• Payment Methods when Importing from China: A Complete Guide

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    About to pay a manufacturer in China? The payment method, and the process, often have a major impact on the outcome. In fact, it can spell the difference between success and failure, when buying from overseas suppliers. In this article, we introduce you to four common payment methods, used when transferring funds to Chinese suppliers.

    Payment Method Overview

    • Telegraphic Transfer (T/T)
    • Letter of Credit (L/C)
    • Alibaba Trade Assurance
    • PayPal
    • Neat.hk Multi-Currency Accounts
    • Payoneer

    FAQ

    • Payment terms
    • Payment scams
    • Currencies

    Telegraphic Transfer (T/T)

    A Telegraphic Transfer is a standard bank transaction, placed either through your internet bank or in a local bank branch. This payment method is accepted by all Chinese manufacturers with a bank account. Virtually all, that is. Albeit common, it offers no protection by itself, unlike the Letter of Credit, which I’ll get back to in a bit.

    That is, however, not saying that T/T is necessarily an unsafe payment method.

    Paying the right amount, at the right time, is the key to success

    The standard payment term is a deposit payment of 30% upfront, before manufacturing, and balance payment upon completion – but before shipping (or at least, before the original Bill of Lading is issued).

    The timing of when, and under which conditions, you are making this second and final, payment, is crucial.

    It’s all about giving the supplier an incentive to comply with your requirements. By paying the supplier in full, before regulatory compliance and quality have been verified, you take that incentive away. Thus, the balance payment must be withheld until after the batch has been approved by a quality inspector, and after eventual lab test results are back.

    While it’s true that this payment method is not protecting the initial deposit payment, the supplier still has much to lose, even with a deposit payment secured.

    Chinese manufacturers often run on very slim profit margins. Even if they would cut off a buyer making demands, and attempt to sell the batch domestically, they are almost certain to make a hefty loss. The supplier simply has much to lose by not completing the transaction.

    Are you paying the right company?

    Payment fraud is a common, yet simple, scam. The buyer is persuaded into transferring funds to a bank account not held by the suppliers. The fraud is carried out by simply changing the bank details on the Proforma Invoice. The method to do this varies. We’ve seen cases that were most likely carried out by, obviously corrupted, employees.

    Other, more advanced, forms of the classic payment fraud involve an outside party hacking the supplier’s email account, only to replace the bank details on the invoice and forwarding it to an unsuspecting purchasing manager.

    As the fraud is carried out using the supplier’s email account, often hosted on publicly available emailing services rather than a company-owned domain, the fraud rarely raises suspicion on the other side. Sometimes, they even take it further, by diverting email communicating between the actual supplier and the buyer, to ensure that no conflicting communication occurs between the two parties.

    As the supplier never received the money, they will, without exception, refuse to ship the goods. Retrieving the payment is close to impossible, as it often takes days before the buyer and supplier understood what happened. We receive emails from time to time from suppliers, issuing payment fraud warnings – most likely due to a recent case.

    We’ve also noted that more and more suppliers put their bank account details directly on their B2B supplier directory pages, for example on Alibaba.com.

    The scam is successful, as few, even experienced, buyers bother to check whether the account is held by the supplier. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that many Chinese suppliers, for various reasons, request payments to offshore entities – sometimes even privately held accounts. However, that’s a whole other story.

    For mysterious reasons, overseas buyers fail to use common sense when dealing with Asian suppliers.

    I’m quite sure that most American and European buyers would think twice before paying a domestic supplier to a bank account held under a completely different company name, in a different region or even country.

    supplier payment methods

    Can I pay my supplier in RMB?

    Paying a supplier in RMB (Chinese Yuan) can result in a slight price reduction (1 – 3%), as you get a better exchange rate compared to USD payments. However, RMB payments are only available to a few countries.

    So far, I only have personal experience with companies in Switzerland, paying their Chinese suppliers in RMB. This is only made possible by a free trade agreement between China and Switzerland.

    RMB payments are also possible for Hong Kong-based companies. But, the USD will likely remain the primary global currency for a long time to come.

