The Payment Process for Imported Goods

Whether you import goods from overseas for personal use or business, you’ll need a secure and convenient way to pay for them.
Commonly-used methods for imported goods payment include credit card, bank transfers and PayPal. These vary in terms of costs, speed and other factors. We take a look at the pros and cons of each.

Credit cards

When you pay for overseas goods online using your credit card, the Australian dollars are converted into the foreign currency at the current exchange rate set by the card company.

Pros:

• Convenience – credit card foreign currency payments are generally very convenient and easy to manage.
• Speed – the process usually happens quickly which may speed up delivery of goods.
• Credit – you don’t have to have the funds in hand right now in order to make the payment.

Cons:

• Extra costs – credit card companies often charge international fees for foreign currency purchases, which gets processed to your account as an extra charge on top of the purchase. These fees can be as high as 3% of the value of the goods. This means if you import high-value items or you regularly import stock for your business, the costs can mount up pretty quickly.
• Variable exchange rates – you have no control over the exchange rates used. The rate you see at the time of purchase could also differ from the one actually applied when the transaction hits your account.
• High interest – credit cards are known for their high interest charges, and in that sense add to a business’s expenses. Interest is also charged on any international fees – something to factor in as well.
• Can be risky – online credit card fraud is increasing, making this possibly not the most secure method of transferring funds.

Bank Transfers:

You can transfer money from your account to an overseas supplier through online banking or by visiting a local branch of your bank. In this case the bank determines the exchange rate.

Pros:

• Security – using an Australian bank is a secure way to transfer funds overseas.
• Convenience – using your online bank account to transfer money overseas is an easy process.

Cons:

• Often slow – the imported goods payment can take several days to reach the target account.
• Costly – the exchange rates set by the bank are not designed to go in your favour! In fact government inquiries show that using the big banks is one of the most expensive ways to send money overseas.

PayPal account:

PayPal is a popular online payments system used worldwide. When you pay for overseas goods through a PayPal account, the payment is converted to the foreign currency using the rate set by the PayPal company.

Pros:

• Convenience – PayPal offers a very convenient way to buy and sell goods online in a business.
• Speed – transactions often happen very quickly.
• Security – PayPal has extra layers of security such as encryption of your account details, which could possibly make it a safer method than a credit card.

Cons:

• High costs – PayPal charges international fees at the rate of 2-4% of the cost of the goods, plus an additional fixed fee.
• Costly exchange rates – PayPal adds a mark-up of 3-4% on the current rate when converting to foreign currencies.
Currency Exchange – a better alternative
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the World Bank has found the costs of sending money overseas from Australia is significantly higher than the global average. This means anything you can do to reduce and control the cost of paying for imported goods has to be a good for your business and/or personal finances.

The Better Way:

Using Currency Exchange for imported goods payments can offer a multitude of benefits in this regard. You also get to avoid the disadvantages of other methods and the risks associated with them.
Here is what Currency Exchange offers:
• Lower costs – there are no transfer fees involved. Zero.
• Competitive exchange rates – far better than the banks.
• Flexibility – a range of services to suit your particular needs, including if you need to make multiple payments in different currencies.
• Personal manager – you get assigned a TorFX Account Manager who will help you reduce your costs and get the most out of your account.
• 24/7 access – once you have an account you can make online transfers of up to $50,000 at any time. Higher amounts can be transferred via a phone call request.
• Spot and Forward Contracts – allowing you to lock in favourable exchange rates for immediate and future transfers.
• Online tools – for setting and targeting specific rates.
• Security and speed – fast and secure transactions.
Using Currency Exchange (TorFX) to pay for imported goods can certainly save you a lot of time, money and stress. To find out more, click here.