How and When do I Pay my Supplier?

A common concern when importing goods from overseas is how and when to pay your supplier for the products that you are purchasing.  Understandably, handing over your money to a manufacturer for the first time can be very daunting, particularly for first time importers.  When shipping goods from Asia to the UK, without an expensive trip to source your supplier it’s unlikely that you will have seen the whites of each others eyes.  As a result, both the buyer and the seller are looking to ensure that they won’t be left in a difficult situation.  The seller doesn’t want to be left holding goods that they’ve made specifically and now can’t sell, and the buyer wants to receive the goods that they’ve paid for.

There are no strict rules as to how and when you should pay your supplier as it’s often negotiable and based on the type of goods and trading history of the two parties:

When do I Pay?

  •  Deposit and balance – The standard way, particularly when placing bulk orders.  This methods comits the buyer to between 30 and 50% payment upfront, which allows the supplier to produce the products.  The remaining balance is then paid when the shipping document (Bill of lading) is released, denoting transfer of ownership.
  • Upfront payment – for smaller or first time orders this is generally insisted upon the payment method and is rarely negotiable.  If you’re a first time buyer with a fairly substantial order you may be able to negotiate a deposit and balance deal.
  • Funds paid upon receipt – Payment terms that include some or all of the funds to be paid to the seller after delivery to the buyer are rare and very much based on trust. You must have a very good working relationship with your supplier in order to obtain this payment method.

Shippo; best way to pay oversea supplierspay after delivery ukpaying overseas suppliersfind my supplier, trends

How do I Pay?

  •  Bank Transfer- this is standard and is most common way to pay a supplier.
  • PayPal – this method is safe but is less frequently used.
  • Credit Cards – this is a safe payment method.  Good for buying goods from the USA but it’s unlikely that Chinese supplier’s will be able to accept it
  • Letter of Credit  – with this method the bank would assure payment to the seller, providing certain documents have been received such as the bill of lading.


We are more than happy to advise on the matter, so if you are unsure don’t hesitate to contact us.

For more information on how and when to pay overseas suppliers, contact us at or call on 0203 384 0498.

anchor-icon Need a quote? Go