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Documentary Credit

By using an Export Documentary credit, you can gain a considerable competitive edge, boost your cash flow and gain control of your risks. It can also serve as a financing instrument and is a globally used method of payment in international trade. Use the export documentary credit when your customer is situated in a country which is economically or politically unstable, or if the country's legislation or other statutes so require. The documentary credit can also be used to finance the term of payment.

Your benefits

  • You can get financing for your term receivables under certain conditions.

  • Ability to finance your supplier credit with letter of credit as collateral, which means you can offer your customer longer credit without burdening your own liquidity.

  • In an unconfirmed export documentary credit the buyer's bank undertakes to pay the receivable against credit conforming documents. This means that the risk related to the buyer is eliminated.

  • Eliminate the risk related to the buyer's bank and country with an export documentary credit confirmed by Nordea.

  • All documentary credits are issued following the international documentary credit rules (UCP 600).

  • The banks involved will act according to the internationally accepted rules of the International Chamber of Commerce.

  • You can offer credit and/or obtain financing. 


A Documentary Credit helps your company to hedge against the risks related to exports trading. The buyer's bank issues an irrevocable payment undertaking to your company provided that your company presents to the bank documents conforming to the terms and conditions of the documentary credit during its validity.

The repatriation of sales receivables involves risks. Even if the buyer usually settles its payment liabilities without cause for complaint, unstable political and economic circumstances may affect the buyer's liquidity and ability to pay. The use of a documentary credit diminishes the risks related to a foreign buyer. It can also be used to finance the term of payment.

It is recommended to use a documentary credit when the trade relationship is new or the value of the trade is significant to the buyer or your company. The same goes for the manufacture of special goods made to order or a project delivery where the payment is made as deliveries are made or as the work progresses.

Through Trade Finance Net Services (TFNS) you will, among other things, be electronically advised of a documentary credit.

D/C terminology

At sight documentary credit

The seller will be paid after having presented documents conforming to the terms and conditions of the documentary credit.

Deferred payment documentary credit

A deferred payment documentary credit is used when the seller grants the buyer a term of payment. The seller will be paid when the term of payment has elapsed. The seller can request its bank to change the term of payment of a confirmed deferred payment documentary credit to a cash remittance. The bank then discounts the receivables related to the deferred payment documentary credit.

The parties to a documentary credit

A documentary credit usually has four parties: the buyer, the exporter and the banks of the before-mentioned parties.

  • Seller/exporter = Beneficiary

  • Buyer = Applicant

  • Seller's bank = Advising/Confirming Bank

  • Buyer's bank = Issuing Bank 

Special D/C’s - Flexibility to payment arrangements

Transferable documentary credit

When your company acts as an intermediary between the buyer and the supplier: a transferable documentary credit opened in your favour can be transferred to the supplier who then gains the security provided by the documentary credit. However, your company will still maintain the security of the original documentary credit.

Back-to-back documentary credit

Can be used when the original documentary credit is not transferable. In practice a back-to-back documentary credit means an import documentary credit opened in favour of the supplier. The terms and conditions of this documentary credit follow the original documentary credit opened in favour of the first beneficiary. The collateral issues of a back-to-back documentary credit will be solved with ordinary credit processing arrangements.

Revolving documentary credit

An alternative available to your company if your trading involves recurring long-term deliveries. The most significant advantage of a revolving documentary credit is often the security it brings to receiving payments for future deliveries. This diminishes the uncertainty of whether or not to begin production. A revolving documentary credit can revolve either in terms of time or amount.

Export Documentary Credit Visual Process

Please contact us for more detailed information about each step.