Invoice financing

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What is invoice financing?

Invoice financing, as the name suggests, is a form of lending based solely on invoices. It involves a third party, often a bank, buying up your unpaid invoices or lending you money against the value of the accounts receivable.

So as your business continues to provide services or goods to your customers, you in turn hand these invoices to a provider who pays your business a percentage. Once the invoice is paid and the service charge of the provider is covered, you’ll receive the remainder of the sum.

As money is often tied up in invoices during the day-to-day running of a business, this form of financing can potentially speed up cashflow.

Types of invoice financing

There are two main types of invoice financing:

  • Factoring, also known as debt factoring, is when the invoice financier collects the money owed by your customers. This means you are not taking out a loan but selling an asset worth revenue. It is usually large-scale companies that opt for factoring
  • Invoice discounting is when the invoice financier lends you money against your unpaid invoices, but you continue to collect money from your customers. This money then goes towards paying off your loan. Invoice discounting is most suited to established companies with an annual turnover of at least £250,00

How does it work?

How invoice finance works depends on the type of agreement you enter into.

With factoring, the invoice financier buys the debt owed to you by your customer, making a percentage of the amount – usually about 85% – available to you up front. The financier then collects the debt directly from the customer and pays you the remaining balance once the money is in the account – all in return for a fee and interest charges.

When it comes to invoice discounting, the financier loans you the money owed, and you repay this loan as your customers pay their invoices. You remain responsible for collecting the invoice payments, while interest charges, as well as a monthly fee for the service, still apply.

What are the advantages of invoice financing?

  • Invoice financing allows you to access funds you are due without waiting for your clients or customers to pay the amount owed, and therefore saves your business valuable time and speeds up cashflow
  • In the longer term, invoice financing can be a useful tool to ensure a business runs smoothly even when clients fail to pay on time. Providers will often take charge of chasing expected payments and providing credit checks for potential customers
  • Invoice financing makes for a flexible option as you can increase the fund request as your revenue grows, as well as scale it back when you need to

What are the disadvantages of invoice financing?

  • There is a cost associated with invoice financing, which means you won’t receive the full income from the services you provide, as the third-party takes a cut including a monthly interest rate and service fees
  • You may also find it harder to get funding from other sources when using invoice financing, which is not generally available to businesses that sell to the public
  • Providers will only lend against invoices due from clients or customers they expect to pay
  • You will need to satisfy the provider that you can manage your own invoice administration

Compare business invoice financing providers on MoneySuperMarket

Shopping around for financing providers at MoneySuperMarket is an easy way to find the best deals suited to your specific business needs. By answering a few brief questions about the type of business you run and what it is you’re looking for, we’ll give you a tailored list of great options for you to consider. We make it easy for you to browse, compare and most of all, provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. Once you know what you want, you’ll be led to the provider to finalise your deal.

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