What is Invoice Finance? A Beginners Guide

Invoice finance helps you get quick access to the money you're owed through your invoices, without having to wait for your customers to pay!
Close up image of different invoices

Have you ever found yourself struggling to cover day-to-day expenses, because you’re waiting for your customers to pay you? Don’t worry, this is a common scenario for business owners, and it’s where invoice finance comes to the rescue.

In this blog, we’re going to be answering the common question, “what is invoice finance?”. We’ll also go into the basics of this fast-growing funding solution.

What is invoice finance?

In a nutshell, invoice finance is a funding solution which allows you to quickly access the cash tied up in your unpaid invoices. You’re essentially getting the money you’re owed by your customers immediately, without having to wait for them to pay.

The average business in the UK waits 31 days to get paid by their customers. Imagine removing that wait altogether and instead getting paid within 24 hours. That’s what invoice finance does.

Here’s how it typically works:


You issue your invoices

You provide your goods or services to your customers. You then send out invoices with payment terms. 


There's a cash flow gap

Now you’re waiting for your customers to pay those invoices. This creates a gap in your cash flow.


Invoice Finance Steps in

Your invoice finance provider pays you a significant portion (usually 80 – 90%) of the invoice’s value within 24 hours of upload.


Payments are Collected

Your customers then pay the full amount to the invoice finance provider. Who will deduct the fees and send the remaining balance to you.

Factoring vs Discounting - what's the difference?

Factoring: Invoice Factoring is where the invoice finance provider handles credit control and chasing up payments on your behalf. Your customers are also made aware of the factoring arrangement.

Discounting: Invoice Discounting is where you handle your own credit control. The finance provider works more in the background. This is a more discreet option as you don’t have to tell your customers about the financing arrangement.

Please note: Apollo does not offer invoice discounting. We instead offer a Client Handles Own Credit Control (CHOCCS) service. This is where you handle your credit control, but your customers will still be made aware of the factoring arrangement.

The Benefits of Invoice Finance

Invoice finance is quickly becoming a go-to alternative funding option for many business owners. This is mostly due to the wealth of benefits it provides. 

Here are just a few but if you’d like to read more about the benefits, check out our benefits of invoice finance blog.

Immediate Cash Flow Boost

One of the best things about it is the immediate access to cash it provides. Instead of waiting weeks or even months for your customers to pay their invoices, you get the majority of the money in a matter of days. 

This can be a game-changer. Allowing you to cover upcoming expenses, capture new opportunities, or just have peace of mind knowing you have the money when you need it.

Effective Cash Flow Management

Income can be unpredictable when you’re a small business. Seasonal fluctuations, delayed payments, and unexpected expenses can strike at any time. 

Invoice finance provides stability by turning those unpaid invoices into cash. This stability helps you manage your finances better, making it easier to meet financial obligations.

No More Hassle Collecting Payments

Chasing late payments can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. It can strain customer relationships and take your focus away from important business activities. 

With invoice finance, the responsibility of collecting payments often falls to the finance provider. They have the resources to ensure timely settlements, leaving you with more time to concentrate on your business.

When Should Small Businesses Consider Invoice Finance?

Invoice finance is a valuable financial tool for most small businesses. However, there are some scenarios which benefit the most:

Cash Flow Gaps

Invoice finance is a valuable financial tool for most small businesses. However, there are some scenarios which benefit the most:

Rapid Growth

Many businesses face uneven income throughout the year. Off-seasons can be challenging. Invoice finance can help bridge income disparity by providing consistent cash flow.

Managing Operations

Whether it’s covering payroll, rent, utilities, or stock, consistent cash flow is needed. Invoice finance offers a predictable source of working capital, helping you manage these costs with confidence.

Am I Eligible?

At Apollo, we’re pretty lenient with eligibility criteria. Here’s our criteria:

We’re also happy to fund regardless of business size, adverse credit history, and CCJs. 

Some financial providers might have stricter eligibility criteria. It’s good to shop around and find a provider that works best for you.

If you’d like to learn more about our eligibility criteria, check out our FAQ page.

Fees and Costs

Understanding the financial aspects is important. There are a few key fees and costs to consider:

1. Service Fees: Providers charge fees for their services. These are typically a percentage of the invoice amount, which can range from 1% to 5% or more.

2. Credit Control Fees: Some invoice factoring companies may charge you credit control fees. However, Apollo offers this free of charge.

3. Additional Costs: Some providers may have additional charges. Such as setup fees, termination fees, or administration fees. It’s important to discuss these additional charges with your provider.

Because it is a tailored financial service, fees can vary between different facilities. If you’re interested in invoice finance, make sure to speak to your provider about fees.

How to Get Started with Invoice Finance

Getting started is easy! We’ve aimed to make the process as simple as possible:

Submit Your Application

Submit your application and gather the necessary documents. This typically involves providing financial information.

Approval and Setup

We’ll then assess your application. If approved we’ll work together to set up your financial arrangement in a matter of days.

Get Paid Within Days

Once the facility has been set up, you can start getting paid! You’ll be assigned a client manager and a log-in for our online portal.

About Us

Apollo Business Finance is one of the UK’s fastest-growing independent invoice finance lender. We provide businesses of all shapes and sizes with the cash flow support they need to grow, regardless of credit history or past hurdles.

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