What is a Payment Schedule?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 May 2020
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A payment schedule is a process that helps to define when, how, and in what form payments are due for a specific purchase. The idea behind defining this sort of schedule is to allow both the buyer and the seller to set reasonable expectations for payments on goods and services that are delivered as part of the transaction. There are several different ways for a schedule to be structured, depending on the terms agreed upon by the two parties, although most schedules will include a few basic elements.

Among the core issues address as part of a payment schedule is the amount of the payment to be tendered. This is easily one of the most important elements of the process, since the payment amount lets the buyer know what to pay and the seller to know how much to expect in receipt. In conjunction with the payment amount, the start date is also important, since that date identified when the first payment is due.

Defining the payment frequency is also an essential component of any payment schedule. This involves identifying if payments are to be tendered on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis, or any other regular schedule that is acceptable to the buyer and seller. Typically, the schedule will also address a specific date for each payment period that is considered the due date for the obligation. For example, the payment date on a weekly debt obligation may be identified as every Friday, while the payment date on a monthly obligation may be the 15th of each month, until the debt is settled in full.

It is not unusual for a payment schedule to include what is known as a rolling date. This is simply a mechanism that makes it possible to adjust the payment date in the event the date falls on a non-business day due to holidays or other events. For instance, if a payment is due the 25th of every month, the December payment date may be adjusted to 26 December in order to accommodate the Christmas holiday.

One final common component of any payment schedule is the maturity date of end date for the obligation. This is the date that the last payment is due in order to settle the debt in full. Depending on the terms of the contract between the buyer and the seller, this may also be the last date that the buyer can settle the debt without being assessed additional interest or late fees. Assuming the seller complies with all the terms of the payment schedule, the debt is paid in full on or before the end date, and the transaction is considered complete.

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