Factoring Receivables

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Written By
Contributor Image
Written By
Dan Buckley
Dan Buckley is an US-based trader, consultant, and part-time writer with a background in macroeconomics and mathematical finance. He trades and writes about a variety of asset classes, including equities, fixed income, commodities, currencies, and interest rates. As a writer, his goal is to explain trading and finance concepts in levels of detail that could appeal to a range of audiences, from novice traders to those with more experienced backgrounds.

Factoring receivables is a financial transaction where businesses sell their accounts receivable (invoices) to a third party (the factor) at a discount.

This practice allows businesses to obtain immediate cash, which is beneficial for companies needing to manage their cash flow more effectively.


Key Takeaways – Factoring Receivables

  • Cash now, pay later – Sell your invoices early for immediate cash flow, boosting operations and grabbing opportunities.
  • Shifting the burden – Trade credit risk with a factor (lender). Protects your business from unpaid invoices.
  • Costlier than loans – This flexibility can be costly. Factoring fees are higher than traditional financing. Ideal for short-term needs.


The Mechanics of Factoring

The process begins when a business sells goods or services to its customers on credit, generating invoices.

These invoices are then sold to a factor.

The factor then pays the business a percentage of the total invoice value upfront.

This percentage typically ranges from 70% to 90%. (It depends on the creditworthiness of the customers and the terms of the factoring agreement.)

Once the factor owns the receivables, it takes on the responsibility of collecting payments from the end customers.

After collecting the full amounts, the factor pays the remaining balance to the original business, minus a factoring fee.

This fee is a percentage of the invoice value and covers the factor’s service and the risk taken in the transaction.


Types of Factoring

Recourse Factoring

In recourse factoring, the business remains liable if the factor can’t collect the receivables.

If customers fail to pay, the business must buy back the unpaid invoices or replace them with others of equal value.

Non-Recourse Factoring

This type involves transferring the credit risk to the factor.

If the customer defaults, the factor bears the loss.

Consequently, non-recourse factoring usually costs more due to the higher risk for the factor.


Advantages of Factoring Receivables

Improved Cash Flow

It provides immediate access to cash.

This allows businesses to meet their current financial obligations without waiting for customer payments.

Some companies collect on a Net-30 to Net-90 basis, which can create cash flow issues in an otherwise good business.

Credit Management

Factors often manage the collection process.

This reduces the administrative burden on businesses and potentially improves the efficiency of collections.

Risk Mitigation

In non-recourse factoring, the risk of customer default is transferred to the factor.

Financial Flexibility

Businesses can use the cash received for various purposes, including inventory purchase, debt payment, or investment in growth opportunities.


Considerations and Risks


Factoring can be more expensive than traditional financing methods.

The cost includes the discount taken by the factor and additional fees.

Customer Relationships

Factors interacting with customers during the collection process can impact customer relationships.


Relying heavily on factoring can lead to dependency.

This may be risky if the terms become less favorable over time.


Some businesses may be concerned that using factoring signals financial instability. But this perception is changing.


Effective Annual Interest Rate in Factoring Receivables

A typical EAR for factoring receivables varies, generally ranging between 15% and 35%.

This rate reflects factors like the:

  • invoice amounts
  • creditworthiness of the debtors
  • industry risks, and
  • duration of the factoring period


Strategic Use in Business

Factoring can go beyond a financial tool for managing cash flow, and also be strategically employed in business operations.

Companies can leverage factoring to accelerate growth in ways that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

But it’s important to weigh the costs against the potential benefits.



Factoring receivables is a versatile financial instrument that offers immediate liquidity and risk management benefits.

Businesses should carefully evaluate the terms and conditions of factoring agreements and consider both the short-term cash flow benefits and the long-term strategic implications.