What Are the Documents Required for LC Opening

by Axton Global
documents in office
Between 80% and 90% of world trade is covered by trade finance. Letters of credit are just one example of the type of trade finance a vast number of businesses use to make trade easier. In fact, the confirmation market size of letters of credit will reach approximately $4.22 billion in 2023. As an importer, receiving extended payment terms by providing letters of credit to sellers can be incredibly beneficial. To complete the application process, your bank requires documents for letter of credit approval.

If you aim to trade using letters of credit, you need to be prepared. Which documents for letter of credit applications do banks need, and which process should you follow for letter of credit documentation preparation? This article will give you the facts you need before applying.

What Can a Letter of Credit Do for Importers?

A letter of credit is a document that works as a conditional payment guarantee. This document can ensure your business protects itself against risks of non-delivery of products or goods from exporters. It also helps you show your creditworthiness to exporters or sellers and build trust when establishing an international trade relationship.

With a letter of credit, you also ensure the exporter ships the goods before you make your payment. This timely shipment makes profit-making and cash flow more manageable, as you can establish methods to sell the goods before paying the exporter. There are multiple documents required for letter of credit applications.
How to Negotiate Deferred Payments with Chinese Suppliers
With Sinosure insurance, you can get 120-days trade credit for your import from China.

What Are the Documents Required for Letter of Credit?

Knowing what documents are required for letter of credit preparation is an essential first step to start your application. It helps to understand the paperwork you need to present to your bank, as this can increase your chances of approval. Here are the main documents letter of credit applications require.

1. Commercial Invoice

The commercial invoice is a type of legal document used in international trade. Your exporter or seller will issue this paperwork to you as proof of the sale of goods. It is a type of document that works for import clearance processes. It includes a clear description of the merchandise with codes. It also includes prices of goods and details about the specific terms of sale, plus the quantities or amount of goods you are importing, information about your business, and the exporter’s details.

With a commercial invoice, your bank can ensure the details match the information on the letter of credit. Your bank will also ensure the currency designation is the same as the currency stated in the letter of credit before releasing your payment to the exporter.

2. Inspection Certificate

The inspection certificate proves that official bodies have inspected the goods. The official body that completes the inspection is typically an independent firm or third party. These documents reduce the chances of fraud and ensure that your business receives goods that align with the quality described in the letter of credit. Therefore, it ensures your business is protected against poor-quality goods.

Your bank will confirm that the goods align with the required standards before they pay the seller or exporter. In other words, they will use this document to ensure the third-party firm has verified the goods’ quality before issuing payment.

3. Bill of Exchange

You will need to provide your bank with a bill of exchange, legal paperwork specifying you will pay the exporter at a specific date in the future. It will specify the amount you will pay and the payment date. It also includes additional details such as the exporter’s information, the date of issuance, and information about how the payment should be completed.

4. Bill of Lading or Shipping Documents

A bill of lading is a document that the transportation business or carrier issues to the shipper. It is a type of shipment receipt that also contains information about the amount and type of goods the carrier is shipping. A few types of bills of lading exist.

Straight bills of lading are non-negotiable. This paperwork means the goods contained within it are only intended for the consignee named in the document. You cannot transfer goods to other parties with this document type.

In contrast, with a negotiable bill of lading, you can transfer the ownership of goods and align the order with other parties. For instance, you may use a negotiable bill of lading if you need to transfer ownership to a partner business or a separate entity that belongs to your company.

With a bill of lading, you and your bank can ensure that the goods match the information in the letter of credit. It ensures the exporter has completed their obligation to meet the conditions in the letter of credit.

5. Insurance Certificate

Your business will need to provide insurance certificates with your application for a letter of credit for the goods you receive. You can request this paperwork from the seller or exporter, and it covers your company against potential issues with goods.

For example, an insurance certificate covers you if the goods are lost in transit. They also cover your company if the goods are damaged during shipping. The cover specified in the insurance certificate should match the risks outlined in the letter of credit. The insurance cover can be cost and insurance paid or cost insurance and freight.

Since your bank is a mediator, they will expect your exporter or seller to provide documents related to their insurance coverage. They will review these documents in line with the letter of credit. Upon verification, they gain evidence that the exporter covers the damage costs and can release payment knowing their investment is covered.

6. Certificate of Origin

With a certificate of origin, you receive information about which country the manufacturer made the goods. More importantly, your bank can check whether the items align with the country of origin's regulations before you pay for them.

This is one of the letter of credit required documents that help banks ensure no trading restrictions apply to the country of origin. It also ensures your company and bank can determine custom tariffs, which are expenses related to imports from other countries.

7. Packing Lists

As an importer, you can request packing lists that help you identify what the shipped container contains. This paperwork provides the number of containers and shipping marks. It also features additional information, such as the weight of the package, the package’s markings, information about the carrier, exporter, and importer, a goods description, and the package type. It typically does not feature financial details.

With this paperwork, your bank can verify that the exporter has packaged the goods correctly. It helps guarantee that the goods are correctly shipped and protects your interests as an importer.

What is Involved in Letter of Credit Document Preparation?

Several key steps are involved in letter of credit document preparation. For example, knowing which documents are required is essential to avoid missing any crucial documents. You should then create a checklist and, as you gather the required paperwork, remove them from the list.

You will also need to ensure the paperwork complies with the bank’s requirements and are accurate. Then, check for paperwork errors that could delay your business’s payment to the exporter. Once you have submitted the documents to your bank, you must wait for the review and approval process.

Although this process seems complex, there is another option. Axton Global provides an alternative, easier process that gives you access to trade credits and helps you know that your application will be approved. Our services are tailored to global importers to simplify international trade. With us, there is no need to be concerned about forgetting specific documents. We will support your trade credit application process with a high level of expertise.

We help importers from all over the world to improve their trading terms with Chinese suppliers and extend payments to the supplier for 90 to 120 days using the Sinosure credit insurance tool

We help companies to obtain a new Sinosure credit limit, increase existing credit and provide comprehensive consulting services regarding Sinosure credit insurance
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