Trade Finance

Trade Finance Meaning

Trade Finance is funding of trade transactions (both domestic and international) and it can be conducted in the presence of both buyer and seller of products and services and it can be facilitated with the help of various intermediaries like banking institutions and financial institutions.

Trade finance lets companies import and export their products and services with lots of ease and convenience. It signifies the financial instruments that an entity takes into its use to facilitate foreign trade and commerce. Trade financing not just includes all the facilities with respect to lending, but also includes issuing of LCs (Letters of Credit), export factoring, forfeiting, export credits, and insurance as well.

How does it Work?

Trade finance is one of the best convenient ways for the management of credit facilities. With this, the cash required can be accessed immediately instead of the need to wait for the buyers’ payments to pour in and usually provides leverage of 120 days to pay the cashback.

Trade Finance

Types of Trade Finance

Following are the types –

  • Trade Credit – Trade credit is a trust that lies in between a buyer and a seller with respect to payments that are proposed by the former to be paid at a date later to the latter.
  • Cash Advances – Cash advances are a payment of unsecured funds to exporting companies before the goods are being shipped.
  • Receivables Discounting – Receivables are financial documents that are sold at highly discounted prices for immediate payment.
  • Term LoansLong term debts such as commercial mortgages, loans, overdraft facilities are more sustainable options for funding compared to asset-backed financing.
  • Leasing & Asset-backed FinanceLeasing finance is all about borrowing several funds against valuable assets like vehicles, machinery, etc. Asset-backed financing allows companies to buy assets and worry less about their maintenance. Asset-backed financing provides tax benefits too.
  • Other Types – Seed funding, crowdfunding, angel investment, VC (venture capital) funding, floatation cost, etc. are the other types.

Methods of Payment used in Trade Finance

  • Advance payment – In this type of payment method, the buyer clears 30 percent of the payment to the supplier while ordering and the rest 70 percent when the goods and services are shipped to him.
  • L/C or letter of Credit – Letter of credit or L/C gives the seller of the goods and services two guarantees, confirming the buyer will initiate the payment. The first guarantee would be received from the buyer’s bank, while the second guarantee shall be received from the sellers’ bank.
  • Bills for CollectionBills of exchange are a type of payment method that ensures that the export has trust with respect to the collection of payment to his or her remitting bank.
  • Open Account – This type of payment method is used by partners of a business who have huge trust in each other. The business partners will need to have a separate bank account for this purpose with the correspondent banks.

How does Trade Finance Reduce Risk?

There are various types of risks associated with trade financing.

Trade Finance Risks

  • Product Risks
  • Manufacturing Risks
  • Transport Risks
  • Currency Risks

Trade finance helps in reducing the delay of the shipment of goods in a manner that these are received and inspected on time by the receiver which builds trust between the buyers and the sellers and minimizes numerous risks like delay in payments, issues in the exchange rate, loss or theft of products and services that could arise out of such complicated transactions. With this, various types of risks like product risks, manufacturing risks, transport risks, and currency risks can be mitigated or adequately dealt with all together.


It creates tonnes of equal opportunities for everyone. Trade financing is a mechanism through which the time-lagged between the shipment of a product or commodity from one market to its arrival in another market is efficiently bridged. Trade finance helps in the mitigation of numerous risks like loss or theft of products, also known as product risks, manufacturing risks, transport risks, exchange rate risks (currency risks), etc. By mitigating the probabilities of such risks, the buyers and sellers can trade freely without needing to worry about losses.

Trade finance also helps in establishing a profound and long-term relationship between a buyer and a seller as it takes charge of laying the foundation of mutual trust and understanding. It even eliminates the possibility of delay in payments as well as the supply of goods and services, which ultimately help in the development of a healthy and strong relationship between buyer and seller. It is a convenient way of arranging short-term finances, and it also helps a business focus on various types of growth activities. It allows securing finance against assets and insurance policy.


One of the reasons why trade finance is highly discouraged could be the fact that it can turn out to be very expensive if, in any case, the payments are delayed or are failed to be processed on time. Another reason could be the fact that it is certainly based upon the fact of having a decent track record in terms of repayments and business operations, and this makes the same lower accessible for newly formed companies.


Trade Finance is a type of short-term credit that is used by entities that are involved in the export and import of products and services. It makes securing short-term finance easy if at all, the company has a good trading record, and the transactions here are highly secured against assets and, in some cases, backed up by insurance policies. Trade finance also helps in dealing with risks like manufacturing risks, product risks, transport risks, and exchange rate risks.

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