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Documentary collections


Documentary collections

Make secure payments through the international banking system and maintain control of your goods

Documentary collections provide a secure, universally-recognised way of sending and receiving payments overseas. Put simply, the exporter submits documents to their bank; once payment has been received, the importer takes control of the documents, as well as the goods. These documents can be financial (e.g. draft or promissory notes) or commercial (e.g. invoices or transport documents).



If your business needs to make or receive payments through the international banking system, then consider documentary collections.

Documentary collections are used when the exporter has confidence in the importer's ability and willingness to pay. However, the exporter retains control over their goods until payment is made.

If you haven't found what you're looking for or have any additional questions please call us using the 'Get in touch' contact information.

Import Collections cover the importer against performance risk. In other words, you only pay once you have received the goods or service. If agreed with your supplier beforehand, there's always the option to pay later after receiving the goods too.

In this case the product will give your supplier the confidence that they will be paid at a future agreed date so you can keep your cash for longer!

How they work

After the goods are shipped, your Supplier presents shipping documents, together with their instructions, to their bank. The Supplier's bank then forwards them to your bank to arrange payment.

Your bank acts on behalf of the supplier's bank to collect the payment from you, or a promise that you will pay at a later date if you have agreed this with your supplier.

A promise to pay usually involves you accepting a Bill of Exchange (a document which you would sign stating you are accepting that you will pay a stated amount immediately, or at an agreed time in the future). Under the Collection agreement, your bank will not release the shipping documents to you (so you can collect the goods on their arrival), until you have the signed Bill of Exchange.

Key benefits

Enhanced cash flow - you don't pay for the goods until you actually receive the documents saying that they have been shipped, allowing you to keep cash in your account for longer.

Cost efficient - There's no need for a capital-weighted bank facility.

Safe - Documentary collections are more secure than paying for your goods in advance as you only make payment upon proof of shipment.

Universally accepted - Documentary collections are subject to globally-recognised rules issued by the International Chamber of Commerce.

Easy to manage - you can manage your import collections electronically using MaxTrad, our online trade banking service

If you haven't found what you're looking for or have any additional questions please call us using the 'Get in touch' contact information.

Export Collections can be used in situations where you would like more certainty of getting paid by your overseas buyer. For instance, you may have built some trust with a buyer but you still feel you need some extra confidence around getting paid, rather than sending an invoice and awaiting payment.

With export collections, you keep control of the goods that you have shipped until the importer can see that delivery of the goods has been made and agrees to pay.

How they work

Known as an Export Collection, you as the exporter ship the goods and present your shipping documents, together with payment instructions to your bank who will send these to the buyer's bank.

Under the Collection agreement, the buyer's bank will only release the shipping documents once the buyer has either made payment or promised to do so at a future date agreed by you.

Because payment is not made until after the goods are shipped, there is risk for the seller while goods are in transit or storage until payment or a promise to pay has been agreed.

The banks involved do not guarantee the payment and so it is recommended to always check the buyer's credit status and reputation before agreeing to an Export Collection.

Key benefits

You stay in control - you control the shipping documents until the importer accepts a bill of exchange or their bank makes a payment.

Simple and easy to use - documentation is turned around quickly.

Universally accepted - Documentary collections are subject to globally-recognised rules issued by the International Chamber of Commerce.

Speeds up cash flow - deferred payment collections can frequently be discounted with your bank.

Easy to manage - you can manage your export collections electronically using MaxTrad, our online trade banking service

To apply, download the Export Collection application form (PDF, 48KB) and return it to your Relationship Manager.

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If you haven't found what you're looking for or have any additional questions please call us using the 'Get in touch' contact information.