Credit Score in Sweden: What is it and how to improve it? (Credit Check 2023)
I get many questions regarding credit score in Sweden when applying for both credit cards and loans, and how to get a good credit score, so I’ve decided to cover these topics in a bit more detail.
Long story short: staying on top of your credit score is important if you want to have a good financial life. Moreover, it can save you thousands by negotiating a better interest rate for your mortgage or loans at your bank. All you need to do is to check your own credit report with Kreditkollen or minKreditkoll, and use that information to negotiate with your bank. You can also check your credit report unlimited times to see how it improves. I went from a “bad” credit score (1.7% risk) to an “excellent” one (0.1% risk)
What is Credit Score?
A credit score is just a number that predicts how likely you are to pay back a loan on time. Important to know: credit scores are calculated by private companies (not the government), and they use a mathematical formula – called a scoring model – to create your credit score from the information they can gather about you.
For example, some information they consider is
- Your salary
- Your bill-paying history (do you pay your bills on time? how much do you spend?)
- Your current unpaid debt
- The number and type of loan accounts you have
- How long you have had your loan accounts open
- How much of your available credit you are using (do you use all your credit card limit?
- New applications for credit (do you apply for credit cards?, how often?)
- Whether you have had a debt sent to collection, a foreclosure, or a bankruptcy, etc.
Private companies who calculate a credit score often get this data from banks, financial institutions, and public entities. There is no “one” credit score, since there could be many companies calculating this and applying a different formula
In Sweden, there are a few companies providing a credit score, including UC, CreditSafe, and Bisnode.
UC is probably the largest one; most banks and lenders use it. The main source of information when you want to apply for a mortgage, private loan, car lease, and credit card.
UC uses a scoring model (commonly known as UC-Score) with 5 different scoring intervals on a scale from 0.1% – 100%.
The highest rating you can get is 0.1%, which gives the rating Excellent (creditworthiness) and the lowest rating you can get is 100% which gives the rating Weak (creditworthiness).
Creditsafe uses a scoring model called Creditsafe’s Scoring where you can end up in 4 different scoring intervals on a scale from 1 – 100. Next to this, you can see what Creditsafe has for different scoring intervals and what they give for credit rating.
Bisnode is present in over 18 European countries. In Sweden is mainly used by telecommunication operators (Telia, Telenor, etc.) when you get a phone loan, and also credits on homeware and appliances (Elgiganten, Mediamarkt, NetONet, etc.)
Bisnode uses a scoring model with 5 different scoring intervals on a scale from 0 – 10. The highest rating that can be obtained is 10 which means “Good credit rating” and the lowest rating is 0 which means “No credit rating can be given”.
Usually, this means that you have, for example, a current debt with the Kronofogden or debt collection cases.
What is a credit report?
A credit report is a statement that contains your credit score, along with other financial information about yourself. Think of it as a summary of how you have handled credit accounts. Credit reports are important because it tells institutions and people how “financially stable” you are, and how much banks can trust that you will return the money that you borrow.
Do you get your salary every month? Have you been paying your taxes? Do you struggle to pay your credit card? Have you borrowed money from other banks? All these questions are answered in a credit report.
What is a credit check?
A credit check is when someone asks for your credit report. When you buy something on credit, want to start a subscription, get a new credit card, or apply for a loan, a credit report is requested. The credit report gives information about your financial status and circumstances that affect your ability to pay, or repay a loan.
What happens when someone runs a credit check on me?
Luckily, in Sweden, it is your right to be informed when such information has been requested, and you also have the right to receive a copy of what information has been shared with the requesting credit report company. Since there are only a few companies providing credit reports (UC, Bisnode), they will send you a copy to your email address, digital mailbox (Kivra), or physical address.
Each time a credit check is run on you, your credit score will be worse, since they often calculate how often are you asking for loans or credits. So DO NOT trigger credit checks on you frequently, or your score will be ruined!
Also, companies often do not run random credit checks on you if you don’t ask for them. Thus, you don’t need to worry about banks ruining your score for no reason (and you should keep an eye if you get notified about a credit check if you didn’t ask for it).
Can I check my own credit score in Sweden?
Yes. In Sweden, you can use minUC to check your UC score or also use minKreditkoll as an alternative. Checking your credit score does not make it worse.
Let’s look at the differences between minUC vs. minKreditkoll below.
