With this payment method, the exporter can avoid credit risk, since payment is received prior to the transfer of ownership of the goods. There are three types of cash- in advance- payment method: wire transfer, credit card, and payment by check. Wire transfers and credit cards are the most commonly used cash-in-advance options available to exporters. However, requiring payment in advance is the least attractive option for the buyer, as this method creates cash flow problems. Foreign buyers are also concerned that the goods may not be sent if payment is made in advance. Thus, exporters that insist on this method of payment as their sole method of doing business may find themselves losing out to competitors who may be willing to offer more attractive payment terms. For more detailed information on the cash-in-advance payment method see Chapter 2 of the Trade Finance Guide.
Letters of credit (LCs) are among the most secure instruments available to international traders. An LC is a commitment by a bank on behalf of the buyer that payment will be made to the exporter provided that the terms and conditions have been met, as verified through the presentation of all required documents. The buyer pays its bank to render this service. An LC is useful when reliable credit information about a foreign buyer is difficult to obtain, but you are satisfied with the creditworthiness of your buyer’s foreign bank. An LC also protects the buyer since no payment obligation arises until the goods have been shipped or delivered as promised. The letters of credit can take many forms: irrevocable or revocable, confirmed, or special (transferable, revolving or standby). For more detailed information on the payment method involving various types of letters of credit see Chapter 3 of the Trade Finance Guide. To obtain a letter of credit, contact the international division of your local bank . Alternatively, see the list of commercial banks listed by state on the U.S. Export Bank’s Lender Referral List.
A documentary collection is a transaction whereby the exporter entrusts the collection of a payment to the remitting bank (exporter’s bank), which sends documents to a collecting bank (importer’s bank), along with instructions for payment. Funds are received from the importer and remitted to the exporter through the banks involved in the collection in exchange for those documents. Documentary collections involve the use of a draft that requires the importer to pay the face amount either on sight (document against payment—D/P) or on a specified date in the future (document against acceptance—D/A). The draft lists instructions that specify the documents required for the transfer of title to the goods. Although banks do act as facilitators for their clients under collections, documentary collections offer no verification process and limited recourse in the event of nonpayment. Drafts are generally less expensive than letters of credit. For more detailed information on the letter of credit payment method see chapter go to Chapter 4 of the Trade Finance Guide. To obtain a letter of credit, contact the international division of your bank. Alternatively, see the list of commercial banks listed by state on the U.S. Export –Import Bank’s Lender Referral List
An open account transaction means that the goods are shipped and delivered before payment is due, usually in 30 to 90 days. Obviously, this is the most advantageous option to the importer in cash flow and cost terms, but it is consequently the highest risk option for an exporter. Due to the intense competition for export markets, foreign buyers often press exporters for open account terms since the extension of credit by the seller to the buyer is more common abroad. Therefore, exporters who are reluctant to extend credit may face the possibility of the loss of the sale to their competitors. However, with the use of one or more of the appropriate trade finance techniques, such as export working capital financing, government-guaranteed export working capital programs, export credit insurance, export factoring, the exporter can offer open competitive account terms in the global market while substantially mitigating the risk of nonpayment by the foreign buyer. For more detailed information on the open account payment method see Chapter 5 of the Trade Finance Guide