Factoring and invoice discounting

How to choose a factor or invoice discounter


There are a variety of providers to choose from when considering factoring or invoice discounting, including subsidiaries of major banks and financial institutions, or independent providers.

You need to be able to make an informed choice, so it's worth approaching more than one company before making a decision.

There are also a number of brokers that can negotiate on your behalf. They may not charge you as they will receive commission from the provider.

Providers should be willing to let you talk to some of their customers to gain references, and you should pay attention to a provider's reputation when considering using them.

Questions to ask

  • What is the funding provider's record in collecting debts quickly and efficiently?
  • How exactly does the provider operate? What are the procedures in detail and do they suit you?
  • How does the provider handle disputes and queries?
  • As the factor will become an 'insider' and be in frequent contact with you and your staff, do you see eye to eye on issues that are key to your business? Do you have a good initial rapport?
  • Does the provider have experience of your industry?
  • How is the provider likely to communicate with your customers (if it is a disclosed arrangement)? You should agree a general customer service policy with them to ensure they will not alienate your customers.
  • What will happen if a customer goes over the credit limit?
  • What happens if you want to end the agreement? What period of notice must you give? Most providers require three months' notice, but some have notice periods of up to a year which could be expensive for your business.