Supplier credit

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Supplier credit (also trade credit or trade credit ) is a credit that a supplier ( creditor ) grants his customers ( debtors ) by granting a payment term for the settlement of his invoice . This credit represents a form of financing the turnover of goods . For early payment within a discount period, a discount is granted as a price reduction . The opposite is the customer credit .


After § 433 para. 2 BGB , the purchaser is the purchase contract obliged the purchase price train to train to be paid upon receipt of the goods. However, if the supplier releases the buyer from his obligation to pay immediately, a supplier credit exists. It arises when a customer does not have to make an immediate cash payment when the goods are handed over, but is given a payment period by the supplier. It is a credit in the form of goods because the supplier grants the buyer a deferred payment for goods or services provided. This deferment of payment legally represents a loan from the supplier to the customer ( Section 488 BGB). The majority of the specialist literature agrees that supplier credits are only those credits that are directly related to the sale of goods and that defer the consideration for the delivery or service provided. The supplier credit is a dependent ancillary service to the delivery - the main service.

Supplier credits can be granted to domestic or foreign customers. The supplier credit becomes an export credit when the supplier has agreed a payment period with the importer; A letter of credit or document collection , on the other hand, is not a supplier credit .


He is in the balance sheet of the supplier as " receivables from supplies and services " enabled ( § 266 para. 2 B II 1 HGB ) and is generally the nominal value to evaluate ( § 253 para. 1 HGB). Since the payment term is usually between 30 and 60 days (less often 90 days), only the delivery receivables that existed on the balance sheet date appear in the balance sheet . The supplier therefore bears a credit risk ( del credere risk ), which he can usually cover by retention of title or a del credere insurance. In addition to the del credere risk, a supplier credit to foreign buyers may also involve a country risk , which the supplier can insure with export credit insurance. With weak credit quality of the customer and the lack of security at the supplier incurred bad debts in uncollectible - for example due to insolvency of the debtor - kick bad debts a. Corresponding passivated the customer to supplier credit on its balance sheet as trade payables.

Key figures

Business indicators deal with the turnover rate of the delivery receivables in order to give the supplier or analyst information about the liquidity and the risk of the debtors.

The binding of receivables provides information about the share of the delivery receivables in the total sales of the supplier:

The higher this proportion, the higher the del credere risk of a supplier and the lower the proportion of cash-paying customers and vice versa. At the time of the analysis, there were no incoming claims for this portion. A high proportion is associated with a lower mobility of the delivery receivables, which results in lower liquidity. A low debt commitment is therefore classified as good.

The customer target (or customer lead time ) is a key figure for the turnover rate of the customer receivables:

This key figure expresses how quickly customer receivables are paid. Short debtor targets help improve the supplier's liquidity and should therefore be aimed for. Long payment periods can be attributed to long payment terms, low discount rates and poor debtor management by the supplier, as well as poor creditworthiness and poor payment behavior on the part of the customers . Because of the high percentage of cash payments , retailers have the shortest turnaround times with an average of 10 days, followed by wholesalers and craftsmen with 40 days each and industry with 45 days.


In Germany, supplier and customer loans are the most important source of outside financing for non-banks, alongside group liabilities . In terms of short-term borrowed funds, they even occupy the top position in the financing hierarchy. According to the Deutsche Bundesbank , trade loans, with an average of € 345.2 billion for the years 2002 to 2009, are the second most important - and in the short term even the most important - source of external financing for non-banks in Germany, alongside intra-group loans (€ 399.4 billion). Measured against the balance sheet total , they reach a rate of 15.8%. As a result, the short-term and long-term debt at banks is 1 percentage point lower. The largest share have for industry , the trade receivables in wholesale and commission trade 25.4% of total assets, followed by business-related services (18.3%) and construction (16.7%). In terms of company size , small and medium-sized companies lead with 18.1%, followed by very small companies with 16.9%. Due to the strong export orientation, the higher inventory of delivery receivables compared to the delivery liabilities can be justified with longer payment terms for exports. In the Bundesbank's opinion, this also partly reflects the poorer payment behavior of foreign customers.

Purpose and use

The supplier credit does not directly serve the business objective of the production and sale of products and services , but is an instrument of sales promotion . In addition, it is used for pricing policy because it enables price differentiation and can compensate for seasonal fluctuations in demand. The element of sales promotion is also expressed in the fact that the supplier credit enables access to those groups of buyers who would not be considered buyers without this credit. For the buyer, it represents an alternative to other forms of financing and leads to a stronger relationship and bond between supplier and buyer.

The supplier credit is expensive compared to the bank credit . If a buyer can pay in cash or take advantage of a discount, he should prefer this form to the supplier credit. This is also possible with a bank loan through the buyer's house bank . The supplier credit saves the buyer from using other sources of finance and relieves his short-term financial planning, but after the discount period has expired it is usually associated with a higher purchase price that is not reduced by the discount. The buyer who foregoes the use of the payment term and settles the invoice amount within a specified shorter period, on the other hand, usually receives a price reduction in the amount of the agreed discount.

