Confidential invoice discounting (CID) is an invoice finance product that allows you to borrow funds – up to 90% of the outstanding invoice value – against the outstanding invoices on your sales ledger. In contrast to factoring, discounting remains confidential between the lender and the borrower.
You will need to re-divert customer payments to the trust account (in your name) of the lender, but your customers and clients just keep paying as normal and do not know the lender is involved.
Any B2B company that sells on payment terms could be suitable for confidential invoice discounting. We tend to see CID lenders focusing on businesses with 2+ years’ of trading and in the majority of cases, profitable (or at least having strong funding and showing a move towards profitability).
There are no sectors that are counted out automatically of confidential invoice discounting, but the lenders are looking for real tangible proof points of invoice quality. As an example, a business that raises invoices based on signed off timesheets is going to be more attractive to lenders than one with no sign-off and a less tangible product. There is a range of appetites around export but many lenders are willing to lend against export debts, although naturally there are more lenders with an appetite for G7 than sub-Saharan Africa.
Confidential invoice discounting is a B2B only product. It tends to suit businesses where the credit-worthiness of their customers is very good. You are much more likely to be able to raise 90% of a 100k invoice to Sainsbury’s than you are to the local stall. If your sales process includes billing upfront or heavy retentions, then confidential invoice discounting might not be for you and equally, confidential invoice discounting is unlikely to work for you if your model is based on subscription revenues.
There are a range of CID providers, the high street banks such as RBS and Lloyds have large ID books and tend to take on the strongest clients in the market.
There is a wide range of independent providers as well, each with their own niches and specialities, these include Bibby, Ultimate, Advantedge and IFG. Further, if you fall out of their CID criteria, these providers will tend to have a slightly different product, be it factoring, selective invoice finance or wider asset based lending products that should provide a similar solution to cash tied up in unpaid invoices.
How your business can benefit from invoice financing? Invoice finance