The process of importing goods from China or any other country can be divided into three main stages; the ordering stage, payment stage and shipment stage, in many of the articles published earlier on this blog, I have given great concentration to ordering stage, with little tips on what the payment and shipment stage entails, however, this article would focus on the payment stage of importing from China. Other than the language barrier issue (especially if you’re importing from our secret website; 1688.com) there are other challenges that would possibly come your way during the process, but once you master the system, it won’t be an issue of concern for your business, I would therefore try as much as possible to give a concise information on the process of making payments for your goods. Every system has its flaw, the same thing can be said of the mini importation business, there are scammers out there too, and if proper care is not taken, it’s easy to fall into their hand.
Making Payments for Goods
There are various methods of making payment online, in my experience as an importer, the most secure method is through the Escrow service, the escrow service is generally the default payment method for any trustworthy B2B website such as Aliexpress, DHgate, 1688, e.t.c, Escrow service provides an extra layer of security, when you make use of the escrow payment service, filling out your credit card details allows escrow to access your bank details and charge you the exact amount of your goods, after which they hold the money until you confirm that the goods has been delivered safely and is according to the specification, once the order and shipment has been completed it takes approximately two weeks before Escrow service release the money to your supplier.
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It’s very easy to trust the seller if you’re making payment for your goods through the escrow service, and I would always advise that you take advantage of this service for your business since it incurs no extra charges and also provide a secure platform for business transactions. If anything should go wrong along the way, provided the goods did not meet your expectation, you can always ship the goods back to the supplier and request for a refund, once Escrow is able to verify your claim, your money would be refunded.
However, some sellers do not make use of the Escrow service, this does not necessarily mean they’re not a genuine company, some companies would refuse to use Escrow service mostly because it hoards their investment capital for two weeks before the money is released into their account, these companies see this as a bad transaction model since it puts the seller at much greater risk than the buyer. Once you’re able to authenticate the genuineness of such company, there are other secure ways of making payment if you desire to order from their store, I would discuss the method in the later part of this post.
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Moneygram and western union money transfer is another method of making payments for goods online, although not as secured as Escrow service and Bank Transfer, I would strongly suggest the newbies should refrain from making payment through Moneygram, especially if you’ve never ordered from the store before. Making payment through Moneygram or Western Union transfer is synonymous to sending money to anonymous individual, there is no layer of security for your fund simply because once the receiver claims the money, you can’t request for a refund, placing the buyer at the mercy of the supplier. If a store won’t compromise on their payment method, either by providing alternative payment method, I would strongly advise that you refrain from transacting with them because often, this method is not always secure for the buyer.
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Some banks in Nigeria allow international fund transfer from your domiciliary account to another country; the process is somewhat complicated, but far more secured that Moneygram/TnT/Western Union, the destination of the fund can always be traced if any issue should arise during the payment process. You can always consult your bank on how to setup a dorm account for international bank transfer.
Earlier in the article, I mentioned that some companies may choose not to accept payment through Escrow service, because of the delay the experience before getting credited. If you desire to order items from this company, there is another secure way around it and this is where a third party comes in; an agent. Basically, what the third party comes does, is to buy the goods on your behalf, and send it back to you in Nigeria.
Often, this agent company function as an intermediary between the store and buyer, once you find the item of your choice, and you discover that they do not accept Escrow payment method, you can always get in-touch with this agents, give them the link to your goods, and tell them the specification of what you want, often, this agents have associates in Nigeria and China. Example of third party agent is ChrisVicMall Inc. in Nigeria; you can check them out on Google or Nairaland.
They would instruct you to make payment to their associate in Nigeria through normal bank deposit in Nigeria, on the other end, their associate in China would then make payment for your goods in China through local transfer to the store, which is somewhat more secure, when making payment for your goods, they may input your residential address in Nigeria, directly as the shipping address, or ship it to their associate in Nigeria, where you can proceed to claim your goods.
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The benefit of using this agents in such cases is that the bear the responsibility of ensuring a secure transaction. Take note that third party agent charge a certain amount of money for rendering this service, but I think it worth it compared to the level of risk a buyer is exposed to when buying directly in situations where Escrow service is not allowed.