Difference between LC and SBLC – Simplified

Last updated by BankersClub on February 18, 2023

Letter of Credit (LC) and the ‘Standby Letter of Credit’ (SBLC) are used by Importers and Exporters in International Trade to ensure financial safety so that payment of the supplier is assured of payment once he has performed his obligation. While LC is used as a primary method of payment, SBLC is used when there is risk of buyer’s non-performance during the sale. So, what’s the difference between LC and SBLC? Let’s check out.

Benefit of using LC & SBLC is that, the buyer gets an assurance of receiving his product or merchandise on time, and the seller gets assurance of being paid on time on completion of the job.

Buyer’s Bank (issuing bank), opens a LC in the favor of the seller promising that seller will be paid. In this way, the seller will not suffer any loss due to non-payment of the buyer. On the other hand, bank also does not pay supplier until confirmation is received that goods have been shipped, thereby safeguarding the buyer’s interest. Payment to the seller is initiated only after all the conditions or documents of the contract are completed.

Based on this, there are two types of LCs being issued, they are:

[If you want to read by Letter of Credit and Documentary Credit, you can check out these books available on Amazon – Letters of Credit: Theory and Practice and A Complete Guide To Letter Of Credit And The UCP]

Payment under LC depends on the performance by the supplier, whereas payment under SBLC depends on the non-performance or default by the buyer.

To simplify, LC is a primary method of payment, while, SBLC is a secondary method of payment i.e., payment under SBLC will be made only when buyer defaults in making payment to supplier.

For example, if you order goods worth Rs.1 Crore and you have opened an LC in favour of Supplier, payment will be demanded from Bank and the LC opening bank will make the payment. You’ll pay the bank.

While, for the same transaction, if you have opened a SBLC in favour of supplier, payment will be demanded from you. The supplier will approach the SBLC opening bank, only if you fail to make payment.