United Kingdom - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Financing

It covers payment methods and information on, banking systems, foreign exchange controls, and U.S. and correspondent banking.

Last published date: 2022-09-12

Methods of Payment

Many UK importers carefully consider their purchases and may seek special trade finance arrangements.

Normal practice has been for payments to be made on open account, payment in advance, letter of credit, documentary draft, or consignment. British buyers will typically ask for credit on 60, 90, or 180-day terms, depending on what is accepted practice in the industry.

Banking Systems

There are many British and foreign-owned banks and financial institutions based in London. There are more U.S.-owned banks operating branches and subsidiaries in London than there are on Wall Street. In addition, many of the smaller U.S. banks have correspondent relationships with one or more of the major British banks, and those UK correspondents can provide financial services for exporters and investors.

Foreign Exchange Controls

There are no exchange controls restricting the transfer of funds into or out of the UK, although anyone carrying the equivalent of £10,000 or more in cash when entering the UK must declare it.

US Banks & Local Correspondent Banks

The many U.S. banks operating in the UK are generally members of UK Finance and the Association of Foreign Banks.

For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide.

To access United Kingdom’s ICS section on financing, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.