Irrevocable letter of credit

A letter of credit (LC) is the most frequently requested document for international commercial transactions, particularly when the buyer and seller are unfamiliar with one another, are separated by distance, and follow the laws and trading conventions of their respective countries. An irrevocable letter of credit (ILOC) is a sort of LC that facilitates transactions from the seller’s perspective. Read on to learn more about the cost and how to an irrevocable letter of credit.

What Is an Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILOC)?

An irrevocable letter of credit is a financial instrument used by banks to guarantee a buyer’s obligations to a seller. It is irrevocable since the terms of the letter of credit cannot be changed unless all parties agree.

Because of the significant risks involved, irrevocable letters of credit are frequently utilized to assist international trade. The irrevocable letter of credit guarantees the seller that the bank will pay if the buyer fails to pay.

An irrevocable letter of credit cannot be revoked or modified unless all parties involved, including the buyer, seller, and issuing bank, expressly agree. For example, once an ILOC is granted, the issuing bank does not have the ability to amend any of its terms.

How Does an Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILOC) Work?

With the support of their respective banks, an ILOC offers buyers and sellers security. The customer is not required to pay anything until the cargo is dispatched. And, as long as the letter’s stipulations are met, the seller will receive his or her money. An ILOC operates in accordance with the provisions of the letter and the documents attached. However, the fundamental features of each LC stay the same. The prerequisites and elements are stated below.

  • The payment is guaranteed by the bank.
  • The LC is issued on the buyer’s behalf to pay the vendor the specified amount of money.
  • To verify the provision of goods/services, a precise collection of documentation is necessary.
  • Dates, locations, time limits, and the type of transaction must all be specified.
  • All documents attached must adhere to the LC.

Once the goods have been transported, a set of documentation detailing the shipment will be provided to the buyer’s bank in accordance with the terms and conditions agreed upon by the parties involved. The buyer’s bank then forwards these documents to the seller’s bank for approval and payment. When the package arrives, the bank forwards the LC to the seller along with any relevant papers for claiming.

Read Also: What Is Residual Income and How To Increase It?

An LC, while given for security grounds, does not eliminate dangers. To ensure seamless transactions and a guarantee of payment to the seller, both parties. This means the buyer and the seller, must follow the conditions of the letter with 100 percent compliance.

If something goes wrong, the bank has the right to withhold payment. This contains the following items:

  • Significant issues, such as shipment delays
  • Minor issues, such as a typo in the papers

As a result, both the buyer and the seller must carefully evaluate each step in order to promote seamless and hassle-free product transactions and timely payment to the seller. For complete compliance, all of the conditions outlined in the LC must be met.

What is a Clean Irrevocable Letter of Credit?

A clean LC is a technique that allows the credit recipient to draw a bill of exchange without any further documents. A clean LC is irrevocable until the review period begins.

Who is Responsible for Issuing an Irrevocable Letter of Credit?

A commercial bank’s LC guarantees that the correct payment amount is received by the seller on time. If a buyer is unable to pay, the bank is obligated to pay on his or her behalf, either for the remainder or for the entire price of the purchase, depending on the circumstances.

Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILOC) Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions of the ILOC are fixed and cannot be changed without the approval of all parties involved. The parties, i.e. the buyer and seller, must agree on all of the provisions specified in the letter in the various circumstances. For example, there are clauses regarding each stakeholder’s responsibilities in the event of any wrongdoing or fraud, omission, insolvency, etc. About wrongdoing, the letter includes additional clauses concerning security, blacklisting, and boycott.

Aside from defining terms and conditions for credit, credit issuing, and conflict resolution, authority is also defined for disbursements in various scenarios. The terms and conditions also include provisions for timely payments, renewals, settlements, and other duties.

Special circumstances that necessitate the prior approval of stakeholders are also listed on the list. In circumstances involving special deposits and comparable obligations, it is permissible to make assumptions, estimate allocations in good faith, and deem them reasonable. Furthermore, provisions are made detailing the ownership of goods and the acknowledgment of documents in accordance with the credit terms and conditions.

What Are the Other Features of an Irrevocable Letter of Credit?

#1. Standby:

The ILOC is held in reserve in case the buyer fails to make a payment. This letter of credit is used by businesses when dealing with new consumers. It acts as insurance against nonpayment.

#2. Documentary

The majority of letters of credit are documentary in nature. It means that the Buyer is paid on the letter of credit once the proper ownership documents are presented.

#3. Fully Funded

A Fully Funded Irrevocable letter of credit indicates that the applicant (seller of goods) has deposited the letter of credit monies with the bank prior to the bank issuing the letter of credit. It’s comparable to placing money in escrow.

Is an Irrevocable Letter of Credit Necessary?

