Frequently asked questions
Who is CRIF and what does it do?
CRIF business information identifies reliable people and corporations; it also supplies information about credit-worthiness on the basis of the available market-leading data sources. CRIF therefore provides an effective tool to assist the credit application process for trading, e-commerce and telecommunications providers, as well as banks, insurance companies and leasing businesses.
What benefits does CRIF offer to consumers?
CRIF provides businesses with the support that enables them to complete sales quickly and easily. This brings great benefits to consumers, e.g. on-line 24/7 shopping and purchases on account.
Who do CRIF's customers include?
Banks, insurance companies, leasing businesses, telecommunications providers, traders, e-commerce and industry all trust the services provided by CRIF.
What information does CRIF store?
In the case of private individuals, CRIF stores given names, family names, residential addresses and dates of birth. These details are enough to ensure that this person does actually exist and the trader can provide the ordered goods. CRIF holds data on credit-worthiness so that it can evaluate credit-relevant decisions, e.g. debt collection, debt prosecutions, certificates of loss and publications.
Why is credit-relevant information stored anyway?
In principle, payments to businesses that offer purchases on account or payment by installments (e.g. on-line traders) are not secured because the goods are sent out before the invoice is settled. Goods can only be dispatched on account because of CRIF.
What about data protection?
Data protection is the top priority as far as CRIF is concerned. CRIF's products and applications are subject to continuous development so that they can guarantee the best possible level of security. It goes without saying that we adhere to the Swiss law on data protection. This imposes clear controls on how information may be gathered and processed. The law also provides full rights with regard to information, correctness and deletion.
Can just anyone ask CRIF about my credit-relevant information?
CRIF AG only works with business customers and tradespeople. Access to CRIF's solutions is only available to corporations who have a contractual duty to adhere to the law on data protection and can prove they have a legitimate interest, e.g. in the form of an order or a quotation for a contract.
How can I find out what information has been stored about me?
Anyone can ask the person responsible for information about whether any personal details involving the questioner are being processed (Article 25, Para. 1 of the Swiss law on Data Protection (DSG)).
This request for information about oneself can be made free of charge once every year (see also under “Will I have to pay for a request for information about myself?”).
Why do I have to send a copy of my ID card to CRIF before I can access data?
The information stored in our database may only be viewed by people who have authorized access, i.e. by the relevant individuals themselves or by customers who have appropriate proof of interest. Before you, as the relevant individual, can be allowed to view the data, we therefore first need to carry out an identity check using a legible copy of your ID card.<br />
(Article 1 Para. 1 VDSG: "Any person who asks for information from the holder of collected data about whether any information about him/her is being processed must normally make this application in writing and must provide proof of their own identity").
How much time does CRIF need to supply the information held about me?
After receiving your request, the information will be supplied within the statutory period of 30 days. Nevertheless, CRIF makes every effort to answer your inquiry as quickly as possible. In order that we can process the matter quickly, it is important for you to provide us with all the information in full. This includes a copy of an official ID certificate with your name and date of birth, together with your current address.
I have received the information CRIF holds on me. What can I do if it contains details that are incomplete or inapplicable to me?
CRIF places the highest possible value on data quality. Nevertheless, if it turns out that incomplete or inapplicable information has been stored in the database, we will naturally take action to correct or delete such information within the statutory period of 30 days after receipt of the appropriate application.
Does a data inquiry cost me anything?
Usually, there’s no charge for a data request. However, if you send multiple data requests to us over the course of a year without having modified your own personal details, or if your requests for information involve exceptional expense, we are entitled to charge our expenses to you.
(Article 23 of the Ordinance to the Swiss law on Data Protection (VDSG): "An appropriate contribution to the costs can be charged if the provision of information is associated with disproportionate expenditure. The maximum contribution is CHF 300. The person concerned must be notified of the amount of the required contribution before any data is provided. He/she is entitled to withdraw his/her request within 10 days”.
II have not been able to organize a cellphone contract. Is this anything to do with CRIF?
CRIF never decides whether or not a consumer will receive a product or a service. This decision is made in each case by the company from which you want to receive a product or a service or by the company arranging the finance. CRIF only provides the credit-relevant information that is used by the company to help make that decision.
Are people permitted to store and process information about me anyway?
Yes, if the information is being processed and used in a way that is appropriate to the purpose of the database. The information can also be processed without your consent, as our customers need these details to check credit-worthiness and we can therefore assert the overriding interest of a third person.