All major banks and financial institutions rely on UC scores. If you want to get a mortgage, ask for a credit card or get a private loan, they will run a credit check with UC.
Today, only UC enables individuals to find out their credit rating through their website minUC. You can pay SEK 29 to see your current UC Score and credit rating (a one-time fee). You can also subscribe to their service Kreditkollen for SEK 49/month. With Kreditkollen, you get unlimited access to your credit rating and you can see how your credit rating develops over time (see my demo below). Click here to view your credit score and UC Score.
What is UC score
The UC score is between 1 and 999 used in the Kreditkollen service. It shows your UC Risk Forecast (you want to achieve as high a number as possible); it is a measure of your creditworthiness and affects your chances of being granted loans and credits. You can follow your UC score and see how your personal finances are developing using Kreditkollen.
The UC score is only used in the Kreditkollen service to easily follow changes over time, while UC Risk Forecast is part of the decision-making basis that banks and other lenders often look at when you apply for loans or credits.
If you approach your bank to negotiate a loan, you can use your UC Risk Forecast as a basis for the discussion.
Both UC Risk Forecast and UC score are based on the information in your credit report. That’s why the Kreditkollen service also gives you free access to your information. You can find your UC Risk Forecast and credit information under “Report” in Kreditkollen.
KreditKollen: my experience
I have been using this service since 2016, and totally changed my finances. I’ve been able to negotiate a mortgage interest rate cut from 2.24% to 1.05% (which saves me thousands of kronor every month!)
I love that the service is both in English and Swedish, and they have been adding more and more features, particularly since 2020.
Here’s the dashboard you see when you log in. You can see your risk forecast, as well as your recent credit checks. Note that I was able to come down to 0.1% (excellent score) from 1.7% (fair)
when you select “Mitt UC score” or “my UC Score”, you see the following screen:
See how my score decreased from 806 to 757 because I applied for a new credit card. Even though it got worse, it is still “excellent”. This means I could most likely apply for another credit card without any big issues.
I would totally recommend giving minUC Kreditkollen a try to see what is your current score, and how it improves over time, at least for a year. You can make so many informed decisions about your finances, including which credit cards to apply for, when, and how to negotiate better rates for your mortgage.
Knowing this information can save you thousands of kronor.
minKreditkoll (free credit check)
MinKreditkoll is a new player in the game and has been around for only couple of years. MinKreditkoll wants to make it easier for Swedes to get control of their own data and know what value it can give them.
While I’ve been mainly using minUC Kreditkollen, the service is paid and you need to subscribe to it. It’s totally worth it if you want to be on top of your credit score and be serious about improving it. However, minKreditkoll is a good start and has some other advantages.
- See your own credit check for free.
- Understand your credit score. Learn what’s behind your credit score so you can improve it. You also see any payment notes.
- Get control of your loans and credits. You can also download data about your loans and credits and have your loan situation analyzed. We show you which loans you have, which of these you should get rid of, and how to get rid of them. That way, you can easily save money every month!
- A free benefits club. With MinKreditkoll.se, you don’t just get a credit score – you get membership in an advantage club, where you get, among other things, free monitoring of your credit score, regular advice, offers adapted to your financial situation, and much more.
So, what’s the catch?
While minUC is the “official” way to check your UC score and has been around for longer, minKreditkoll provides a FREE alternative to checking your score and can be quite useful if you have no idea where you are standing
Why is it free? Well, the business model behind minKreditkoll is different. Once you log in, you can apply for credit directly through their platform, and if you are approved, they earn a commission. That’s how they earn money compared to minUC, which is a fixed price (subscription)
minKreditkoll: My experience
Here is what you see when you sign-up and first login. Populate your email and confirm the terms and conditions.
Then, you see your dashboard with your credit score (1 to 100). In my case it was 94 the first time I logged in.
You can also see offers for you (loans, credit cards, etc.)
Staying on top of your credit score is important if you want to have a good financial life. Moreover, it can save you thousands by negotiating a better interest rate for your mortgage or loans at your bank.
All you need to do is to check your own credit report with minUC Kreditkollen or minKreditkoll and use that information to negotiate with your bank. You can also check your credit report unlimited times to see how it improves.
Both Kreditkollen and minKreditkoll are great options, although Kreditkollen is more “official”. I’ve been using them since 2016 with great success: went from a “bad” credit score to an “excellent” one (0.1% risk)