Trade Services

Helping you get ahead abroad

We offer a range of useful services if your business trades internationally or is considering trading abroad. You’ll find details of our most commonly used services below.

For more information about any of these or our other international services, please contact your Relationship Manager or call us on 0345 606 0286.

  • Documentary letters of credit are internationally recognised instruments that help ensure the creditworthiness and payment of your overseas trading partners.

    How they work

    • Subject to internationally agreed banking rules.
    • As an exporter (seller), you can benefit from assurance that payment will be made to you by a bank and retain control over your goods until payment is assured.
    • As an importer (buyer), you can ensure that payment by you to your supplier will only be made if your supplier complies with the terms set out in the documentary letter of credit.
    • As an exporter (seller), you can look at the option of raising finance against the documentary letter of credit issued in your favour, as well as mitigate the payment risks associated with selling to buyers overseas.
    • Can give you more confidence when trading in new markets and/or with new suppliers.
  • Documentary collections can help you manage international trade transactions by retaining control of the goods and the timing of payment. If you’re importing, the bank will release documents to you upon your authority to pay, or your acceptance of a bill of exchange payable in the future. If you’re exporting, the bank will control release of documentation to the buyer against either payment by the buyer or their promise to pay where you have agreed this.

    How they work

    • If you’re importing, you will be able to examine the documents before payment is made, or examine the goods before payment is made where payment has been promised at a future date.
    • If you’re exporting, you’ll be able to retain an element of control over the release of your goods against the buyers payment or promise to pay.
    • Documentary collections can be used to reflect a growing relationship of trust that may allow for improved terms in your trading business, e.g. better prices or longer credit terms.
    • You’ll benefit from a more controlled method of payment than dealing on an open account basis – the bank collects payment against bills of exchange and/or documents after goods are shipped.
  • We can provide a wide range of guarantees to support your international trading activities. Generally this will offer your trading partner the reassurance of the bank’s commitment to pay a sum of money to them in specified situations.

    How they work

    • For exporters (sellers), guarantees can allow you to bid for contracts that you might not have otherwise considered.
    • For exporters (sellers), guarantees can help you manage your cash flow by enabling cash to be released from your buyers at an earlier stage in your contract.
    • For importers (buyers), guarantees can offer your suppliers security for payments to be made to them. This may allow you to improve the terms of your contract with them.
  • When your business is growing rapidly and becoming more international, your financing needs will increase and you will face new risks. You may want to finance your growth to help manage these new risks. We provide a range of trade facilities to help you to finance your growth when trading internationally.

    How they work

    • Gain access to finance tailored to your trade pattern.
    • Turn sales into cash more effectively. As sales grow, your finance needs will change.
    • Improved cash flow may allow you to win further sales by offering more generous credit terms.
    • Tailor your finance to manage the risks faced when trading internationally.

Open a business account

To open a business account with us, please visit our business accounts page. 

Business accounts