Debenture Vs. General Security Agreement

When it comes to financing, businesses have several options available to them. Among these options are debentures and general security agreements. Although both are popular financing tools, they differ significantly in their structure and mechanics. In this article, we will explore the differences between debentures and general security agreements to understand their unique features.


A debenture is a long-term unsecured debt instrument that is issued by a company or a corporation. This type of instrument is not backed by any collateral, which means that the issuer does not pledge any assets to secure the loan. Rather, debentures are issued based on the company`s creditworthiness and are considered as a form of unsecured loan. Debentures come with a fixed interest rate, which is paid periodically over the term of the loan. Typically, debentures are issued by large corporations and are often traded on the stock exchange.

General Security Agreements

A general security agreement, on the other hand, is a legal document that is used to secure a loan. It is a type of collateral agreement that allows the lender to take possession of the borrower`s assets if the borrower defaults on the loan. The borrower pledges their assets- such as property, inventory, and accounts receivable- to secure the loan. A general security agreement is a flexible tool that can be used to secure both short-term and long-term loans.

Key differences

The main difference between debentures and general security agreements is in the way they are secured. Debentures are not secured by any collateral, while general security agreements are secured by the borrower`s assets. This means that if a company defaults on a debenture, the lender may not have any assets to seize to recover the outstanding loan amount. On the other hand, if a borrower defaults on a loan secured by a general security agreement, the lender has the right to seize the assets pledged by the borrower to secure the loan.

Another key difference is the interest rate. Debentures come with a fixed interest rate, while general security agreements may come with a variable interest rate that fluctuates with market conditions.

Which is better?

Deciding between a debenture and a general security agreement ultimately depends on the borrower`s financial goals and creditworthiness. If a company has a strong credit rating and does not want to pledge their assets, a debenture may be the best option. On the other hand, if a company has uncertain financial conditions and wants to secure a loan with collateral, a general security agreement may be a better choice.

In summary, debentures and general security agreements are two different financing tools that serve different purposes. While debentures are unsecured loans that are issued based on the company`s creditworthiness, general security agreements are secured loans that are backed by the borrower`s assets. Understanding the differences between these tools can help businesses make informed decisions about their financing needs.