For exporters, any sale is a gift until payment is received. For importers, any payment is a donation until the goods are received. Successful exporters and importers recognize this conundrum and are able to negotiate payment terms that recognize the inherent risk and yet meet the needs of both parties.
There are five primary methods of payment in international trade that range from most to least secure. Of course, the most secure method for the exporter is the least secure method for the importer and vice versa. They key is striking the right balance for both sides. This article focuses on open account.