    T/T Payment process

    1. Deposit payment (30%)

    2. Production starts

    3. Production completion

    4. Quality Inspection / Compliance testing

    5. Buyer approves batch

    6. Delivery to the Port of Loading (e.g. Shanghai)

    7. Bill of Lading Scan Copy provided

    8. Loading & Shipment

    9. Balance payment (70%)

    10. Seller sends original Bill of Lading and other freight documents (required to release cargo in Port of Destination)

    Other suggestions

    a. Recommended division between deposit and balance payment: 30% Deposit (Before Production) / 70% Balance (After Production)

    b. Never pay the deposit before you have a signed and stamped Sales Contract & Performa invoice.

    c. Never pay the balance before you have completed any Quality Inspections (in China) or received Product Test results (for example REACH, RoHS and CA Prop 65)

    d. Never prepay 100% before production. By doing so, you remove the supplier’s incentive to remake or repair defective or non-compliant items.

    e. Most Trading Companies also require you to pay a deposit about 30 days before delivery to Port of Loading (in China). The reason is simply that most Trading Companies in China don’t have ready-made products in stock but are rather subcontracting your order to a local factory.

    Letter of Credit (L/C)

    Unlike T/T, a Letter of Credit enables the buyer to add an extra layer of security, by forcing the supplier to fulfill certain, pre-determined, requirements before the funds are transferred. The key point here is that no deposit payment is required, which vastly reduces the risks on the buyer’s side.

    The question, when paying by Letter of Credit, is under which conditions the payment shall be ‘released’.

    The bank will automatically release the funds to the supplier and then credit the buyer, automatically once these conditions have been fulfilled.

    Bank personnel is not industry experts. Once they have received the required documentation, the money is transferred.

    It’s entirely up to the buyer and seller to negotiate which specific documents the latter must provide before the transaction is made. A few examples of such conditions are listed below:

    • Bill of Lading (issued on or before a certain date, to avoid delays)
    • Approved Quality Inspection Report/s (to avoid shipment of defective items)
    • Approved Laboratory Testing Reports (to avoid shipment of non-compliant items)

    Yet, far from all manufacturers in China, and other Asian countries, accept payment by Letter of Credit. Click here to learn more about Letter of Credit payments, when importing from China.

    L/C Payment process

    1. The seller and buyer sign a Sale Agreement that states the conditions that must be fulfilled before the payment shall be released

    2. The buyer contacts its local bank and applies for an L/C

    3. The buyer’s bank contacts the seller’s bank (in China) and presents the Letter of Credit

    4. The seller’s bank contacts the seller and presents a payment advice

    5. Production starts

    6. Production completed

    7. Quality Inspection & Product Testing

    8. Delivery to the Port of Loading and Shipment

    9. The provides the required documentation to their local bank (e.g. Quality Inspection Report, Test Report and Freight Documents)

    10. The funds are released, if the conditions are fulfilled (i.e. the right documents are presented)

    Alibaba Trade Assurance

    Alibaba Trade Assurance is similar to a letter of credit, in the sense that the money is only released when the supplier fulfills the following objectives:

    1. Complete the order on time (final delivery date is specified)

    2. The products match the approved specifications and quality requirements

    The difference is that the buyer must deposit the money to an Alibaba account, by T/T or credit card, before the supplier starts production.

    Articles about Alibaba payment methods

    PayPal

    PayPal payments are suitable for sample orders – or very small orders. Due to the relatively high transaction fees (around 3.4 – 4.4%), this payment method is never applied to ‘real orders’.

    I’ve found that Chinese PayPal accounts are rarely held by the actual company entity, even though Chinese companies can set up business PayPal accounts.

    Neat.hk Multi-Currency Accounts

    Neat, based in Hong Kong, recently launched its online USD account service for small businesses in Hong Kong, Australia, and various European countries.

    In this Q&A, Elizabeth Ching explains how a USD account can benefit you when working with suppliers from Mainland China

    What information do I need before I send money to a Chinese factory?

    Typically, if you’re sending money to a company in China, you’ll need the following:

    The basics:

    • Company ID, which can be either the Company Social Credit Code or Company Organisation Code
    • Company address
    • Bank name and bank account number
    • SWIFT or CNAPS code (CNAPS stands for the China National Advanced Payment System – basically their system to identify Chinese banks)

    Payments into China also require quite a few details related to the purpose of your transfer.

    Depending on the type of transfer you’re doing, you also may have to provide invoice details too.

    • Date
    • Quantity of goods
    • Shipment company
    • Payment amount
    Is USD the only currency accepted by Chinese suppliers?

    Nope. While many do accept USD, it depends on the supplier. Most will also accept RMB, the Chinese currency.