When doing business with someone in a foreign country (or even a new customer or vendor in your own country), you must trust them, even if you’ve never met the individual or know anything about their firm. This can cause substantial issues for both buyers and sellers regarding payment and shipping. Irrevocable letters of credit can help to mitigate these dangers, allowing business transactions to proceed with little risk on both sides.

Letters of credit are especially advantageous for sellers since they allow the seller to rely on the power of the bank rather than the strength of the buyer. The bank will pay you as soon as you demonstrate that you have met the terms of the agreement, removing the need to evaluate the financial soundness and reliability of every potential buyer in a foreign country.

Letters of credit assist buyers to ensure that something has been shipped. Your bank, on the other hand, will make payment once your vendor provides documentation proving shipment. You won’t know what’s inside the package until it comes. To manage risk, you can make an inspection certificate part of the documentation required before payment.

How To Get an Irrevocable Letter of Credit?

Step #1

To receive an ILOC, contact your bank, which will assign you to a representative. This person has prior expertise in international trade or comes from a similar background, and will collaborate with you to meet your needs.

Step #2

Don’t try to write an LC on your own or replicate someone else’s. Even a slight inaccuracy may result in a significant legal and financial headache in the future. You may also be unable to retrieve the products for which you have paid a fortune.

Step #3

In the near run, writing your ILOC may appear to be the best way to save money. However, it can soon turn into an expensive affair that harms your firm. As a result, it is recommended that you seek assistance from your bank.

Cost of an Irrevocable Letter of Credit

The cost of a generic irrevocable letter of credit is typically 1–2 percent of the amount covered by the contract. The cost of the irrevocable letter of credit is determined by the type of ILOC used, the customer’s credit history, the length of the loan, the protection provisions, and a variety of other considerations. The rate is also affected by the bank chosen, as they will add a margin to the irrevocable letter of credit cost.

For example, if the seller requests a credit of $100,000, with the buyer willing to cover 10%, the ILOC will be written for $10,000. Given that the cost of ILOC is 2% of the amount covered, the cost of ILOC will be $200.

Irrevocable Letter of Credit Alternatives

If you are unsure whether an irrevocable letter of credit is the best option for your company and the present transaction, consider the following alternatives:

  • Trade credit insurance may be less expensive.
  • Various types of letters of credit

However, you should avoid revocable letters of credit, which can be amended without the consent of all parties concerned.

Sellers often prefer irrevocable letters of credit in order to avoid producing and shipping items with no guarantee of payment. Buyers, on the other hand, may prefer certainty: they do not want merchants to deliver goods late or adjust order amounts without first discussing the situation.

However, the greatest danger of using a revocable letter of credit rests on sellers, who may find themselves responsible for both manufacturing and shipping costs with no recourse for payment. Any deal containing a revocable letter of credit should be avoided by sellers.

It is quite difficult to find a non-irrevocable letter of credit. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check if you have an irrevocable or revocable contract.

What is The Difference Between A Letter Of Credit and An Irrevocable Letter of Credit?

A revocable letter of credit is not common. This is because it can be amended or revoked at any moment and for any reason by the bank that issued it. If everyone involved agrees, an irrevocable letter of credit cannot be modified or revoked. Irrevocable letters of credit are more secure than revocable letters of credit.

What is 100% Irrevocable LC at Sight?

It is a document that confirms payment for goods or services. In this instance, payment is made after the Sight Letter of Credit and other required documentation are presented.

Can A Revocable LC Be Canceled?

A revocable letter of credit can be canceled or changed at any time without previous notification to or approval from the beneficiary.


An irrevocable letter of credit is issued when a bank representing an importer agrees to pay the seller (the exporter) for an overseas transaction. The letter of credit decreases both the buyers’ and sellers’ risks that overseas items will be shipped and paid for.

An irrevocable letter of credit contains fixed terms and conditions that may only be amended with the written agreement of all parties involved. A commercial bank should always issue an irrevocable letter of credit, rather than the importer or exporter.

Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILOC) FAQs

Can irrevocable LC be Canceled?

As previously stated, an irrevocable letter of credit cannot be canceled without the written approval of the beneficiary and, if applicable, the confirming bank. As a result, the beneficiary’s written declaration should be used to initiate the letter of the credit cancellation process.

Is irrevocable LC safe?

The exporter feels more comfortable with irrevocable LC because the bills issued under the credit will be honored by the issuing bank after the fulfillment of the LC agreement’s requirements.

What is irrevocable bank guarantee?

A guarantee is irrevocable, which means that once issued, it cannot be altered or revoked without the approval of the parties, namely the guarantor and/or the beneficiary.

How safe is letter of credit?

Letters of credit have long been recognized as one of the most secure payment solutions for importers in international commercial transactions.

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