How your unpaid receivables travel across countries

By Shaun Duncan, CEO TCM Group International | Jan 20, 2021

Since 1950, international trade has expanded as reflected in the World Trade Organisation chart below. (WTO). So have international unpaid receivables. How does the TCM Group transfer your invoices across countries? We explain the technical details of how invoices travel.

The problem to be solved

There are two types of international traders: those who choose where their clients reside and those who don’t.

A typical manufacturer will seek new markets. He will analyse the feasibility of sales in a new country and expand or not according to their analysis. The criteria for such a decision will include the expected easiness or difficulty of collecting receivables. And the exporter will adapt its terms of trade (ranging from pre-payment to payment terms after the goods or services have been received by the buyer), limited by what is commercially acceptable by the buyer.  

– In other situations, like consumer banking and many B2C trade (Business to Consumer), the consumer can move after the transaction was concluded, and whilst you have a contract say between a UK bank and a UK resident, this UK resident could now reside in Australia … and still owe loan repayments to the UK bank. 

In both situations, the seller can end up with unpaid receivables due by a distant client. This entails all sorts of problems, starting with languages, usages, cultures, laws that change each time a border is crossed. On the legal side, privacy laws (GDPR in the EU, many similar regulations elsewhere) limit how personal data can be disclosed, especially across borders. Hence, the unpaid seller needs assistance to collect their outstanding receivables efficiently.

“Creditors have better memories than debtors” (Benjamin Franklin)

Thus, the next question is about selecting the appropriate assistance to collect the debt. Naturally, the seller (the creditor) will cooperate whilst the buyer (the debtor) who might need motivation to resolve the unpaid invoice. That is why the best possible debt collection assistance needs to be local to the debtor. However, if you randomly pick a debt collector or lawyer in a distant country, you might be unlucky (as unlucky as if you were to randomly choose in your hometown).

Why not then choose a specialized company at home that has representation in your debtor’s country? That is what the TCM Group offers.  How does it work?

The TCM Group network

The TCM Group is a network of debt collectors and lawyers spread across more than 140 countries on all continents. These offices are all mainly active in their home markets. But they also trade internationally. Through the exchange of debts to be collected (receivables) it generates volume to and from every country, ensuring that each member is motivated to care for his fellow member’s receivables. It has been doing so for more than 30 years and keeps adapting through quality assessments of each part of the network. Weaker links have been and continue to be replaced, resulting in a “best possible” solution in every country. Contracts seal requirements (including for GDPR and global privacy) and meetings develop the professionalism of each member in a mutually beneficial sharing of ideas and solutions. 

Next to mutual support and contracts, it developed technical tools too. This makes it possible for you to deal with your local TCM office whilst the debtor is dealt with by a TCM office local to the debtor.  

The TCM Group Platform

The Group had to develop a tool to exchange claims (debts) efficiently and securely. The first Platform was developed in 2000 and replaced in 2015 by a web-based system. The main features are:

Informing the TCM office in country B (TCMb) that the TCM office in country A (TCMa) has introduced a new claim;

– Providing details of such claim to TCMb (and limiting it to TCMb);

– Allowing TCMa and TCMb to communicate on the claim, including reporting from TCMb to TCMa;

– Maintain knowledge about the general situation in each country (court actions, the statute of limitations, etc.);

– Maintain the contractual situation between TCM offices (code of operations, code of compliance, data transfer agreement (incl. privacy), portal agreement (incl. privacy, guarantee fund, etc.);

– Hosting: By AWS;

Security: The database access is secured by Fortinet whilst the web application is secured by F5, both being market leaders in their profession.

This tool is maintained by professionals (EASI) resulting in a smooth, virtually uninterrupted working system.

This tool entails that you, the creditor, are informed and paid (collection proceedings) by your local TCM office whilst your debtors might be anywhere.


“Better to know us and not need us than to need us and not know us”. We used this motto several years ago and it is still true. The TCM Group provides you with:

Professional solutions to collect your receivables at home and far away;

Amicably first and

– In courts, if amicable solutions don’t work whilst your debtor seems solvent.

Contact us to hear what we can do for you.

TCM Group Global Debt Collection
Shaun Duncan
CEO TCM Group International

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