Uniform Rules for Collections (URC)

A set of rules governing the process of collecting debts or money or assets owed

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What are the Uniform Rules for Collections (URC)?

The Uniform Rules for Collections is a set of rules that help assist in the process of collecting debts or owed money or assets. The URCs were established – or proposed – by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), a worldwide organization that serves to promote and facilitate business interests and trade between nations.

Uniform Rules for Collections

What the Uniform Rules for Collections Do

The latest revision of the URC, drafted in the mid-1990s, outline the issues that practitioners – businesses, banks, and sellers – face on a daily basis when trying to collect payments. The Uniform Rules for Collections also provides useful rules for such practitioners to follow when initiating the collections process.

The last draft of the Uniform Rules for Collections, otherwise known as URC 522, sets out the need for the primary or remitting bank to draw up and attach a sheet that explicitly explains the purpose of, and the process that should be followed when, collecting debts.

Documents Against Acceptance and Payment

The Uniform Rules for Collections 522 also outlines what banks can and should do in relation to documents against acceptance (D/A) and documents against payment (D/P).

Documents against acceptance are an arrangement between importer and exporter, specifying that the importer is not to be given the documentation that confirms their ownership of the imported goods until the bill of exchange has been paid or an agreement to pay has been made.

In such a case, the URC 522 says that the importer accepts a time draft from the bank via the exporter and must sign, agreeing to pay the exporter (seller) at a future time. Once this has been accepted, ownership documentation is then turned over by the bank to the buyer.

Documents against payment are used to a similar end on the exporter’s side. The documents are an agreement between the bank and the exporter, specifying that the importer is not to receive any of the paperwork confirming ownership of goods until the attached bill of exchange is paid or preparations for payment have been made.

The URC 522 says that the buyer (importer) should make full payment on goods once they are delivered, after which the documents confirming ownership can be handed over by the bank.


The Uniform Rules for Collections are an important protection for banks, traders, buyers, and sellers because they outline the responsibilities of each party when it comes to the collection of goods or money owed. The rules are particularly helpful to banks and other institutions that seek to collect money owed on a daily basis.

More Resources

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