Cash in advance payment in international trade

Cash in advance (CIA) is a payment method in international trade. Cash in advance is also known as cash with order or advance payment by most exporters and importers.

Key Characteristics :

  1. Whenever we see a cash in advance payment we should expect full order amount will be paid by the importer to the exporter prior to the transfer of ownership of the goods.
  2. In most cases exporters demand significant advance payments on order confirmation. Some common pharases we see in that effect are as follows

  • %50 of proforma invoice total will be paid on order confirmation, remaining %50 will be paid 1 week before shipment.
  • %30 of proforma invoice total will be paid 1 week after order confirmation, remaining %70 will be paid against copy of shipment documents send via e-mail or fax.

  1. Cash in advance payment is the most secure payment method in international trade for exporters as it eliminates non payment risk especially when money transfer is done via wire transfer. 
  2. By paying total value of the goods before receiving them importers have to bear some risks such as;

  • non shipment risks
  • low quality goods
  • non compliance risks
  • custom clearance risks

"...no set of rules exists that governs cash in advance payment."

Rules of the Cash in Advance Payment : 

There is no set of rules exists that governs cash in advance payment used in international trade. UCP 600 is the set of rules for letters of credit (LOC) transactions and URC 522 is the set of rules for cash against documets (CAD) payments. Both UCP 600 and URC 522 is published by ICC (International Chamber of Commerce). But on the other hand ICC has not published any rules for the cash in advance payments. For this reason exporters and importers have to identify cash in advance payment details on the proforma invoice or international sales contract in order to prevent misunderstandings and possible mistakes.

Payment Settlement Methods for Cash in Advance Payment 

Wire Transfer :  Wire transfer is the most secure and preferred cash-in-advance payment settlement method used in international trade transactions. A wire transfer is an electronic payment service for transferring funds by wire for example, through the Federal Reserve Wire Network or the Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS). Wire transfer can either be sent via online banking or traditional banking applications. In order to complete an international wire transfer correctly you need to specify below details;

  1. Currency of the wire transfer and wire transfer total
  2. Name of the account holder : 
  3. Full Name and address of the bank :
  4. Bank Branch :
  5. Account number :
  6. Swift Code : SWIFT is the short form of "Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication". SWIFT is an industry-owned co-operative supplying secure, standardized messaging services and interface software to nearly 8,100 financial institutions in 207 countries and territories. SWIFT members include banks, broker-dealers and investment managers. While not always required, a SWIFT Code may be required by some banks for the completion of wire transfers.
  7. IBAN Number : (if applicable) The International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is the international standard for identifying international bank accounts across national borders. The IBAN is comprised of a maximum of 27 alphanumeric characters within Europe and a maximum of 34 outside of Europe (German IBAN: 22 characters). At present, the United States does not participate in IBAN. Therefore, US banks do not have an IBAN number.

Credit Card : For small scale orders credit cards could be used as a viable cash-in-advance payment method in international trade. As international credit card transactions are typically placed via online, telephone, or fax methods that facilitate fraudulent transactions, proper precautions should be taken to determine the validity of transactions before the goods are shipped.

Although exporters must endure the fees charged by credit card companies, this option may help the business grow because of its convenience.

Payment by Check : Advance payment using an international check may result in a lengthy collection delay of several weeks to months. Therefore, this method may defeat the original intention of receiving payment before shipment.  Moreover, there is always a risk that a check may be returned due to insufficient funds in the buyer’s account. As a result payment by check is a less-attractive cash-in-advance settlement method in international trade finance. 

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What is cash in advance payment in international trade?
We discuss cash in advance also known as cash with order on this page in detail. You can find below topics; key characteristics of cash in advance payment, rules of cash in advance payment and settlement methods of advance payment such as wire transfer.

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