These are the various agreements/conditions agreed upon between sellers and buyers regarding how debts arising from their transactions should be settled. These conditions include;
-How payment is expected
-When payment is expected
-What is included in the quoted price e.t.c.
Terms of payments are broadly categorized into two;
- Cash payments
- Deferred payments(credit payments)
–This classification depends on whether the agreement is to pay for the products immediately or at a later date.
Cash Terms of payments
Cash terms of payment apply when a buyer is required to pay for goods or services immediately before or after delivery. They include the following:
Spot cash-This is where payment is done at the point of purchase.
–Mainly used in retail businesses where customers are required to pay as they get the goods or receive the service.
b) Cash on Delivery (C.D)
–This is where the buyer pays for the goods (or services) as soon as they are delivered to his or her premises.
c) Cash with order (C.W.O)
–This is where the buyer is required to pay for the goods when making the order for the goods or the services.
Circumstances under which C.O.D and C.W.O are appropriate
- When the buyer is new to the seller
- Where the buyer’s credit worthiness is in doubt
- Where the seller is operating mail order stores(C.W.O only)
- Where C.W.O or C.O.D is the policy of the business
- If the cost of collecting debts is considered high by the seller
- When a seller is to make goods based on unique specification provided by a particular buyer(C.W.O only)
- Where the seller wants to avoid tying up business capital in debts.
d) Prompt cash; This is where payment should be made within a few days (normally seven days) after delivery.
-Prompt cash period allows them to examine the goods and check the invoice to certify its corrections
ii) Deferred payments
This means that goods or service are not paid for in full on delivery. They are instead paid in future in a lump sum or in several instalments.
The period within which a buyer is supposed to pay the seller is referred to as credit period and is expressed in terms of days.
-Terms of payments in credit transactions are usually agreed upon by the seller and the buyer depending on;
- Capital base/financial stability of the seller
- The nature of the goods supplied
- The relationship between the buyer and the seller
- The credit worthiness of the buyer
-In determining the credit worthiness of a buyer, the seller will consider;
- a) Character-The behavior of the buyer in terms of honesty, which determines the probability of the buyer honoring his /her debt obligations
- b) Capacity-The buyer’s ability to pay as indicated by past business performance records or the profitability and the value of his/her assets.
- c) Capital-The financial position of the buyers business or how much the buyer’s business is worth.
- d) Collateral-These are the properties of value pledged by the buyer as security for the credit
- e) Condition-The effect of the existing economic conditions on the buyer’s ability to pay his/her debts.
Forms of Deferred payments (credit payments)
Open trade credit/open credit
–Under these forms, goods and services are sold to the buyer who is expected to pay for them at a future date or within a given period
-The buyer may also be required to pay for goods or services on installments.
-Discounts may be allowed to encourage the buyer to pay on time.
-The ownership of the goods passes to the buyer immediately after entering the contract. The seller should however ensure the buyer will pay by:
- Ascertaining the credit worthiness of the buyer
- Asking the buyer to guarantee payment by signing some documents e.g. bill of exchange
- Asking the buyer to have someone else to guarantee the payment
- Asking the buyer to pledge (mortgage) some of his/her property as security
Factors to consider when giving credit
- Credit worthiness of the buyer
- Repayment period
- Amount of goods the customer wants
- Availability of adequate stock
- Honesty i.e. reliability of the customer
- Frequency at which the customer buys from the seller
- Seller’s intention to attract and retain customers
NOTE: No interest is usually charged on open trade credit.
Examples of open trade credit
Simple credit(prompt cash/personal credit)
-Is a form of credit extended to a trader or a customer for a very short time, usually not more than a week
-It is a common form of credit between retailers and their customers.
-It is also referred to as prompt cash because payment is made within a short time.
ii) Monthly credit
–A form of credit extended when a seller allows the buyer to pay/settle his/her debt after one month
-The buyer can continue taking goods from the seller up to the end of the month.
-It is a form of credit usually allowed by retailers to salaried workers for goods such as food items and newspapers
iii) Budget Accounts
-Are usually operated by large scale retailers to approved customers
-The retailer keeps an account of the customer in his/her books
-To operate budget accounts;
- A deposit is required
- Regular payments are to be made
- There is a maximum amount of credit to be allowed
- The customer may be charged for any special services given by the seller called “after sale services”
–This is credit given by a trader to another trader when goods are bought for selling
-Payments for the goods is made after selling the goods or within an agreed period of time
v) Credit card facilities
–Plastic money (credit cards) enables the holder to obtain goods and services on credit form specific suppliers (people willing to accept the cards)
-They also enable the holders to obtain money from specific banks and other specified financial institutions
-They are available to adults of approved credit worthiness
-Some credit cards can only be used locally while others like visa cards can be used both locally and internationally.
-When a customer makes a purchase using the card, the seller electronically verifies the validity of the card and whether the credit-card holder/customer has sufficient credit to cover the purchase. If all is well, the credit card customer signs a specific form that have been filled by the trader. Such forms are usually provided by the card company to the trader. The trader and the card holder retain a copy each and the other copies are sent either to the credit card company or to the trader’s bank.
