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Invoice factoring vs bank loans

Small business owners face challenges when it comes to financing their businesses. Bank loans and invoice factoring are two of the most popular financing options available. Choosing between them depends on your business’s specific needs and financial situation. This article explores the differences between invoice factoring and bank loans and helps you decide which option is best for your business.

What does invoice factoring mean?

Invoice factoring is a financial solution that enables businesses to sell their outstanding invoices to a third-party company, known as an invoice factoring company, for a fee. The factoring company collects payments from the customers on behalf of the business. To learn more, check out the articles How invoice factoring works and Alternate financing options in trucking: A comprehensive guide for startups.

How much does invoice factoring cost?

The cost of invoice factoring depends on the factoring company and the type of contract you negotiate. Factoring fees range from 1% to 5% of the total invoice value. Other costs may be associated with invoice factoring, such as application fees and transaction fees.

What is an example of invoice factoring?

Suppose you’re a trucking company that has a $50,000 invoice due from a customer in 30 days. You need the money now to cover your operating costs. You sell your invoice to a factoring company for a fee of 3%. The factoring company pays you 97% of the value of the invoice upfront or $48,500. When the customer pays the invoice, the factoring company collects the full $50,000, keeping the 3% fee, or $1,500, as its profit.

Is there a difference between invoice factoring and invoice financing? 

Invoice factoring and invoice financing are two different financing solutions. Invoice factoring involves selling your unpaid invoices to a third-party company, while invoice financing involves using your invoices as collateral to secure a loan. With invoice financing, you are still responsible for collecting payment from your customers, whereas with invoice factoring, the factoring company takes care of collections.

What types of businesses use invoice factoring?

Small and medium-sized businesses that need quick access to cash commonly use invoice factoring. Industries that often use invoice factoring include trucking, manufacturing and staffing agencies.

What are bank loans?

Bank loans are a traditional form of financing where a business borrows money from a bank and pays it back with interest over a set period. The application process typically involves providing collateral and undergoing a credit check.

Types of bank loans for businesses

The most common types of bank loans for businesses include term loans, lines of credit and SBA loans. Term loans are a lump sum of money that is paid back over a set period with interest. Lines of credit are revolving credit accounts that can be used when needed and paid back when funds are available. SBA loans are government-backed loans designed to help small businesses.

Loan types to avoid 

Small business owners should avoid payday loans, car title loans and merchant cash advances. These loans often have high interest rates and fees, making it difficult to pay them back.

What is the largest business loan I can get?

The maximum business loan amount depends on your business’s financial history and credit score and the lender’s lending criteria. Invoice factoring provides a flexible solution, allowing companies to access the cash flow they need to cover their operating costs.

Comparing invoice factoring & bank loans

Let’s compare invoice factoring and bank loans in terms of qualifying requirements, the application and approval process, funding covenants, interest rates and fees, and additional services.

Qualifying requirements

To qualify for invoice factoring, you need to have outstanding invoices from creditworthy customers. With factoring, you also need to meet the factoring company’s eligibility requirements. To qualify for a bank loan, you need to have a good credit score, a strong business plan and collateral to secure the loan.

Application and approval process

The application process for invoice factoring is generally quick and easy, with approvals often given within one business day. The factoring company reviews your outstanding invoices and the creditworthiness of the companies that owe you money to determine the advance rate, factoring cost and additional fees. Once approved, you can typically receive immediate cash flow by having the factoring company deposit the funds into your bank account via ACH, wire or fuel card.

The application and approval process for a bank loan can be more time-consuming and involve several rounds of documentation and credit checks. It may take several weeks or even months to receive approval, and there is no guarantee that your application will be approved.

Funding covenants

Invoice factoring does not require funding covenants; usually, companies require a one-year agreement. Once your outstanding invoices are sold to the factoring company, the factoring company will bill and collect payment from your customers. This process can be beneficial for businesses with a high volume of outstanding invoices and long payment terms.

Bank loans often require funding covenants and long-term contracts. These contracts can include financial reporting requirements, minimum cash flow ratios and limitations on how the loan proceeds can be used. These restrictions can limit your flexibility and make it difficult to manage your business’s cash flow.

Interest rates and fees incurred

Invoice factoring rates can vary depending on the factoring company, invoice amount and payment terms. Factoring rates range from 1% to 5% of the total invoice value. In addition to factoring fees, additional fees may be associated with invoice factoring, such as application fees and transaction fees.

Bank loans charge a fixed interest rate that is determined by the lender and based on the borrower’s creditworthiness. There may also be additional fees associated with bank loans, such as origination fees, underwriting fees and prepayment penalties. If you are borrowing during a time when interest rates are low, this can be a good option. 

Additional services

Some factoring providers offer additional services, such as credit checks on potential customers, fuel discounts and staffing solutions like billing and collections. These services can be beneficial for small businesses without the resources to manage these tasks on their own.

Traditional banks may offer additional services such as credit cards, business checking accounts and investment services. However, these services may come with fees and additional requirements that can be difficult for small businesses to qualify for. This style of business financing is mainly for medium- to large-sized businesses with good credit.  

Which is the better option for your business?

Invoice factoring and bank loans are two different types of financing options that offer different benefits and drawbacks. Invoice factoring can provide immediate cash flow and flexible financing options, while bank loans can offer lower interest rates and longer repayment terms. Small business owners should consider their business needs and financial situation before choosing a form of financing. It is much more difficult to qualify for a bank loan or rolling line of credit, and when national prime lending rates are high, it can also be more expensive than factoring. 


Why don’t banks lend to small businesses?

Unlike invoice factoring services, banks may be hesitant to lend to small businesses because they are often considered high-risk borrowers with limited collateral and cash flow. Additionally, the costs associated with underwriting and servicing small business loans may not be profitable for banks.

Is invoice factoring a loan?

No, invoice factoring is not a loan. It is a solution through a financing company that entails businesses selling their outstanding invoices to a third-party company for a fee.

What are the disadvantages of debt factoring?

The disadvantage of factoring sometimes includes higher costs than traditional bank loans, but that is usually during times when bank rates are very low. It is important to compare your costs if you have both options available to you. 

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TAFS is More than Freight Factoring

As one of the industry leaders, TAFS assists trucking companies to increase cash flow with some of the lowest factoring rates in the industry and a 1-hour advance option.