Revision with unchanged content. With the introduction of Basel II, the interest for external credit ratings for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has increased. Theoretically, an external rating includes high potentials for SMEs to solve the problems they currently are faced with. The question remains however: Why have only a small number of ratings been implemented so far? Why is the adequacy and usefulness of external ratings still in question? The author has implemented an empirical research comprised of a survey of externally rated SMEs and interviews with bank clerks focused on finding an answer to the following questions: How does an external rating for SMEs work and what are its theoretical potentials and weaknesses? What are companies’ experiences with external ratings, especially vis-à-vis banks? Can external ratings ameliorate the structural and financial problems of SMEs? Do banks take an external rating into consideration when granting credit? What are the influential factors and future prospects? A book for SMEs, banks, rating agencies, consultancies, students and all those who are interested in rating, the consequences of Basel II and approaches to improve the competitiveness of SMEs.