impacted.

So if, let’s say, you want to borrow money to purchase a car or another big-ticket item, the bank will check your credit score and will only lend you the money if your record is good.


Can your credit score from your home country impact the one in Switzerland?

"As a general rule, Swiss lenders do not accept foreign credit reports as a means of determining creditworthiness,” according to Moneyland.

The reason is that scoring criteria used by various countries may be different from Switzerland's, where creditworthiness is determined primarily by the applicant's income-to-expenses ratio.

Can you find out what your credit record and score is?

Yes, you have the right to obtain this information.

To do so, you should write to ZEK at this address: Postfach, 8048 Zürich



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