Alibaba is a directory of suppliers, an online platform created to search factories and trading companies in China and other countries around the world. The site has also become one of the largest Chinese financial companies through the Alipay payment system. Due to the huge number of customers, Alibaba offers a wide range of payment methods, from credit cards to PayPal and letter of credit. If the seller does not ship the products within the agreed time or fails to meet all quality requirements, Alibaba Trade Assurance allows the buyer to apply for a refund.
Alibaba payment methods – fees
Although Trade Assurance is theoretically free of charge, customers must pay a fee for:
- Payment processing fee for payments via:
- Credit card – the processing fee is 2.95% of the transaction’s total amount, which is automatically deducted from the payment. The payment is processed within 2-3 days.
- Online bank payments – the processing fee varies for specific payment amounts. It takes 4-5 business days for US accounts) and 9-10 business days (for SEPA accounts) to process the payment after Alibaba.com has deducted the payment from your account.
- T/T telegraph transfer – handling fee depends on region and banks. It usually takes 3 to 7 business days. Contact your bank for details.
- Western Union – processing fee depends on the amount of payment. The process takes one business day.
- Boleto – the handling fee is 1.35% of the total transaction amount. It takes 2-4 business days.
- Pay Later – no handling fee. It takes 1-3 business days. It is only available for US merchants invited by Alibaba. Buyers cannot pay more than the credit granted.
- E-Checking – the transaction fee is $15 per transaction. Payment through E-Checking takes 4-5 business days.
- Service fee from the seller after receiving the payment
For orders over $5,000, the seller needs to pay 5% for the wholesale products; 1% or 2% for customized products (1% of orders should be shipped via Alibaba logistics service, and 2% of the order will not be shipped via Alibaba logistics service). However, when it comes to an order amount over $5,000, there is no service fee, and the order must be shipped via One Touch.
Alibaba payment methods overview
Alibaba.com integrates numerous existing payment systems, including credit cards, telegraph transfer, and Western Union. Transfers are one of the most frequently used payment methods in the world. It turns out that banks charge their customers a fixed transfer fee between $30 and $50.
Advantages: Payments require 2 hours to reach the designated supplier’s bank account.
Disadvantages: You can use only Visa and MasterCard cards. The payment limit per transaction is $12,000.
Bank transfer or T/T (Telegraphic transfer)
Advantages: Widely accepted worldwide. In addition, bank transfer fees, which are particularly beneficial for larger orders, have been fixed. Besides, it is possible to negotiate payment terms in the event of a smaller upfront payment and subsequent withdrawal of the balance, reducing risk.
Disadvantages: The process takes 5-7 business days. Beware of the tricks in the contracts – any mistakes in making the transfer will cause significant delays.
Recommendation: Take advantage of low fixed costs and use T/T for larger orders from trusted suppliers.
This option is only available if the country of registration is Brazil and the delivery address is in this country. Currency: USD. Handling fee: 1.35% of payments. Refund: Same refund process as for credit cards, and it takes 10-15 business days to receive it.
Advantages: Payment is processed within 2-4 business days.
Disadvantages: This payment option is not available when using the Alibaba phone app – only possible on computers. The maximum payment limit is $3,000 monthly per account.
Pay Later is a new way to pay for Trade Assurance orders.
Advantages: Limit up to $150,000 through Pay Later. The transfer takes from 5-7 days. Competitive rates. Favorable terms. No fees for customized transactions.
Disadvantages: Pay Later is available only in the United States. The refund fee is RMB 250 each.
Available only to buyers with cheque accounts at any bank in the United States and Europe.
Advantages: Low transaction fees ($15 per transaction). Quick transfers (4-5 business days deducting payment on your behalf after verifying your cheque account and Alibaba.com authorization).
Online transfer is a new way of payment in 16 European countries. Alibaba has established a partnership with Trustly and Ingenico that process payments.
Advantages: Payment made in the chosen currency.
Disadvantages: An additional fee is charged depending on the amount of the transfer. Order between $1 and $1,000 costs $15. From $1,001 to $10,000, it is $20. If the order value is over $10,000, the additional cost will be $25.
Payment method comparison on Alibaba
The most common and recommended practice is T/T telegraph transfer in USD via Trade Assurance. Direct transfers to Chinese accounts require caution and are unlikely to be used if the transfer recipient is not known personally. Generally, for small importers, the most common payment methods are bank cards, bank transfers, or T/T. For large orders, it is recommended to use T/T. Also, bear in mind that the maximum transaction amount for credit card payments is $20,000. Besides, credit card companies charge a higher transaction fee compared to T/T payments.
Western Union – provides little protection and has a high risk of fraud.