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Do personal credit ratings exist in France?

It is advisable in France as elsewhere to try and avoid 'payment incidents'

Credit institutions may ask to see payslips as part of an assessment Pic: fullempty | Shutterstock

Reader question: Do personal credit reports exist in France and, if so, which body is in charge of issuing them?

FRANCE is one of several countries that does not use credit scores in the same way as the US or UK, so it has no central credit bureau or credit-scoring companies.

However, the Banque de France manages several ‘payment incident’ files where problems relating to your money affairs could end up registered for up to five years if unresolved.

These are the fichier central des chèques, the fichier national des incidents de remboursement des crédits aux particuliers and the fichier national des chèques irréguliers.

Banks and other lenders can consult these to assess your credit-worthiness.

For example, if you write a cheque that risks bouncing, the bank will warn you, to allow you to quickly put money in your account to avoid a ‘payment incident’.

You also risk registration if direct debits from your account fail due to insufficient funds, you default on loan payments, or you go over agreed payment limits with a credit card.

Individual banks and credit companies also undertake their own credit-worthiness assessments of would-be borrowers.

For example as part of this they may ask to see three months’ bank statements and/or payslips.

They may also ask about your other debts and liabilities, including other existing loans.

It is illegal for banks to share this data, so a credit profile established with one is not transferable to another.

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