Back-to-Back Letters of Credit

Understanding Back-to-Back Letters of Credit

Back-to-back letters of credit are a financial arrangement involving two separate letters of credit used in a transaction between two parties.

These letters of credit are commonly utilized in international trade when companies from different countries engage in business transactions.

In back-to-back letters of credit, a third party, often a financial broker or intermediary, facilitates the transaction between the buyer and the seller.

The intermediary ensures that the agreed-upon payment is transferred from the buyer to the seller according to the contract terms.

This process involves using two letters of credit, hence the name “back-to-back.”

Back-to-back offers several advantages for companies conducting business across borders.

They enable secure trade while ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

However, companies involved in such transactions typically need to pay a fee to the intermediary for their services.

Back-to-Back Letters of Credit
How Back-to-Back Letters of Credit Works | Source: Export Genius

How Do Back-to-Back Letters of Credit Work?

In a back-to-back letter of credit arrangement, direct transactions between the buyer and seller are bypassed.

Instead, the parties engage a financial broker or third-party mediator to facilitate payment.

Here’s how it typically works:

  1. The buyer’s financier issues an LoC to the third party once the deal is confirmed.
  2. The seller adheres to the terms of the contract and delivers the product to the buyer.
  3. After successful product delivery, the third party’s financier issues an LoC to the seller, and the seller receives the full payment.