Lines of Credit

How a line of credit can help exporters, the way it works and its features and benefits.


A UK Export Finance-supported line of credit can provide UK exporters of capital goods with a quick way to access finance made available by a UK bank to assist an overseas buyer to purchase UK exports.

Lines of credit can be set up to enable:

  • a variety of overseas buyers to purchase unrelated capital goods or services (known as a general purpose line of credit)
  • an individual overseas buyer to purchase a wide range of capital goods or services for a particular project (known as a project line of credit)

Finance can be made available in the main trading currencies (including sterling, US dollars and euro).

How to apply

Contact our customer service team. Call +44 (0)20 7271 8010 or email

How a line of credit works

The diagram shows how UK Export Finance provides a guarantee to the bank that the borrower will repay the loan. The banks pay the exporter from the loan. The UK exporter supplies the capital goods and/or services to the buyer. The buyer pays the bank which acts as the borrower. The bank extends a line of credit to the borrower, and the borrower repays the loan under the line of credit.

Lines of credit graphic

The buyer may also act as borrower in its own right (if this is acceptable to us), otherwise an acceptable bank in the borrower’s country will need to act as borrower. A foreign bank will almost always act as borrower in the case of a general purpose line of credit.

The benefits of a line of credit

The benefits are:

  • the line will usually be put in place before an export contract is signed, which means that the exporter should be able to gain access to the facility quickly
  • the exporter is paid as soon as the goods have been shipped and/or services performed
  • the buyer or borrower has time to pay over a number of years and can borrow at fixed or floating rates of interest
  • the bank receives a guarantee from us for the amounts due under the line of credit

Risks covered

The bank is protected against non-payment by the borrower under the loan.


The following criteria must be met:

  • the exporter must be carrying on business in the UK
  • each export contract value must be at least £25,000 or the equivalent in another currency
  • the bank which is to provide the line of credit must be acceptable to us

Maximum amount

The maximum amount that can be made available for each contract financed by the line of credit is 85% of the contract value. A minimum of 15% of the contract value must be paid directly to the exporter by the buyer before the loan starts to be repaid. We can consider support for foreign content (the cost to the exporter of purchasing goods or services from sub-contractors outside the UK) of up to 80% of the export contract value.


The period for repayment of the loan made under the line of credit must be at least 2 years.


The premium is payable on the amount of support provided. The premium is determined on a case by case basis.

PDF version of this guide

Quick guide to lines of credits (PDF, 240KB, 2 pages)


The information available in this brochure is not intended to be a comprehensive description for lines of credit and many details which are relevant to particular circumstances may have been omitted.

Underwriters will look at each case on its merits.

This guide was last updated in May 2010.

Customer service

Published 22 April 2013