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Accounts Receivable Financing

This form of financing is a type of secured loan in which accounts receivable are pledged as collateral in exchange for cash. The loan is repaid within a specified short-term period as the receivables are collected.

Accounts receivable financing is most often used by businesses facing short-term cash flow problems. The major source of accounts receivable financing for small businesses are commercial finance companies, although banks will also consider receivables as security for a business loan.

Sliding scales. Accounts receivable are typically "aged" by the borrower before a value is assigned to them. The older the account, the less value it has. For example, financiers often lend approximately 75 percent of the face value of accounts less than 30 days old. Some lenders don't pay attention to the age of the accounts until they are outstanding for over 90 days, and then they may refuse to finance them. Other lenders apply a graduated scale to value the accounts so that, for instance, accounts that are from 31-60 days old may have a loan-to-value ratio of only 60 percent, and accounts from 61-90 days old are only 30 percent. Delinquencies in the accounts and the overall creditworthiness of the account debtors may also affect the loan-to-value ratio.

A monthly interest rate on accounts receivable is calculated by applying a daily percentage rate to the receivables outstanding each day (the less the outstanding receivables, the lower the interest charge). A default on payment can result in the financier seizing the pledged accounts receivable. Some states require notice to the business's debtors that their debt has been pledged as loan security. In states that do not have this requirement, some businesses do not notify their customers because the businesses fear that customers might perceive this method of financing as a sign of financial instability.