    To expand, many Chinese suppliers choose to have USD bank accounts in Hong Kong, since inflow and outflow of money in China is very strictly regulated, whereas Hong Kong has a very free economy.

    How can a USD account help if I import products from China?

    Like we mentioned above, many Chinese suppliers accept USD and have USD accounts in Hong Kong.

    So, if you have a USD account, you can pay suppliers directly in USD and don’t have to worry about:

    a. Currency conversion

    b. Sending money to China (which can be complicated and expensive)

    How can Neat help importers with USD accounts?

    Neat provides fully-digital multi-currency accounts – that support HKD, USD, EUR, and GBP – that can be opened online.

    Because Neat’s USD accounts are stored in Hong Kong, this gives you an advantage if you’re paying a Chinese supplier who has a Hong Kong account, you can avoid international transfer fees, as your transfer will be processed locally.

    Otherwise, if you need to send a payment to China, due to Neat’s direct relationships with Chinese banks, sending payments to suppliers in China are typically much smoother and less likely to be rejected.

    What are your transaction fees?

    The fee to make a transfer to China is HK$90, similar to our international transfer fees to other countries.

    How does that compare to banks?

    Unlike the average local bank in Europe or the US, Neat has on-the-ground experience and know-how. With a local team in China, they’re up-to-date with knowledge on the constantly shifting regulations and compliance standards associated with accepting funds from outside of China.

    This ultimately ensures that your payment isn’t held up or rejected by the receiving Chinese bank.

    What’s more, there are very few banks or remittance services that are built especially with both Western and Chinese companies in mind. Because Neat has both a local team in China as well as an international team in Hong Kong they service both markets.

    Payoneer

    Payoneer also offers a solution for both sending money to overseas suppliers and receiving payments from customers. This Q&A with Ben Stein from Payoneer in New York City explains how importers can use Payoneer as a payment solution.

    Can I transfer money from a Payoneer account directly to a bank account in China or do my supplier also need a Payoneer account?

    Yes, you can transfer from a Payoneer account directly to a supplier’s bank account in China, although if they have a Payoneer account, it’s free!

    More technically (and not as relevant) if a company doesn’t use Payoneer for receiving payments, but wants to pay suppliers or contractors or remote employees, they can do so via credit card, local bank transfer or ACH bank debit. This can happen in 2 ways – either they receive a payment request from their supplier who already uses Payoneer or they can register to Payoneer (as a ‘payer’ – different registration flow) and then make payments.

    I see. So importers can use Payoneer accounts to wire money directly to a supplier account? (Just a regular wire transfer)

    Correct you can use your Payoneer account to pay suppliers or customers directly.

    Is there any benefit in using Payoneer for regular wire transfers?

    Our standard rate is 2.5%.

    Do you find that manufacturers in Asia (e.g. China and Vietnam) use Payoneer to get paid?

    Yes. Payoneer is very popular among these manufactures and payment within the Payoneer network has no fees.

    Is the Payoneer account topped up via wire transfers or how do you add funds in the first place?

    You need to open a Payoneer account, deposit funds, and then you can pay any of your suppliers or request payments from your customers.

    In which countries is Payoneer available?

    Over 200+ countries and territories.

    Is it possible to hold multiple currencies on a Payoneer account?

    Payoneer offers receiving accounts that enable you to receive local bank transfers from companies and marketplaces in the US, UK, EU, Japan, Canada, Australia, and Mexico directly to your Payoneer account. You can manage these funds to transfer funds to another Payoneer account holder.

    FAQ

    What are the standard payment terms when importing from China?

    Most suppliers require a 30% deposit, and the remaining 70% paid before shipment. While this means that you risk the deposit, you do maintain control of the remaining balance, which should only be paid after quality control and lab testing.

    Can I pay my supplier after the goods arrive?

    No, you must pay before you receive the products. At best, your supplier can agree to accept payment upon release of the bill of lading, but that’s about it.

    The supplier would be entirely exposed to fraudulent buyers if they would accept payment after delivery, not to mention all buyers that would fabricate quality issues and find all sorts of reasons to not pay.

    Can I get credit from my supplier?

    Big buyers like Wal-Mart can get generous credit lines from their suppliers, which for example can allow them to pay 90 days after delivery. However, the same is not offered to small buyers.

    Can I pay Chinese suppliers in Euros, AUD, GBP or other currencies?

    While it’s technically possible to wire Euros to bank accounts in Hong Kong and Mainland China, few suppliers accept Euro payments since the early 2010s due to its instability back then. Today, the US dollar is the only de facto currency when paying Chinese suppliers.

