Collateral

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Community Submission - Author: ADolmatov

Simply put, the word collateral is something of value given as a guarantee to obtain something else. For instance, a borrower may offer their car as a collateral to a lender when taking out a loan. The vehicle acts as a safeguard or warranty in case the borrower fails to pay their debts. 

Usually, collateralized loans present much lower interest rates when compared to non-collateralized ones. Collateral can come in different forms. Some of the most common types include mortgage collaterals, invoice financing, and margin trading collaterals.

Mortgage or real estate collaterals are probably the most used by borrowers. They refer to loans that are backed by real state properties, such as an apartment, house, or farming land. In this case, the property is the asset that secures the loan. So if the borrower fails to make the payments as per the contract, the lender has the right to claim ownership of their real state property.

Invoice financing, on the other hand, is a short-term borrowing procedure employed by businesses. Such a strategy consists of companies using customers’ invoices (that are yet to be paid) as collateral. So this allows them to use funds in advance. For example, imagine that an online retailer sold $500,000 in products, but since most consumers paid by credit card, the company won’t be able to use the money anytime soon. The invoice financing strategy would be suitable in this case, allowing the company to improve cash flow, using the money beforehand for high-priority needs.

When it comes to margin trading, the term collateral refers to the assets that are kept in a margin trading account to cover potential losses traders may have when trading on leverage. In other words, when you borrow money to trade on margin, your account balance will act as collateral. The brokerage (or exchange) reserves the right to liquidate your assets in case the market moves against you.

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