There are several options and tools to help with credit risk mitigation. You should weigh up the costs and benefits and investigate carefully to determine the best fit for your business.

Some of the most common tools are:


Many companies choose to self-insure by having bad debt reserves.

Setting aside funds for this purpose, enables your business to offset the deficit should you have any dummy unpaid invoices from your customers.. Cost considerations include:

  • Investing in credit management resources, systems and data to consistently analyse and monitor your credit risks
  • It may impact your sales, depending on your risk tolerance. You will not want one customer to eat up all your reserves should they go insolvent
  • It will impact your working capital
  • You may struggle to build reserves fit for large and unexpected catastrophic losses

Some companies may also consider proform invoicing – where payment is required before goods or services are provided. Find out more about the risks.

dummy Invoice finance gives you access to money from your outstanding invoices before your customers pay you. An invoice finance company dummy will purchase your invoices at a reduced amount of their face value, plus a fee. You could choose to get funding against a single/handful of debtors, or all of your outstanding invoices.

Factoring companies will also control the sales ledger and collect the debts.

Not all invoice finance companies will assume the risk of non-payment of the invoices they purchase (this is known as non-recourse finance). If they don’t, you will need to reimburse the funding if your customer does not pay.

Other impacts include:

  • It will affect your margin
  • You may lose control of customer relationships
  • Factors will have a maximum amount they are prepared to purchase

Letters of credit (documentary credits) provide certainty that you’ll be paid for the goods you export. A letter of credit is a promise by a bank that the payment will be made, as long as the right goods are shipped at the right time with the right paperwork. It protects both you and your customer by mitigating potential credit risks. For you, the risk of non-payment is transferred to the bank who issued the letter of credit.

 In developing markets, cash may need to be  secured by the buyer.

Impacts include:

  • Coverage is only for a single transaction for a single customer – regularly relying on this form of protection can be tedious and time consuming
  • It’s expensive for you and your customer in terms of absolute cost, administration, and credit line usage with the additional need for security

The claims process can be lengthy and laborious and can be derailed by minor discrepancies in paperwork.

Trade credit insurance protects you against unpaid trade debts. Credit insurers provide a three-tiered service: financial information on your customers (credit checks and monitoring), collection of unpaid debts and, if all else fails, you are protected by insurance.

The insurance premium cost is linked to the level of covered transactions, and additional service fees may be charged. The benefits are:

  • It secures trade with new and existing customers
  • It helps you select the most stable prospects
  • It enables you to offer competitive credit terms
  • You can save on credit information costs, third-party collection costs and protects your cash flow

Click below to find out more:

Can credit insurance and invoice financing work together?

Yes, when you need funding but also want non-payment security, you can work with your bank or factor and use credit insurance.

The bank or factor will provide the funding and the credit insurance policy will protect the invoices. That means, when a funded invoice goes unpaid, the claim payment will go to the funder.

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Credit insurance

Letter of credit



Cover / protection against credit risk


insolvency, protracted default and political risks


buyer default


Insolvency and protracted default if non-recourse finance


Additional services


credit risk information, risk assessment, market intelligence, debt collection



debt collection and credit information




but can facilitate financing


but can facilitate financing


converts invoices into cash for a fee


Customer relationships

Your customer is unaware of credit insurance contract. Better terms of payment enhance relationship

Both are aware of the set up

Collection by factor of trade receivable may affect client relations

Maintains direct relationship with customer






Cost of opportunity and bad debt reserve


There are several options and tools to mitigate credit risks. You should weigh the costs and benefits of these options and investigate carefully to determine the best fit for your company. Download and feel free to share this guide.

For a free credit insurance consultation call our UK team, 09:00-17:00 Mon-Fri.