Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The credit history in Finland

A couple of years ago there was a day when citizens could check whatever various databases had on them for free. I decided to check my credit history, and all I got was a piece of paper saying that I have never defaulted on a loan. I was quite surprised, because in the US one's credit history carries information on the loans that have been taken and successfully repaid, and the ones in the process of being repaid. I'd always assumed that the same was the case in Finland.

I asked the lady that gave me the paper about it, and she said that this is normal, this is what an unproblematic credit history always looks like, they don't carry any info on the loans that were repaid without a problem.

I took that for an answer, but now I am wondering: how could that be? Because various financial institutions who might be interested in one's credit history seem to be able to clearly distinguish between the people who don't have any credit history and the people who have a positive one.

On a related note: I hear a lot of other foreigners say that they were denied credit cards, and that GSM operators have demanded deposits from them. This has never happened to me, and I have assumed that the reason for this has been the credit history (or the lack thereof in the case of the new arrivals), and not that I am so damn cute. But now that I have thought more about it: how do the GSM operators even know who is a foreigner and who is not?

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