–There are therefore 3 parties to a credit card;
- The company that issues the cards
- The card holder
- The trader
-At regular intervals, the credit card company sends a statement of account to each card holder showing the outstanding balance at that time. The outstanding balance should not be greater than the allowed credit limit.
-Examples of companies that issue credit cards include; Barclays card, American Express, Access cards and Visa cards.
Advantages of credit card
- They are safer to carry around than cash
- Convenient to carry around
- Enables the holder to get goods and services from specified sellers without paying immediately
- Some are acceptable both locally and internationally
- Enables the holder to get money from specified banks
- Increases credit rating of an individual
Disadvantages of credit cards
- To acquire the credit card, the applicant is required to have an established credit record
- The holder is charged high interest rate by the card company
- It is prone to abuse through fraud
- Interest is charged if there is delay in payment
- Can only be used by those who are 18 years and above
- Holder may be tempted to overspend
- Their use is limited to only specific areas(urban areas)
- Faces stiff competition from other means of payment such as cheques, money orders and postal orders.
- Only few businesses accept the cards
- Long procedures are involved in getting the cards
- The cards can only be affected by people with high income.
To Hire: Means to use someone else’s property for a payment
Hire purchase: Is a method of hiring property with an option to buy.
-The term of payment for a hire purchase are;
- The buyer pays an initial deposit(down payment)
- The remaining amount(balanced is paid in equal monthly installment spread over an agreed period of time
- The installments paid include interest which usually makes the overall price paid relatively higher than would be the case if the goods were obtained on cash terms.
-Goods sold on higher purchase are durable and expensive such as; vehicles, furniture, electronics e.t.c
-The buyer can only posses the commodity but not own it.Therefore’ the buyer cannot sell the goods to another person before all installments are paid
-Ownership of the goods remains with the seller. The goods are ‘on hire’ to the buyer.
-After completing the payment (after the last installment has been made),a certificate is issued to the buyer as proof of transfer of ownership
-Incase the buyer fails to make payment/defaults in payment; the seller can repossess the goods. However if the buyer has paid two thirds of the total/hire purchase price at the time of defaulting, the seller has no legal right to repossess the goods.
-The seller can only recover the remaining amount of money through a court action
-The seller must display both the cash price and the hire-purchase price on the items to enable the buyers to decide under what terms they want to buy the goods.
-A written agreement has to be entered into by both the seller and the buyer. The agreement safe-guards the intervals of all of them
-Examples of hire purchase businesses operating in Kenya include; Africa Retail Traders (ART), Kukopesha, Singer and Amedo.
-For salaried people, the hire purchase has introduced a system where the installments are deducted directly from the buyer’s salary every month. This is called the check-off system. In this system, no deposits/down payments are required. The buyer’s employer takes up the duty of remitting the deposits to the seller on a monthly basis.
Advantages of Hire purchase
To the buyer
- The buyer acquires possession and use of goods immediately after entering into the contract
- Installments to be paid are pre-determined, so the buyer knows and is able to budget for this amount
- One can acquire expensive goods/items which are difficult to get on cash terms
- Payment is spread over a long duration of time making it convenient/suits the buyer’s income
- Raises standards of living despite limited resources
To the seller
- The goods belongs to the seller until the last installment is paid
- He/she can repossess the goods in case the buyer defaults in payments
- The seller is able to make more profit due to higher prices in the long run
- The sales volume increase due to greater ability by customers to pay/more buyers are attracted to hire purchase terms leading to more sales
- No refund is payable to a buyer for goods repossessed from him/her
- Due to the check-off system, chances of non-payment are minimized.
Disadvantages of Hire purchase
To the buyer
- The hire purchase price is higher than the cash price.
- The goods belong to the seller until the last installment is made
- Because of the easy payment terms, the buyer may be tempted to overspend which might lead to financial problems
- The variety of goods sold on hire purchase terms is limited to those goods that are durable
- If the buyer defaults in payment, the already paid ones are treated as hire charges and are not refunded.
- Goods may be repossessed if the buyer defaults in payment
To the seller
- Goods repossessed can only be sold as second hand
- There is a lot of documentation and filing of information/records
- The cost of operating the business is usually very high
- The risks of loss on hire purchase sales are normally high as some buyers may default in payment
- High amount of capital is needed to finance a hire purchase business
- A lot of money is spent on repair of damaged goods
- A lot of capital is tied and held in stock and debts.
- Installment Buying/credit sale(deferred payment)
-In this form of credit selling, the buyer is not required to pay a down payment. Payment for the goods is made in equal installments spread over a period of time. These installments cover interest and related costs of selling.
Other features of installment buying
- The ownership and possession of goods passes on to the buyer immediately the first installment is paid
- Once the goods have been sold, they cannot be repossessed by the seller even if the buyer defaults in payment.
- In case the buyer defaults in payment, the seller can obtain compensation through court action.
- There is a written agreement between the buyer and the seller(creditor)
- The buyer may dispose of the goods before paying for them fully
- Can be used for non-durable goods