What is Documentary Collection?

The buyer may obtain possession of goods and clear them through customs, if the buyer has the shipping documents (original bill of lading, certificate of origin, etc.). The documents, however, are only released to the buyer after payment has been made ("Documents against Payment") or payment undertaking has been given - the buyer has accepted a bill of exchange issued by the seller and payable at a certain date in the future (maturity date) ("Documents against Acceptance"). Documentary Collections facilitate import/export operations. They do not provide the same level of security as Letters of Credit, but, as a result, the costs are lower. Unlike the Letters of Credit, for a Documentary Collection the bank acts as a channel for the documents but does not issue any payment covenants (does not guarantee payment). The bank that has received a documentary collection may debit the buyer's account and make payment only if authorised by the buyer.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_collection