Sight Draft


DEFINITION of 'Sight Draft'

A type of bill of exchange, in which the exporter holds the title to the transported goods until the importer receives and pays for them. Sight drafts are used with both air shipments and ocean shipments for financing transactions of goods in international trade. Unlike a time draft, which allows for a short-term delay in payment after the importer receives the goods, a sight draft is payable immediately.


A shortcoming of sight drafts is that if the importing country disallows the shipment or the importer is unable to pay for the shipment when it arrives, the exporter will not get paid and will be responsible for return shipping or disposal costs. Sight drafts must be accompanied by a letter of credit and other required documents, such as an ocean bill of lading, in order to be paid.

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