Bill Discounting vs. Bill Purchase: Know The Differences

Effective fund management stands at the center of any and every business. A healthy cash flow is an indication that the business has the potential to thrive despite unprecedented fluctuations in the market. It is also crucial for businesses to maintain enough funds to bridge cash flow gaps and meet their operational needs in case of delayed payments.

Today, two of the most sought-after methods of gaining quick funds are bill purchase and bill discounting. While both these financial instruments serve similar purposes, they differ significantly in their nuances. The tricky part is picking the right solution when it comes to bill discounting vs. bill purchase.

As with any financial decision, it is important to carefully assess business needs when choosing the right financial solution. Knowing the differences between the two enables businesses to make decisions based on their cash flow requirements, risk tolerance, and control preferences. In this blog, we will explore the primary differences between bill purchase and bill discounting.

Differences Between Bill Discounting & Bill Purchase 

1. Purpose: 

Bill purchase in trade finance involves a financial transaction where a bank or a financial institution buys the bill (promissory note or bill of exchange) from the seller before its maturity date at a discounted value. The primary purpose of bill purchase is to provide immediate liquidity to the seller, who receives the bill’s face value minus a discount (interest).

Bill discounting in trade finance is where a bank or financial institution provides funds to the holder of the bill (drawer) before the due date. The drawer submits the bill to the bank, and in return, the bank pays the drawer the bill’s face value minus the discount (interest) as a type of a loan.

2. Process: 

Three parties are primarily involved in the bill purchase process – the seller, the buyer (bank or financial institution), and the debtor. Bill purchase is a comparatively simple transaction.

Here, a bank buys the bill of exchange from the seller, provides immediate funds to the seller, and assumes the responsibility of collecting the payment from the buyer at maturity. This process helps the seller to obtain working capital without waiting for the bill to mature and enables the bank to earn a profit through the transaction.

Bill discounting involves three parties as well – the seller, the debtor, and the bank or any other alternative financial institution. The seller gives the bill to the financial institution for discounting. 

After the discounting is complete, the financial institution provides the discounted amount to the drawer, and the bank holds the bill until its maturity date. If the debtor defaults, the financial institution may recover the outstanding amount from the drawer (seller) if recourse is applicable.

3. Risk & Responsibility: 

In bill purchase, the bank or financial institution has to take complete responsibility. The bank has to ensure that the buyer honors the bill and makes the payment upon maturity. If the buyer defaults, the bank bears the loss.

In bill discounting, the responsibility and risk are shared between the seller and the bank. The seller is responsible for collecting the payment from the buyer. If the buyer fails to make the payment in time, the seller can be responsible to compensate the bank for the discounted amount.

4. Control & Ownership: 

In bill purchase, the bank or the financial institution gains complete ownership and control over the bill after purchasing it from the seller. It has the right to receive the payment from the debtor upon maturity.

In bill discounting, the bank does not gain full ownership of the bill. Instead, it only holds the bill as collateral until the payment is submitted. Once the debtor pays the seller, the seller can repay the bank for the loan.

Get Excellent Export Factoring Solutions with Tradewind Finance 

Tradewind Finance specializes in cross-border transactions and finances trade globally for sales made on open accounts, letters of credit, and documentary collections payment terms. We solve short-term cash flow issues by purchasing your company’s accounts receivable in exchange for an advance of up to 95% of the total invoice value. You also get the flexibility to choose the best avenue to make the most of Export Finance.

  1. Export Factoring on Open Account Terms:

We first inspect the creditworthiness of your buyer and set a credit limit on them. Then, we buy your accounts receivable and pay you generally within 24-48 hours of invoice verification.

  1. Export Factoring via Payment Against Documents:

If you sell on documentary terms, we will advance the funds and handle the bank collections process.

  1. Export Factoring via Letter of Credit:

Your buyer opens a letter of credit with us, which guarantees you are paid if the terms and conditions specified in the letter of credit are fulfilled.

In addition to factoring your export accounts receivable, we can also finance your full supply chain. Our global supply chain finance programs can support facilities based on payables, receivables, and inventory. Using purchase order funding, inventory lending, letters of credit, and structured guarantees, our financing helps align the needs of both buyers and sellers.

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