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Purchase Order Funding: What You Need to Know

Key takeaways:

  • Purchase order funding helps South African businesses fulfil large orders even with limited working capital.
  • It bridges the gap between receiving a purchase order and securing payment from the customer.
  • This guide explores the benefits, uses, eligibility criteria, and application tips for purchase order funding.

Purchase order funding (PO funding) is a unique funding solution for South African businesses that helps them fulfil large orders even when facing temporary cash flow limitations. It bridges the gap between receiving a confirmed purchase order (PO) and securing payment from the customer.

Imagine this scenario: you receive a confirmed purchase order, a sign of trust and a potential boost for your business. However, fulfilling the order requires upfront costs for materials or production. This can be a major hurdle, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Here’s where PO funding steps in. It bridges the gap between receiving the confirmed purchase order and securing payment from the customer. Think of it as an advance on the expected revenue from the sale. With PO funding in place, you can access the capital needed to fulfil the order without having to wait for the customer’s payment to clear, which can take weeks or even months. This allows you to take on exciting new opportunities and grow your business without cash flow limitations holding you back.

  • Funding based on the buyer’s creditworthiness: Mitigates risk for your business as the lender relies on the creditworthiness of your customer, not yours.
  • Fast access to capital: Receive funding quickly to secure materials and fulfil the order without delays.
  • Increased buying power: Take on larger orders without worrying about upfront costs, boosting your business potential.


  • Mitigates risk for your business: Unlike traditional loans, PO funding relies on the creditworthiness of your customer, not yours. The lender investigates the buyer’s ability to pay, taking on the risk if they default. This frees you from the worry of your financial situation potentially hindering your ability to secure funding.
  • Fast access to capital: The application process for PO funding is typically streamlined, allowing you to receive the funds quickly. This is crucial because you often need to act fast to secure materials or begin production to fulfil the order on time. With PO funding in hand, you can avoid delays and maintain a positive reputation with your customers.
  • Increased buying power: No longer limited by upfront costs, you can confidently take on larger orders that might have previously seemed out of reach. This opens doors to significant growth potential for your business. You can expand your reach, build stronger client relationships, and solidify your position in the market.
  • Fulfil large orders: Secure funding to purchase materials and complete orders, even with limited working capital.
  • Improve cash flow: Avoid tying up your capital in inventory, allowing for smoother day-to-day operations.
  • Competitive edge: Seize opportunities to take on larger projects and attract new clients.


  • Fees: PO funding doesn’t involve interest rates, but lenders charge upfront fees for extending the funds to you. These fees can vary depending on the lender and the size of the order.
  • Strained customer relationships: When using PO funding, your customer’s invoices are often sold to a third party. This can create a sense of distance or distrust between you and your client, especially if they are not aware of the financing arrangement.
  • Not a long-term solution: PO funding is best suited for fulfilling specific purchase orders. It’s not a viable solution for ongoing business needs or long-term financing requirements.
  • Limited availability: PO funding may not be readily available for all businesses, especially startups or those with a poor credit history. Lenders often have minimum requirements for a company’s trading history and the creditworthiness of their customers.

By carefully considering the pros and cons, you can determine if it’s the right fit for your specific needs and financial situation.


When faced with a large order, PO funding can be a game-changer for your South African business. Imagine a scenario where you secure a substantial order, but your current working capital restricts your ability to purchase the necessary materials or ramp up production.

Here’s where PO funding comes to the rescue. It provides the financial backing you need to fulfil these large orders without limitations. This allows you to confidently secure the materials needed, pay for any additional labour or equipment required, and complete the order to your client’s satisfaction.

PO funding also offers a significant boost to your cash flow. When you fulfil large orders using your working capital, a substantial portion of your funds becomes tied up in inventory. This can hinder your ability to cover day-to-day operational expenses or invest in other areas of your business.

PO funding eliminates this issue. By financing the purchase of materials or production costs specifically for the large order, you free up your capital for smoother day-to-day operations. This allows you to maintain a healthy cash flow and continue investing in the growth of your business.

Perhaps the most compelling advantage of PO funding is the competitive edge it grants you. By overcoming cash flow limitations, you can confidently take on larger projects that might have previously been out of reach. This opens doors to attracting new, high-value clients who require substantial projects completed.

Furthermore, fulfilling large orders on time and to a high standard builds trust and strengthens relationships with existing clients, potentially leading to repeat business and referrals. In essence, PO funding empowers you to compete at a higher level and capture exciting growth opportunities.

Examples of uses:

  • Financing the purchase of raw materials or inventory to fulfil a confirmed purchase order.
  • Covering production costs associated with a large order.
  • Securing additional working capital to fulfil multiple purchase orders simultaneously.

To qualify for PO funding, you typically need a strong business relationship with a reputable buyer and a valid purchase order with clear terms and conditions. The lender will then assess the creditworthiness of your customer and your ability to fulfil the order.

Tips for Applying:

  • Partner with a reliable buyer: Establish a strong track record of fulfilling orders with your chosen customer.
  • Present a clear purchase order: Ensure the PO includes details like the order value, delivery timeline, and payment terms.
  • Choose a reputable lender: Partner with a trusted PO finance provider with experience in your industry.


  • PO finance typically comes with fees associated with processing and managing the transaction.
  • Carefully assess the costs involved and ensure the profit margin on the order justifies the use of PO finance.
  • Understand the terms and conditions of the financing agreement before entering into any commitments.

By utilizing purchase order finance strategically, South African businesses can unlock growth opportunities, overcome cash flow limitations, and secure their place in the market!

Frequently asked questions

As your trusted partner, we’re here to answer any questions you have about how Purchase Order Funding work, the application process, and anything else you need to feel informed.

PO funding is specifically for fulfilling confirmed orders; funds are based on your customer's creditworthiness, not your business history.

A solid track record with a reputable buyer, a valid purchase order with clear terms, and the ability to demonstrate your capacity to fulfil the order.

Many lenders offer fast approvals and funding can often be released within a few days of application.

If your buyer fails to pay, you may still be liable for the borrowed amount. Careful vetting of buyers and clear contracts are crucial.

Manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, or any business that supplies goods based on confirmed orders.

Start with online platforms that compare lenders, alternative finance providers, and some specialized banks.

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