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Bill Discounting vs. Factoring: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on April 4, 2024
Bill Discounting is a financial service where a business sells its bill of exchange before maturity at a value less than its par value. Factoring is a financial arrangement where a business sells its accounts receivable to a third party at a discount.

Key Differences

Bill discounting is a financial service where businesses sell their unpaid bills (bills of exchange or promissory notes) to a financial institution at a discounted rate to receive immediate cash. Factoring, on the other hand, involves a business selling its entire accounts receivable or specific invoices to a factor (financial intermediary) to manage and collect the receivables for a fee or a percentage of the total value.
In bill discounting, the responsibility of collecting the payment from the debtor remains with the business. However, in factoring, the factor usually takes over the responsibility of collecting the debts, thus providing credit management services along with immediate funds.
Bill discounting is typically a short-term financing solution and is considered as a liability by the business. In contrast, factoring is not just financing but also includes managing sales ledgers, which can be a medium-term financial strategy.
The cost involved in bill discounting usually includes interest and service fees, and it’s based on the creditworthiness of the debtor. In factoring, fees are charged for the service of managing and collecting receivables, along with the interest for advance payment.
Bill discounting is mostly used by businesses for quick liquidity without transferring the control of sales ledger. Factoring is used by companies not only for immediate funds but also for outsourcing the management of their receivables, thus reducing administrative burden.

Comparison Chart

Primary Purpose

Quick liquidity through selling bills before maturity
Immediate funds and managing receivables

Debt Collection

Remains with the business
Transferred to the factor


Short-term financing solution
Can be a medium-term financial strategy

Cost Involvement

Interest and service fees based on debtor's creditworthiness
Fees for receivables management and interest on advance payment

Ledger Management

No change in sales ledger management
Sales ledger management often handled by the factor

Bill Discounting and Factoring Definitions

Bill Discounting

Selling an unpaid bill of exchange at a discount to receive immediate cash.
The company used bill discounting to improve its short-term cash flow.


Outsourcing receivables collection by selling them to a financial intermediary.
Factoring allowed the company to focus on core operations instead of chasing payments.

Bill Discounting

The process where a company sells its bill of exchange at a value less than its par value.
To finance urgent expenses, the firm opted for bill discounting.


Selling accounts receivable to a third party to get immediate cash.
The company sold its outstanding invoices through factoring to manage cash flow better.

Bill Discounting

Converting a bill of exchange into cash before its due date at a discounted rate.
Bill discounting helped the company meet its immediate working capital needs.


A financial transaction where a business sells its invoices at a discount.
To ease the burden of debt collection, the business opted for factoring.

Bill Discounting

A financial service where businesses get advance payment for its bills.
Through bill discounting, the business was able to access funds tied up in sales invoices.


A method of financing where a company sells its receivables to improve cash flow.
Factoring provided the needed funds without waiting for invoice maturity.

Bill Discounting

Availing cash against a bill due to be paid in the future.
Bill discounting provided the business with immediate liquidity against future payments.


Transferring control of receivables to a factor in exchange for immediate payment.
The business used factoring to turn its sales on credit into immediate cash.


One that actively contributes to an accomplishment, result, or process
"Surprise is the greatest factor in war" (Tom Clancy).


What is bill discounting?

Selling a bill of exchange before its maturity date at a discounted rate for immediate cash.

How does bill discounting benefit a business?

It provides quick liquidity by converting future payments into immediate cash.

Why do companies use factoring?

For immediate funds and to outsource the management and collection of receivables.

Is the debt collection responsibility transferred in bill discounting?

No, it remains with the business.

Does factoring include additional services?

Yes, it often includes receivables management and collection services.

What is the main cost in bill discounting?

The discount rate, which includes interest and service fees.

Who handles debt collection in factoring?

The factor usually takes over the responsibility of collecting debts.

Can bill discounting be considered a loan?

Yes, it's essentially a short-term loan against a bill of exchange.

Is collateral required for bill discounting?

Typically, the bill itself acts as collateral.

Do companies lose control over their sales ledger in factoring?

Often, yes, as the factor usually manages the ledger.

What does factoring mean?

A financial arrangement where a business sells its accounts receivable to a factor for immediate cash.

Can any business use bill discounting?

It's generally used by businesses with creditworthy customers.

How quickly can funds be accessed through bill discounting?

Usually within a few days after the discounting agreement.

Are all industries suitable for factoring?

Factoring is more common in industries where sales on credit are frequent.

Can bill discounting improve a company's credit rating?

Indirectly, by improving liquidity and meeting short-term obligations.

Is factoring a good option for small businesses?

Yes, especially for those needing cash flow management and debt collection services.

What types of fees are involved in factoring?

Service fees for receivables management and interest on the advanced amount.

Does factoring help reduce administrative burden?

Yes, as it outsources the management of receivables.

How does factoring affect a company's balance sheet?

It converts accounts receivable into immediate cash, improving liquidity.

What is the duration of bill discounting?

It's a short-term financing solution, usually until the bill's maturity.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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