FAQ: International Finance

Is there someone who can help me get paid?

How can I collateralize my Letters of Credit backing prepayments from my buyer?

What prudent credit practices should I follow?

How Can I Finance Some of My Costs Related to Exporting?

Financing Your Export Sales Using Export Express

How can I find export financing?

Related Article: Uncle Sam Lends a Financial Hand (PDF)

Is there someone who can help me get paid?

In international trade, problems involving bad debts are more easily avoided than rectified after they occur. Credit checks and services such as the international company profile can also limit the risks. Export.gov has a section on payment disputes that can assist in locating the proper assistance center.

How can I collateralize my Letters of Credit backing prepayments from my buyer?

The Export-Import Bank's working capital financing provides companies with the liquidity to accept new business, grow international sales and compete more effectively in the international marketplace. The working capital loans are made by commercial lenders and backed by the agency's guarantee.

Importantly, for letters of credit issued under the guaranteed loan, Ex-Im Bank only requires collateral for 25% of the value of the letter of credit. Furthermore, for eligible U.S. exports, the collateral coverage is at generous rates (inventory up to 75% advance rate including work-in-process and foreign accounts receivables up to 90%). We encourage you to first contact an authorized lender for details.

What prudent credit practices should I follow?

There are a number of prudent credit practices. The common practices are listed below in the order of most secure to least secure:

1. Cash in advance;

2. Documentary letter of credit;

3. Documentary collection or draft;

4. Open account; and

5. Other payment mechanisms, such as consignment sales.

The Basic Guide to Exporting describes each of these practices in greater detail.

How Can I Finance Some of My Costs Related to Exporting?

There are two types of financing programs that help exporters finance their costs related to exporting: Working Capital Programs and the International Trade Loan Program. These programs and other financing ideas are available in “How can I finance some of my costs related to exporting?” (PDF) and in the International Financing portion of the Export.gov website.

Financing Your Export Sales Using Export Express

The SBA Export Express program provides exporters and lenders a streamlined method to obtain SBA backed financing for loans and lines of credit up to $250,000.  Lenders use their own credit decision process and loan documentation; exporters get access to their funds faster.  The SBA provides an expedited eligibility review and provides a response in less than 24 hours.

How can I find export financing?

Trade Specialists at 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) can help small businesses navigate sources of U.S. government export financing programs. The most significant financing assistance programs include the following:

  • “Finance Your Exports” on Export.gov
  • Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank)
  • Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)
  • State Government Services
  • Private Export Funding Company (PEFCO)

These programs are described better on the “How can I find export financing?” page on Export.gov.


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  Notice to Visitors!


  The link you have chosen will take you to a non-U.S. Government website.

  If the page does not appear in 5 seconds, please click this: outside web site

  BuyUSA.gov is managed by the International Trade Administration and external links are covered by its website disclaimer statement.