International Trade Payment Methods

The five major processes of transaction in international trade are the following –


Prepayment occurs when the payment of a debt or instalment payment is done before the due date. A prepayment can include the entire balance or any upcoming part of the entire payment paid in advance of the due date. In prepayment, the borrower is obligated by a contract to pay for the due amount. Examples of prepayment include rent or loan repayments.

Letter of Credit

A Letter of Credit is a letter from a bank that guarantees that the payment due by the buyer to a seller will be made timely and for the given amount. In case the buyer cannot make payment, the bank will cover the entire or remaining portion of the payment.


Sight Draft − It is a kind of bill of exchange, where the exporter owns the title to the transported goods until the importer acknowledges and pays for them. Sight drafts are usually found in case of air shipments and ocean shipments for financing the transactions of goods in case of international trade.

Time Draft − It is a type of foreign check guaranteed by the bank. However, it is not payable in full until the duration of time after it is obtained and accepted. In fact, time drafts are a short-term credit vehicle used for financing goods’ transactions in international trade.


It is an arrangement to leave the goods in the possession of another party to sell. Typically, the party that sells receives a good percentage of the sale. Consignments are used to sell a variety of products including artwork, clothing, books, etc. Recently, consignment dealers have become quite trendy, such as those offering specialty items, infant clothing, and luxurious fashion items.

Open Account

Open account is a method of making payments for various trade transactions. In this arrangement, the supplier ships the goods to the buyer. After receiving and checking the concerned shipping documents, the buyer credits the supplier’s account in their own books with the required invoice amount.

The account is then usually settled periodically; say monthly, by sending bank drafts by the buyer, or arranging through wire transfers and air mails in favor of the exporter.

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