Cash Sweep


A cash sweep refers to the compulsory use of excess cash flows to settle outstanding debts. It allows borrowers to effectively utilize their idle cash by converting it into debt payments or transferring it to interest-earning accounts or investment funds. 

This concept is commonly used by both companies and individuals to optimize their cash management and investment strategies.

Key Takeaways:

  • A cash sweep involves utilizing excess cash to pay down existing debt.
  • It helps borrowers maximize their investment earnings by transferring idle cash into interest-earning accounts or investment funds.
  • Cash sweeps can be conducted on a daily basis, typically at the end of each business day.

How it Works:

A cash sweep works by automatically applying excess cash from a borrower’s account towards any existing debts. 

For corporations, excess cash refers to the remaining cash after operating expenses and regular debt payments have been made. 

Cash sweep accounts can be set up with agreements between borrowers and their banks to periodically sweep excess cash from their accounts and use it to pay off existing debts. 

In the case of individuals, cash sweep accounts help maximize investment earnings by transferring excess cash into interest-producing accounts or investment funds.

Key Components:

  • Excess Cash: Excess cash refers to the surplus cash available after necessary expenses and regular debt payments have been accounted for.
  • Cash Sweep Accounts: Cash sweep accounts are used by both corporations and individuals to efficiently utilize excess cash. These accounts involve agreements between borrowers and their banks to automatically transfer excess cash into separate accounts for paying down debt or investing in interest-earning accounts or investment funds.
  • Cash Sweep Provisions: Cash sweep provisions are often included in loan agreements to ensure borrowers utilize a portion of excess cash to prepay loans. This provision is commonly found in industries with high volatility, as it acts as a buffer against lower revenues during unstable market conditions.


  • Efficient Use of Excess Cash: Cash sweeps allow borrowers to utilize their idle cash effectively by converting it into debt payments, maximizing investment earnings, or both.
  • Debt Reduction: By applying excess cash towards existing debts, cash sweeps help borrowers reduce their outstanding debt balances.
  • Improved Financial Stability: By reducing their debt-to-equity ratios, corporations can project financial stability and enhance their ability to raise capital in the future.
  • Opportunity for Loan Extension: Cash sweep provisions in loan agreements can enable borrowers to negotiate loan term extensions by demonstrating the ability to reduce outstanding balances through prepayments.


Cash sweep accounts provide an efficient means for borrowers to utilize excess cash and optimize their cash management and investment strategies. 

By converting idle cash into debt payments or transferring it to interest-earning accounts or investment funds, borrowers can reduce debt, earn additional income, and improve their financial stability. 

However, it’s important to note that cash sweep accounts are typically designed for short-term cash optimization rather than long-term investment solutions. 

Borrowers should carefully evaluate their financial goals and work with their banks or financial advisors to determine the most suitable cash management approach.

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