    What is the safest payment method when importing products?

    That depends entirely on the type of transaction and how it’s managed. For example, wire transfers are unsafe in the sense that there is no refund mechanism.

    However, if you manage the payment process well, it gives you maximum control while it’s also relatively easy to ensure that you pay the right company.

    Letter of Credits, on the other hand, offer an added layer of safety, but can also be risky if the terms are set by someone without the right experience.

    Do I need a USD bank account to pay my supplier in China?

    No, you can convert your local currency (e.g. AUD or EUR) into USD when wiring money to your supplier’s bank account. That said, opening a USD bank account can help you control exchange rate risks.

    Can I pay my supplier with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies?

    Many of our readers have asked us if it’s possible to pay manufacturers in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The rationale behind this is the idea of instant payments, without the need for bank fees. In reality, Bitcoin payments are neither free nor instant.

    Today, no suppliers in China accept Bitcoin or other cryptos as a currency. There are two reasons for this:

    1. Bitcoin is too volatile. Given that a supplier only makes a 4-5% profit on each order, even a modest fluctuation in the Bitcoin to USD price would be devastating to the factory. As many of you already know, Bitcoin price fluctuations tend to be anything but modest.

    2. Bitcoin and other crypto transactions are essentially banned in Mainland China. This will not change for a long time to come.

    In other words, it will take a long time before you will pay your supplier in Bitcoin – if the day ever comes.

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  • 48 Responses to “Payment Methods when Importing from China: A Complete Guide

    1. Maripat services ltd at 1:11 am

      Dear team,
      I try to facilitate a medical PPE and Medical instruments, Covid 19 tests (IDV) from China manufacturer suplidder. I have buyers for those products all over the world. My company works as an intermediary between seller and buyer. I work on but we may cut the commission from the total amount of products. bases fee. My roll is to introduce the buyer to the seller. I am not the reseller or buyer.
      According with China bank rules I was been told that I can not be paied the intermediary commission fee as bank blocks manufactures to pay out the intermediary company between Seler and buyer.
      The question is that is there any legal paper work such as contract agreements for commission fee to splay to a foreingn company where is involved between China manufacturer and external buyer.
      If such a contract fee agreement is legal and exist can I have a copy draft in English and Chinese languages?
      Thank you for your support
      D Maripat
      Info@maripatservices.com
      Director
      Maripat Services Limited
      London
      United Kindgdom

    2. Serafin at 1:05 am

      Hello Fredrick,

      My questions are about payment terms & Liability Insurance.
      Payment Terms:
      1. Would the below payment terms be acceptable with a large global consumer goods Chinese manufacturer?
      2. Do you see any liabilities or complications with the terms?
      3. Do you feel the manufacture would accept these terms or would they counter with different terms? What do you feel they would counter with?
      * 50% down with Wire Transfer within 5 days of a PO confirmation date
      * 50% balance payment with LC (Letter of credit) net 90 from invoice date. Invoice date to be sent on POD date (Proof of Delivery)

      Liability Insurance:
      1. What is the norm in regards to a Chinese manufacture having liability insurance for products that can be hazardous and sold in the US? (i.e. $ 10 million per occurrence)
      2. What sort of liability insurance should they have in relation to the value of the products? Is there a defined formula ?
      3. Should a buyer share the cost of insurance ?
      4. If the seller offered to credit the buyer back for sharing 50% of the liability insurance up front until set purchase volumes are met should this be considered?

      Thank You

      CS

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 2:35 pm

        Hello Serafin,

        1. One of the main benefits of paying by L/C is that you don’t need to pay a deposit. I don’t think it makes sense to mix an L/C with a deposit payment.

        2. Chinese manufacturers rarely, if ever, have product liability insurance. Even if they did then it would not apply to their customers in other countries.

    3. Aurélie at 4:48 am

      Hi Frederic,
      I would like to ask you why are you not talking about FINTECHs, like new invoice discounting platforms? :) They are providing cash against verified invoices and debtors. No need to wait after the due date, they ‘re funding with safe credit for operations backed by trade credit insurance on overseas trading.

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 5:24 am

        Hi Aurelie,

        Do you know any platform that offers such services when paying suppliers in China or Vietnam?

    4. Puneet at 12:45 am

      Hi Fredrik

      Can Alipay escrow can be used by foreigners for payment to chinese freight forwarder? I tried linking my foreign bank card to Alipay but it wouldn’t work. Any suggestions?

