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Protecting Your International Ventures

Don't get swindled by overseas customers.

In the global marketplace, do you know how to get paid without losing your shirt? The first step is to call your banker. He or she will suggest one of three payment methods: payment in advance, a letter of credit, or a sight or time draft. A good international banker can walk you through your choices.

If you'd rather make a go of it on your own, PayPalis good for payment on transactions of less than $10,000. And VeriSign's CyberCashand Worldpayboth accept multi-currency payments and offer specialized options.

On larger transactions, Ec-Finance.comand AVG Letter of Credit Management LLCare two reputable companies offering letters of credit that guarantee payment.

Thinking of selling goods on open account? Don't. This method of payment cannot be used safely unless you're dead certain that the buyer is creditworthy, and unless the country of destination is politically and economically stable. Otherwise, it's a huge risk.

Laurel Delaney runs GlobeTrade.comand LaurelDelaney.com, Chicago-based firms that specialize in international entrepreneurship.

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This article was originally published in the March 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Snag Your Cash.

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