How Important Is Your Credit Score When You Live In Spain?

In certain countries, including the UK and the USA, building up a good credit score is vitally important. You need this to apply for a mortgage, a credit card, even for a contract for a new mobile phone.

So what happens if you have a good credit card in the UK or the USA and then you decide to move to Spain? Can you transfer your credit score with you? And do credit scores even matter when you live in Spain? Here’s everything you need to know:

Will Your Credit Score Transfer To Spain?

If you’ve spent years honing the perfect credit score then sadly the answer isn’t likely to be the one you want. In general credit scores don’t transfer between countries. But the good news for American readers who are groaning with despair is that credit scores just aren’t as important in Spain as they are in the United States. In reality your credit score really doesn’t matter in Spain.

This means that if you want to get a mortgage, loan, or credit card when you arrive in Spain you can’t rely on your credit score to demonstrate your eligibility. However all is not lost. A good credit score in another country can still be used as evidence, along with other things, to help you get a loan.

Is There Such Thing As A Global Credit Score?

Many people believe that their credit score will contribute to a global credit score, but the reality is that such a concept is a myth. There isn’t a global credit score system. And your credit score won’t matter in the same way as it does back home when you arrive in Spain.

According to Capital One bank: "Global credit scores don’t currently exist. Some credit bureaus, like Experian, operate in multiple countries. But privacy laws vary by nation, so these companies typically can’t share consumer credit information across borders.

The concern is that this could leave you ‘credit invisible’ when you arrive in a new country and this is just as difficult to navigate as a bad credit score as being credit invisible could make it difficult for you to get a loan or open a credit card.

There are some countries, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Japan, that have their own credit scoring systems which is similar to the one in place in the USA but although these systems are similar they are not related and even if they wanted to they couldn’t share information across borders.

Is There A Credit Score System In Spain?

The simple answer is no. There isn’t really a credit score system in Spain and the system that is in place in nothing like the one in place in the U.S. Spain's Central de Información de Riesgo, or Risk Management Center (CIR) does track credit history, but doesn't dole out credit scores.

According to the Banco de España website: "The Risk Management Center (RIC) is a public service that manages a database containing practically all the loans, credits, guarantees and risks in general that financial institutions have with their customers. The data contained in the RIC are a reflection of the data that the institutions have on their customers in their databases."

So if you miss a payment or default on an account? It will be registered with the CIR and this will be noted when you try to apply for another line of credit. But unlike in the U.S opening new credit accounts or making direct debit payments won’t impact your ability to get credit in any way.

So how do your financial management skills impact your credit? If you have several negative marks, you could be rejected from credit or loan agreements, or even blacklisted from certain banks until the outstanding debt is paid in full, or for a period of up to six years, whichever it takes. Banks in Spain are far more concerned with how much you earn than how you manage the income you earn.

In conclusion, simply showing a good American credit score won't help you in Spain. But that doesn’t mean you should discard it completely. If you’re applying for a loan or mortgage and need to demonstrate that you’re financially stable then it could be used as evidence, alongside other financial information, that you are a good investment. The more information you can share, the better.

Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Looking to leave the USA and make an escape to the sun? Then why not get in touch with our local property experts, who are perfectly placed to help you buy the Spanish home of your dreams. We’re excited to help you make your next move your best move.