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 7:34 am

        I am not aware of any forwarder that accept card or Alipay

    5. Dale Parker at 6:43 am

      Hi Frederik,
      An additional question please:
      Should I use a freight forwarder, or go with the factory guys? If they ship DDU, does that mean that I just have to contact the poet of entry and give them my CC to pay the port fees, etc and the product arrives at my door?
      Best regards,
      Dale

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 11:21 am

        Hi Dale,

        You should book shipping via a forwarder, not the supplier.

        The process depends on where you are based

    6. Dale Parker at 6:39 am

      Hello Fredrik,
      I am importing video wall panels to the US from China. The manufacturer http://www.luckylight.cn/ is on Global Sources, and looks totally legit. According to Global Sources, the company is 25 years old, dues $250mil USD per year and has 3 factories. Google searches seem to confirm all this as well. I am still leery of just wiring a $30K deposit into the ether, but If there is no real recourse, I will. My endgame plan is to send my partner to view the cabinets in the final phase of production when they are “burning in”. When should I be expected to pay the final $70K? Is there a way to make that happen when the product is safely received by a 3rd party like the shipper?

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 11:19 am

        Hi Dale,

        Yes, you can write in the contract that you will only pay once the forwarder has received the goods.

        However, the real risk is not in them not shipping the goods.. but quality issues

        Hence, lab testing and quality control in the factory is crucial, before you wire the balance!

    7. Thissa at 6:14 am

      Dear Boris

      I did USD 140,000/- payment to a Chinese Manufacturer . Now the supplier disappeared for more than 5 Months .

      What can I do now.
      Thanks

      Thissa

    8. Max at 3:35 pm

      Hi
      I have deposited some money to start the work, for one factory . We made a contract on 24 th of April and they told me machines will be ready in 20 days. Nowadays I am in china and I have seen the factory, there is nothing has been done about my machines so they break the contract because it is already 32days. I have told to Factory director to send my money back. Firstly, he agreed then after sometime he start to refuse the give back the money. What can I do with this case ???

      1. ChinaImportal at 7:45 am

        Hi Max,

        Is the supplier listed on Alibaba.com and did you pay to their business account? A first step could be to report them to Alibaba.com.

    9. Vicky Liu at 3:39 am

      Paypal can be easily frozen without any warning or reasons. So more and more suppliers refuse to accept Paypal.

      For small amounts, Western union is a good choice.

      No matter which payment method you use, the most important is to check the supplier’s honesty before you pay.

      Here are two ways to check a supplier’s honesty:
      1) Google their export records
      2) Ask for Customer references

    10. Magnus at 9:38 am

      Hope someone here can help me.

      I have established a limited company in Hong Kong but so far have not yet opened a business bank account. I was using my personal bank accounts for the first business expenses.

      I am now willing to pay a supplier for an FOB delivery from this personal account.

      The supplier tells me that he can not accept payments from a personal account as this would not allow him to make the export tax reductions and also would not let him agree on FOB.

      To me this is new. Does this make sense?

      1. ChinaImportal at 4:41 am

        Hi Magnus,

        Yes, it’s possible that he is right. However, we cannot confirm this as there are so many regulations.

    11. Afan at 9:41 am

      Hi
      I need your advice,I bought an item from china, it is a piece of metal (pure vanadium ), and I paid the whole amount of the money, the seller gave me a final price for the item and the shipping cost, so I paid the money. they send the item by air fright using the UPS services . when the item arrived the UK, the courier asked for pay an extra money . so I contact the supplier and I told him about this issue and he said “We confirm we have paid freight charge(shipping cost). So, you don’t need to pay it. Our local UPS office told me that the fee you said might be an import duty you have to pay.” . is there any similar case to my situation and what is your advice.
      Thank you very much and grateful for your help in advance.

      1. ChinaImportal at 4:23 am

        Hi Afan,

        Import duties and VAT is not paid to the supplier in China, but upon arrival in the destination. However, UPS should be able to tell you exactly what you’re being billed for.

    12. Nurit Niskala at 11:32 am

      Hi
      I like to get your buyer guide please?
      Thank you,
      Nurit Niskala

      1. ChinaImportal at 3:58 am

        Hi Nurit,

        You can get the Buyer’s Guide directly on Chinaimportal.com

    13. Sanders at 7:53 am

      Hi Fredrik,

      Do you have experience in projects where the 30% down payment was made and production finished, but the buyer was not able to continue with the balance payment because of a recent increase in the USD exchange rate which increased his costs significantly?

