Sellers who are insecure of their business partner's solvency status have several ways of verifying the company's financial situation:
They may obtain a reference from the trading partner's bank as long as the trading partner is listed in the commercial register. The bank reference contains general information on the creditworthiness and solvency of the relevant client. However, only customers of the same bank can ask for a reference. Many German banks offer these services via internet.
They may also engage agencies specialized in account solicitation services. To be on the safe side, it is possible to sell claims to factoring agencies, some of whom work in international networks of corresponding agencies.
If the partner is a private or public limited corporation, annual financial statements are available free of charge in the commercial register. The same data can also be accessed via internet at the electronic company register (Unternehmensregister).
Insolvency cases are generally reported to the commercial register and announced publicly by the local courts. In addition, the local Chambers of Industry and Commerce offer debtor listings (Schuldnerlisten) which contain data about local entrepreneurs, who pleaded indigence under oath or whose insolvency proceedings had been rejected due to lack of assets.