In finance, the term credit history refers to combined records of the way in which a person or other entity manages their debt. A credit history is normally based on data collected by credit bureaus. Lenders make use of credit histories to determine the creditworthiness of prospective borrowers. Merchants may also review the credit history of customers to determine whether they are likely to pay for goods and services provided on credit.
In Switzerland, credit histories show whether or not you have any existing loans and whether you have applied for new loans. They also record whether you are meeting loan repayments or whether you have missed payments. Loan defaults are also recorded on your credit history.
Typically credit histories are recorded in municipal debt collection registers. Municipalities operate their own debt collection offices which are responsible for recording claims of unpaid debt made by creditors against their residents. Additionally, two federally-mandated credit bureaus operate on a national level. These are the ZEK (German: Zentralstelle für Kreditinformation, French: centrale d’information de credit) and the IKO (German: Informationsstelle für Konsumkredit, French: centre de renseignements sur le crédit à la consummation).
All of these credit bureaus only record information directly related to loans which you have gotten and whether or not you have met your loan repayments. They do not record the way in which you make payments or any other information related to your person which may determine your creditworthiness. You are entitled to obtain a copy of your credit history from your municipal debt collection office or from the ZEK or IKO at any time. You are also entitled to dispute incorrect entries.
Landlords in Switzerland typically require you to submit a copy of your credit history when you apply for rental homes. If your credit history shows that you have defaulted on payments owed to creditors, your applications for rental homes will not normally be accepted.
In some other countries, private credit bureaus record many different kinds of information about you in your credit history, with the aim of predicting whether or not you might default on payments or loans in the future.