Some Information About Trade Finance

Trade finance, also referred to as either import finance or purchase finance, is funding that is provided to companies to enable them to purchase finished goods. Generally, funding is made available either against the receipt of firm orders from customers or when the demand for a product made by a company is proven. Trade finance co-exists along with other conventional forms of funding such as invoice discounting, bank overdraft and factoring. Other forms of import finance include funding provided against letters of credit and schemes that fund the Vat part of exports.


Trade Finance – Who Does It Benefit

There are a number of potential small and medium enterprises (SMEs) out there in the market that feel stifled because of their inability to raise the funds that they require to foster growth through traditional factoring as well as banking. Such enterprises find it beneficial to utilise the innovative funding facilities offered by several private finance companies. The services offered by these finance companies help meet the funding requirement of the SME sector to some extent. Typically, they provide funding as follows:

  • Trade finance for the purpose of importing finished goods
  • Purchase finance against firm orders given by customers to meet the need to buy finished goods
  • Purchase finance to enable a company procure raw materials that are to be used in the manufacture of products
  • Export Vat finance to help companies fund the Vat element in export sales that are recoverable

Trade Finance – Why Should SMEs Consider

SMEs with potential growth possibilities that are experiencing financial difficulties could consider this mode of financing as it enables them to get up to 90% funding, utilise the services of experienced staff members without the burden of employing them and have the peace of mind that the supplier gets paid even before submitting the invoice to the customer, ensuring a lot of relief to businesses in terms of cash flow.

Trade Finance – How Does It Work

The trade financing option works as follows:

  • The SME that is in need of the funding receives an order from its customer.
  • The SME then sources the required goods from its overseas suppliers. The suppliers raise the invoice for the goods supplied.
  • The suppliers also ship the goods to the SME.
  • The SME supplies the goods to the customer who has placed the order and raises an invoice. The SME also marks a copy of the invoice to the finance company (such as Regency Factors PLC) that has agreed to provide trade finance.
  • The finance company provides funds to the SME after retaining an amount equivalent to the payment that has already been made to the supplier by the SME.
  • Once the customer of the SME makes the payment, the finance company releases the amount that was retained earlier.

Summarising, trade finance in the form of purchase finance or import finance is one of the popular methods of funding that small and medium companies having great potential for growth (but are unable to provide the required security for obtaining funding through traditional banking facilities) resort to.


Purchase finance – some basic information

Purchase finance is a flexible and non-traditional form of business financing for small businesses to obtain business credit. They provide immense benefits to those businesses that have a need to reach goods to customers on time. Examples of businesses that can use purchase finance are those who trade in clothing, toys, non-perishable goods, jewellery, finished consumer goods, etc. The facility can be fruitfully used by importers and exporters, wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers.

Purchase Finance – How Does It Work

When a business needs to pay for purchasing raw materials in advance, finance companies offer a type of bridging loan. A business that is interested in procuring this type of finance sends order details, supplier finance requirements, etc., to the selected finance company. The finance company pays the supplier for the goods that are ordered according to specified terms. The business then receives the raw materials/goods on time from the supplier.

The finance company enters into a mutually agreed-upon credit term with the business. The amount finance received is then repaid by the business according to a mutually agreed-upon finance charge on a specified date/over a period of time.

The finance company does not buy stock or invoice the customer. Most companies also do not even insist on any minimum values of transactions on an annual basis.

Purchase Finance – Charges

The finance companies generally charge on a monthly basis. Disbursements are charged at cost. The financing charges may vary among different companies. They are dependent on the volume and size of the transactions and for the period of time that the arrangement is open.

The financing charges are usually higher than the interest on bank loans.


Purchase Finance – Advantages

The most obvious advantage of purchase finance is the reassurance that comes with knowing that there is an option in addition to the existing finance facilities. Whereas it is difficult to get loans from traditional lending houses for businesses to stay afloat, purchase financing comes to their rescue.

It helps to improve cash flow. The business can carry on its activities with peace of mind with the knowledge that the supplier has already been paid off.

This method of finance can be used to fund additional purchase that may be required to take the business to the next level. It can also be used when there are seasonal peaks or sudden large orders as well.

