At Sight Letter of Credit

Payment at sight indicates that payment is initiated when the bank determines that the presentation is complying.

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According to the current letters of credit rules, UCP 600, credits must state how they are available to beneficiaries in terms of payment type.

UCP 600 – Article 6-b states that “A credit must state whether it is available by sight payment, deferred payment, acceptance or negotiation.”

On this article we explain letters of credit issued available by at sight payment.

Definition: 

At sight payment is a payment due on demand. At sight letter of credit can be defined as a letter of credit that is payable as soon as the complying documents have been presented to the issuing bank or the confirming bank.

Payment Time:

When should the beneficiary expect to receive the payment from the issuing bank or the confirming bank under an at sight letter of credit?

If is the issuing bank or the confirming bank finds out that the presentation is complying, then they should transmit the funds to the beneficiary at the earliest convenience.

We know that banks have 5 working days to determine whether a presentation is complying or not.

As a result, under a complying presentation where no additional reimbursement time-frame has been defined, the beneficiary should expect to receive the letter of credit amount from the issuing or confirming bank between 7-10 days after documents received by these banks.

Advantages:

In which circumstances at sight letter of credit can be preferred?

At sight letter of credit can be used in situations where the beneficiary needs funds as soon as the shipment is completed.

At sight letters of credit are mostly used in small to medium size transactions where applicant is located in a relatively high risk country.

Risks:

What are the potential risks in at sight letters of credit?

There is no additional risks associated with at sight letters of credit other than ordinary letters of credit possess.

Swift Usage:

At sight letter of credit is shown in a MT700 swift message under field 41a as below,

MT 700 Issue of a Documentary Credit
Field 41a: Available With … By …

  • BY ACCEPTANCE
  • BY DEF PAYMENT
  • BY MIXED PYMT
  • BY NEGOTIATION
  • BY PAYMENT