How to Check Your Credit Rating in Spain
When you need a loan or a mortgage, it’s a good idea to check your credit rating in Spain beforehand. Our post guides you through the process so you’ll know what to expect.
Step One: Do your own calculations before visiting the bank
When banks offer credit you’ll often see the word ‘desde’ (from) before the interest rate. Hence interest rates advertised aren’t guaranteed: the best rates will only be available for the best clients.
Banks will only let you take out a loan or mortgage when repayments would take up to around 35-45% of your total income. You can carry out a quick calculation to see if this fits in with your income and financial obligations. If it doesn’t you have two options: either increase your income or reduce your obligations (neither of which are easy!)
Work out the monthly repayments with an online calculator. If you can meet the repayments comfortably then it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step Two: Check your credit rating
If you know how credit rating works in your home country, you may find it works differently in Spain.
On the one hand there are agencies that provide debtor’s lists (read our dedicated post). On the other hand there’s the Bank of Spain’s Risk Information Centre Report, known as CIRBE.
All banks will check if you’re on a debtor list and will also request a CIRBE report before agreeing to allow you credit. It makes sense to check it yourself first and bear in mind that banks don’t need your permission to consult your report.
The CIRBE report includes details of all loans, credit, personal guarantees and other financial products (classed as general risks) that have a cumulative value of 1000€ or more per institution. You can request a free copy of your report online (if you have an official electronic signature), by post or in person.
Once your loans and other risks are below the 1000€ threshold, the information will be removed from the current CIRBE report. Past details are still kept on file and your bank could request them to see how often you request credit.
If you have a credit card then this may also be included in the report. For example, if you have a credit card with a 800€ limit and also a 500€ loan with the same bank, there will be an entry on your CIRBE report as the total exceeds 1000€ even if you have no current spend on your card. This is because, theoretically, you could spend up to the full limit on your credit card at any time.
Step Three: What to do if the report is incorrect
It can take up to three months for information to be added or removed from the database. If you’ve just finished paying off a loan, it may still show on your CIRBE report.
But if there’s still inaccurate or incorrect information even after taking the three-month delay into account, you should take one of the following actions:
- Get in touch directly with the financial institution concerned instructing them to amend or cancel the report entry
- Request that the Bank of Spain carries out your request via their online form.
Step Four: Request your loan or mortgage
Once you’re sure that all the details on your CIRBE report are correct and your name isn’t included on any debtor list, it’s time to request your loan.
The bank will still carry out their own risk assessment. If you’re refused credit you may have to try with another bank.
Take care with online-only applications. Not all adverts are for legal financial companies; in the best case you may just be hit with a higher interest rate on your loan, but in the worst case you may end up owing money to a loan shark.