      What do you think can be done in these cases? Would it be possible to get the buyers 30% down payment back?

      In this particular case, the product is machinery which was customized based on the buyers requirements.

      Best regards,

      Sanders

    14. Bill at 5:26 am

      question on foreign transactions the payor generally would be obigated to withold 30 percent on gross payment for tax purposes or are they exempt do we need to worry about this?

    15. Martin at 2:26 pm

      Hello,

      In the case of a T/T payment, what happens if Seller does not send the original Bill of Lading to the buyer? Is there a way to ensure that he does.

      Regards,

      Martin

      1. Angie at 4:25 pm

        I would also like to know the answer to this question. We have a factory who has shipped and have been paid in full but they will not release the bill of lading so that we will not be able to receive the goods when they arrive at port. How can they be compelled to do so?

    16. Ebrima Janneh at 5:40 pm

      Hello Fredrik, Am the CEO of Green Gambia. I’be been writing with the made-in-China for kraft paper bags, and they’re waiting for my official order. Sir am seeking your counselling and advice on the reliability of the company and best payment strategy. Rightnow am dearly in need of this to go successfully. I want to oder over a ton or more even depending on the company.

    17. Ebrima Janneh at 5:37 pm

      Hello Fredrik, Am the CEO of Green Gambia. I’be been writing with the made-in-China for kraft paper bags, and they’re waiting for my official order. Sir am seeking your counselling and advice on the reliability of the company and best payment strategy. Rightnow am dearly in need of this to go successfully.

    18. Tony at 2:55 am

      Hi Fredrick

      I am being told by a supplier i have used for quite sometime that if we pay from one country for example the USA the goods cannot be shipped to a different country say Dubai.

      They are telling me this is a new requirement being implemented by the government have you heard anything about this

      Best Regards

      Tony

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 8:30 am

        Hello Tony,

        No, I am not aware of any specific change of regulation. However, I do understand that the importing company usually (if not always) must be registered in the country of destination. Thus, listing an American entity as an importer in the UAE is therefore most likely not possible.

    19. Solongo at 4:34 pm

      Dear Fredrik,

      I found Shanghai Yuruida Chemical Industry to purchase paraffin wax.
      But I think I lost my money.

      What can i do now.
      Is Alibaba responsible or How I can contact Alibaba.

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 3:59 am

        Hello Solongo,

        No, Alibaba is not responsible, but you should be able to report this to them. If you can prove that you actually paid this supplier, and not an unrelated entity (e.g. offshore company or individual), you will be offered assistance.

      2. Jesus Michel at 8:15 pm

        Hello:

        I am in the same situation, did you find them

      3. Sam at 4:15 am

        This is a BIG red flag and the only flag I would need to pass on this company. A big chemical company would (I think I can say never when dealing with a chemical plant of this magnitude ) never use hotmail for an email address. This is their email on the website E-mail:hanshag000@hotmail.com

        1. Animesh at 1:51 pm

          Very good observation Sam. Even the website looks like that of a medium to small company, definitely not a big company.

    20. Boris C. at 9:49 am

      Apparently Fredrik PayPal is not buyer friendly because:

      1. If goods are bad/not as described then buyer is responsible for return shipping

      2. Deposit and final payment transactions are not protected

      Here is the link to relevant section in their terms of service: https://www.paypal.com/ca/webapps/mpp/ua/useragreement-full#13

      From here Escrow or Trade Assurance are the only safe options

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 5:55 am

        Hi Boris,

        True, but PayPal was built around Ebay from the very beginning, and not really with international trade in mind. The Alibaba Trade Assurance program on the other hand is built in such a way that it adds a layer of protection when importing from foreign suppliers.

        1. Boris C. at 6:44 am

          Do you know if wiring funds through T/T payer has some kind of protection against fraud and if some form of dispute resolution is available as well?

          1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 4:00 am

            Hello Boris,

            No such protection is offered. It’s up to the importer to carry out their due diligence process properly.

    21. Boris at 11:34 am

      Hi Fredrik! How were trade shows in China and Hong Kong this year?

      I wanted to ask about payment terms like PayPal and Escrow that protect you if supplier fails to deliver expected. With these methods you can save on production inspections service cost.

