Why invoice discounting is becoming popular with retail investors on fintech platforms
Invoice discounting is one of the fastest and easiest ways to offset the impact of outstanding account receivables on cash flow. The concept enables businesses to gain instant access to cash by selling an invoice to a third party or a finance company.
With innovative finance solutions like invoice discounting, companies can improve their cash flow and strengthen the working capital cycle for uninterrupted operations and sustainable growth. The businesses rely on cash while they wait to liquidate their receivables.
Invoice discounting can help unlock the cash trapped within the supply chain and let companies explore new business opportunities.
Investors constantly look for investment avenues outside the traditional routes for better returns. Interested in profit maximisation in a short period, they are considering alternative options such as invoice discounting to avoid a lengthy timeline or any other dilemmas.
Earlier, banks used to manage the invoice discounting process and provided immediate credit to vendors against bills receivable. But now, this avenue is open for retail investors, and they are showing great interest across different fintech platforms.
How are invoices settled and why is it necessary?
Many transactions are settled using deferred credit schemes rather than through instant cash payments. For instance, a business sells goods or provides a service to a customer. The seller invoices the client, giving them a period of 90-120 days to pay. The business further sends the invoice to a third party, a financing company that buys the account receivable from the business. On acceptance, the finance company agrees to pay a certain percentage of the face value of the invoice (~80 percent) after deducting the interest charges for the credit period. After the customer makes a payment, the balance of the invoice is remitted back to the business by deducting a service fee. The merchants usually issue the exchange vouchers for purchases and sales after a specific pre-agreed time under the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881.
An invoice discounting financing solution helps bridge the credit gap between small and large enterprises by making it easier for an SME to gain access to export finance without any hard collateral or business financials.
Invoice discounting speeds up the clients' cash movement, and the companies don’t need to wait for clients to pay within their credit terms. Businesses normally pay a percentage of the invoice sum to the lender as payment for borrowing the cash.
Why invoice discounting is attracting retail investors
Though there are certain risk factors involved in the process, invoice discounting is attracting a massive number of investors on fintech platforms. The only criteria to avoid any payment risk is to analyse the company's brand value and check its credit history. The minimum investment amount may vary for each platform, and can be as low as Rs 50,000. The goal of investors is to grow their money while safeguarding their funds. And it is the sole responsibility of the invoice discounting platforms to connect verified investors and vendors seeking some returns.
There are various platforms on which businesses send their unpaid invoices to get working capital. Investors/finance companies are helping these businesses garner instant cash and get a return within a pre-agreed 30-90 days of their investment. Any individual, institutional investor, bank, or other financial institution can get invoice discounting with basic predefined KYC guidelines such as PAN card and valid Indian address proof verification.
Invoice discounting is a short-term investment plan that gives higher returns, and that’s one of the primary reasons it is attracting the interest of retail investors as funds grow in 90-120 days. As the tenure for funding ends, investors can get the principal amount with handsome profits. Investors can gain more annually by continually re-investing their returns from the previous investments.
Fintech platforms enable a hassle-free experience for investors when it comes to getting a lucrative return on their investment.
They get a seamless, digital investment option under professional guidance and management. Additionally, they get real-time updates about their investments and can access a personalised dashboard of their portfolios.
Digital access for all previous transactions and investments for ongoing deals helps in better finance management. Investors and finance companies face a rigorous verification process before going into any agreement for the authentication of the process.
To put it simply, invoice discounting can help grow the company, providing business owners immediate access to funds to ensure smooth cash flow and explore new opportunities. It’s like a loan that is provided based on the strength of the credit history of any business entity. SMEs can take advantage of this concept and free up their assets to secure their future growth and avoid debt traps.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)