The supplier can transfer his delivery claims to credit institutes or factoring companies, for example by way of assignment by way of security or factoring , and thereby generate a lack of liquidity.

In the event of the later insolvency of the buyer, the seller as a creditor is at risk of avoiding insolvency . The granting of supplier credits by affiliated companies (e.g. sister companies) is particularly problematic.


In other countries, the trade credit ratio (trade credits as a percentage of total assets) is significantly higher than in Germany. While it fluctuates around 6% in Germany, in 2010 it was 22% in Italy , 18% in France and almost 16% in Spain . The significantly higher rates are mainly due to considerable late payments , as the trade loan portfolio remains on the balance sheet for a long time if the payment method is slow. It is noteworthy that the trade credit ratio in these countries after the financial crisis from 2007 onwards, with a decline of around 5 percentage points, had a much stronger impact than in German companies.

Determination of the effective interest rate

The effective interest rate on a supplier credit is approximately as follows:


  • Discount rate: 3%
  • Payment term: 30 days
  • Discount period: 10 days

The formula for the exact calculation of the effective annual interest rate is:

In the example:

So the effective interest rate on the supplier's credit is very high. It should be noted, however, that this interest rate only refers to the discount reference range (= payment term - discount period). The interest rate for the entire credit period (= payment term) is significantly lower because the supplier credit is available free of charge within the discount period. If you insert the payment term of 30 days into the above formula instead of the discount reference range of 20 days, the effective interest rate is only 37.11 percent per year. Many suppliers also grant their customers currency periods of up to six months, during which the loan is also free of charge. Assuming a value date of 60 days in this example, the total credit period increases to 90 days (= payment term + value date). If you insert this period into the above formula, the effective interest rate on the supplier's credit is only 12.37% / year. If the customer exceeds the agreed payment term , he is in default of payment . Due to the default period, the effective interest rate on the loan will continue to decrease if the supplier cannot charge or enforce default interest. Customers often get a payment term of 30 days for their invoices from their suppliers in the payment terms. Within this payment period there is a further period of 10 days, for example, in which the customer is able to deduct a discount. If the customer exceeds this deadline, the supplier credit is usually very expensive. For reasons of economy, it often makes more sense to take out a current account credit and pay the invoice at the end of the discount period.

Interest calculation

The interest for the use of the payment term is usually calculated as a deduction from sales at target prices, whereby the discount rate corresponds to the discount rate.


  • Procurement quantity = 500 pieces / order
  • Target price = 100 euros / piece
  • Discount rate = 3%

Interest = procurement quantity × target price × discount rate = 500 pieces / order × 100 € / piece × 0.03 = 1500 € / order

The interest can also be calculated as a surcharge on sales at cash prices:

Interest = procurement quantity × cash price × surcharge rate = 500 pieces / order × 97 € / piece × 3.093% = 1500 € / order

The following relationship exists between the discount rate and the premium rate:

Premium rate = (discount rate × 100) :( 100 - discount rate) = (3% × 100) :( 100 - 3%) = 3.093%

Discount rate = (premium rate × 100) :( 100 + premium rate) = (3.093% × 100) :( 100 + 3.093%) = 3%

See also


  • Hermann Lauer: Conditions management, optimally design and enforce payment conditions . Düsseldorf 1998, ISBN 3-87881-124-1 .
  • Hans-Otto Schenk: Psychology in Commerce , 2nd edition, Munich / Vienna 2007, ISBN 978-3-486-58379-3 .

Individual evidence

  1. Dieter Ahlert, sales promotion through sales credits to customers , 1972, p. 64.
  2. Horst-Tilo Beyer, Finanzlexikon , 1971, p. 244.
  3. Michael Pielert, Internal Rating as a Monitoring Tool in Finance , 2013, p. 14.
  4. Peter R. Preißler, Business Key Figures , 2008, p. 140.
  5. the Bundesbank statistically combines supplier credits and customer down payments into trade credits
  6. ^ Deutsche Bundesbank, The Importance of Trade Loans for Corporate Financing in Germany - Results of the Company Accounts Statistics, Monthly Report October 2012, p. 57.
  7. ^ Deutsche Bundesbank, The Importance of Trade Loans for Corporate Financing in Germany - Results of the Company Accounts Statistics, Monthly Report October 2012, p. 59.
  8. Timo Raffael Beck, Debt Collection Companies and Success in Debt Collection , 2014, p. 7.
  9. ↑ Avoidance of insolvency supplier credits etc. a. (No longer available online.) May 9, 2016, archived from the original on May 10, 2016 ; accessed on May 9, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. ^ Deutsche Bundesbank, The Importance of Trade Loans for Corporate Financing in Germany - Results of the Company Accounts Statistics, Monthly Report October 2012, p. 62
  11. a b Hermann Lauer, Conditions Management, optimally design and enforce payment conditions , 1998, p. 64 ff.
  12. Hermann Lauer, Conditions Management, optimally design and enforce payment conditions , 1998, p. 61.