Trade Finance vs. Bank Loans Part II: Your Options

Sadie Keljikian, Express Trade Capital

There are several varieties of trade finance that offer working capital flexibility well beyond that of a traditional bank loan. Whatever causes your particular cash-flow problems, chances are there is a trade finance solution perfectly suited to your needs.

Factoring and Purchase Order Financing are two of the most common varieties of trade financing. Both methods are ideal for vendors who sell large orders to retailers on open terms. Factoring is an agreement whereby you sell your open invoices to a company, known as the factor, and they then typically provide you with approximately 80% of the value of the invoices immediately. Your customer(s) then owe the factor the invoice total and you receive the remaining balance, minus factoring fees, when your customer pays your factor.

Factoring is an excellent solution for those who need payment for their outgoing orders immediately but are reluctant to decline offering open terms to their customers. Since factors usually advance funds based on a percentage of your invoices (i.e. your receivables) the credit line is only limited by how many invoices you can generate. Factoring allows you to fulfill as many large orders as you receive without worrying that your working capital will be held up or depleted by waiting to get paid on invoices.

Purchase order financing (also called “PO funding”) is similar, with some subtle differences. When you apply for PO funding, you must provide accurate, up-to-date purchase orders from your customers. Once the purchase orders are confirmed, you receive a percentage of the total value of the PO. Receiving payment ahead allows you to use those funds to pay for manufacturing and shipping costs which frees up your working capital, allowing you to take on more orders.

If your business has been hindered by suppliers, particularly if those suppliers are located internationally, a letter of credit may be the best solution for you. LCs replace deposits, cost of goods and shipping costs you provide to your suppliers and provide an extra layer of protection for both you and your supplier. A letter of credit functions somewhat similarly to an escrow in the sense that it assures the supplier of payment, but only on the condition that goods are shipped on time and received as expected.

Trade finance allows you and your business to grow and adapt by drastically increasing cash flow on multiple fronts. A growing business has more cash flow issues than most people realize and your company’s growth should be handled carefully, with the help of experts. Trade finance professionals understand that your business needs funding in order to operate and will not trap you in a cycle of debt and inflexible lending terms that will ultimately hurt your expanding business. By following a transactional model, trade financiers target funds to ensure that both the borrower and lender are made whole and protected all throughout.

Learn more about Express Trade Capital’s trade finance solutions here.

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