Finance companies encourage prompt repayments according to schedules with discounts. This improves the purchasing power of the business.

For a business to obtain this form of funding there is no requirement that the goods need to be pre-sold. Raw materials required for manufacturing are not precluded either. This makes it an option that can be flexibly used according to the current requirement of the business.

It is a completely confidential service. There is no need to let the client or bank know about these finance transactions of the business.

However, purchase finance is not usually made available for start-up companies, businesses on the brink of insolvency, and those companies that are already running on a loss. The chances of a business obtaining credit are potentially lowered if the company has been summoned to court over non-payment of debts.


You can improve cash-flow, credit ratings, and save money through better finance arrangements


Invoice Finance (factoring) is a form of asset-based lending where companies are able to improve cash flow by selling their invoices or accounts receivable. In simple terms, companies factor to turn their invoices into cash to operate and grow. The main differences between factoring and traditional bank lending are the collateral used and the way payments are made. A bank loan is usually made against real estate, equipment and other hard assets.

How to maximise cash flow by using trade and invoice finance from BroadcastExchange on Vimeo.

With factoring, a business is not taking on any new debt. Instead, with factoring, a corporate obtain funds based upon its outstanding receivables; in other words, your corporate can receive funds for work that you have completed but, for which you have not yet received payment. Even better, you’ll receive these funds within 24-48 hours of submitting invoices.


Considered Invoice Finance (Factoring) as a Solution?

Factoring enables businesses to receive money as soon as they raise an invoice, delivering funding within a week to swiftly support cashflow when and where it is needed most therefore taking away all the stress of chasing customers for payment. The factoring service we offer enables the release as much as 90% of the value of each invoice, with the balance paid on collection, less a fee – no more waiting 30, 60 or even 90 days for payment.

How Does It Work?

Instead waiting 30, 60, 90 days or more for customers to pay, the business sells the invoice to a factor and receives an immediate cash advance (usually in 24 hours or less).

Factors charge a nominal factoring fee which is deducted from the reserve amount after payment is received from your customer. You do not have to modify your billing procedures except for the payment address. Your customers normally send payments to a bank lockbox in your name but this can vary depending on the factor.

Of course, you do not have to factor all your invoices. In fact, it’s a good idea to select the customers whose invoices you intend to factor, inform those customers where to send payment and maintain the billing consistency with the selected customers to avoidpotential errors and mistakes.

The types of Businesses for which factoring is ideal are:

  • Start-ups and established businesses.
  • Those struggling to meet their cashflow demands.
  • Rapidly growing companies.
  • Companies that pay staff and suppliers on a weekly basis.
  • Businesses with overdrafts under pressure.
  • Those with poor credit control.
  • Directors who want to reduce their personal security commitment.
  • Firms with too much cash tied up in unpaid invoices.

Compelling Reasons To Use Invoice Finance (Factoring):

  • Immediate increases in cash flow and availability of working capital.
  • Available to established businesses, start-ups and companies with credit issues.
  • No restrictive covenants regarding the use of funds.
  • No new debt on your balance sheet.
  • No long term commitments.
  • Extend persuasive terms to users without limiting cash flow.
  • Feel more confident about having the cash to grow at YOUR pace.
  • Reduce risk. If your client bankrupts, you still get paid.
  • Additional funds to take advantage of buying opportunities and discounts.
  • Unlimited capital. The only financing source that grows with your sales.
  • Pay suppliers on time to enhance your company’s reputation and help you take advantage of every possible trade discount.


Invoice Finance (factoring) can be used by most companies that engage in commercial or government sales. The three most important requirements are:

  • Your company must sell to other businesses or to government entities.
  • Your customers must be credit worthy.
  • Your invoices must be free of liens.

The Bottom Line:

Invoice Finance (factoring) insures a predictable and continuous flow of cash without adding debt to the balance sheet and without chasing customers for invoice payments. Cash advances from a factor can be used any way you choose without restrictions. Invoice Finance (factoring) provides peace of mind and the ability for business owners and managers to focus on driving their business forward.