      With pre-order payment of 30% PayPal first invoice for purchase of raw materials or components, are there supposed to be terms or they should be specified on 30% balance payment’s second invoice? Because what happens if supplier get’s his 30% and runs away? The reasons can be a few like, scammer taking control of email account or supplier closes business? Asking supplier for invoice of materials or components purchased for your production feels uncomfortable but if there would be something that proves materials purchase within specified time frame in agreement, it would give some peace of mind.

      When balance payment of 70% is paid, you have to rely on supplier’s photos but how can you see on photos that your production conforms to sample and do you ask supplier take a photo of your entire production order (boxes/pallets)? In potential rare case but how can you be sure it’s your production photographed and not supplier’s other clients’ last orders before supplier closes factory?

      Would above be different with credit card payment method through Escrow? Since it’s done through Alibaba, does it serve as digital Purchase Order where you specify agreed sales terms and do you reference between pre-order and balance payment order? Can you dispute like you can with PayPal when goods received were not up to expectations and unlike PayPal, can Escrow reverse transaction if supplier runs with your money?

      Finally, do you know if PayPal can offer you way to screen supplier’s account to see if it’s business account with proven track record to make sure it’s not scammer you are dealing with?

      Thanks in advance

      Boris C.

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 6:46 pm

        Consider the deposit payment lost if anything goes wrong. It’s very hard to get it back, regardless of the reason. I would certainly not trust supplier photos. Instead, you must send a 3rd party quality inspector to the factory, or go there yourself. You cannot be sure that the supplier photos actually the represent the average quality level of the entire batch.

        I have never used Escrow, and I am not sure how it related to dispute resolutions. However, without proper documentation clearly defining the quality and standard of the product, I don’t think Alibaba would refund the money. In many cases, the buyer is at fault, as they have failed to clearly communicate product specifications. This happens far too often.

        No, I am not aware of any such service offered by PayPal.

        1. Boris at 7:38 pm

          Fredrik, what if freight forwarder offers inspection at their China warehouse and it turns out that one or more of there following scenarios occurred:

          1. There’s some deviation from sample’s quality/appearance
          2. Defect rate is higher than accepted
          3. Something is missing

          In this case what is supplier supposed to do and what can I do if I paid with PayPal or Alibaba? What can I do if I paid with bank transfer? What order of actions are recommended for amicable solution?

          For MOQ of 150-200 units costing small, what terms should I include to inform supplier of consequences due to non-conformity?

          I think that using payment methods with buyer protection and correct wording will allow some form of enforcement for supplier to respect terms of agreement and there will be no need for 3rd party inspection.

          Thanks.

    22. Boris at 3:00 pm

      Hi Fredrik

      As I am going through manufacturers on Alibaba and see a few that offer PayPal, credit card or Escrow payment, at this point should I have my peace of mind to stop my verification process? At worst case I will have assistance of 3rd party?

      But let’s take scenario with TT transfer when sourcing samples from 5 manufacturers. Doing TT transfer for each manufacturer will end up expensive just for samples. Maybe manufacturers will allow for PayPal transfer just for samples? If so, how do I know that PayPal payment address belongs to company’s account and not someone’s personal account?

      Thanks

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 4:15 pm

        Hello Boris,

        1. Don’t make a supplier selection based on payment methods. You may exclude those few suppliers that are actually reliable.

        2. Rather few suppliers offer PayPal payment. I know it is expensive to make a T/T payment, but there’s no way around it.

        1. Boris at 6:39 pm

          Then maybe you know someone in China who has warehouse to consolidate packages to save on shipping?

          1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 8:59 pm

            Hello Boris,

            Yes, indeed. However, not sure you’d save much on sample shipments though. But for regular shipments, it is possible to combine cargo from different suppliers.

            1. Boris at 9:18 pm

              Samples from multiple suppliers are known to have expensive air courier costs. If I manage to consolidate in a warehouse by asking suppliers to send internally in China, I could just ship them out all together and at least save on shipping even if majority of suppliers will only accept bank transfer.

              About regular shipments you mentioned that I can combine cargo from different suppliers. Were you referring to LCL sea shipping?

            2. Fredrik Grönkvist at 1:08 pm

              Hello Boris,

              1. Yes, but administration also costs money, so I don’t think you’ll save anything on individual sample shipments. At least not more than few dollars.
              2. Not necessary LCL shipment. You can mix cargo from different supplier in an FCL shipment. That could indeed save a lot of money.

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