The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Alibaba Payment Methods in 2023

by Stanley


Choosing between all the different Alibaba payment methods can be confusing if you’re buying in bulk for the first time. 

And, of course, since we’re talking about larger transactions, we want a secure way of sending the money to the supplier’s bank account and ensuring that we receive what we ordered. 

So, to help you, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on the best Alibaba payment methods for everyone’s needs. 

Let’s jump right in!

Alibaba payment methods

How to Pay on Alibaba?

There are several different Alibaba payment methods you can choose from. Some are generally available for all countries, while others vary depending on your location. 

Here are your options:

Alibaba Secure Payment – Escrow (Alipay)

If you decide to use the Alibaba Secure Payment option, you’ll run the smallest risk of fraud. 

Via Alipay, Alibaba is able to offer escrow services for several different payment methods (up to a certain amount): 

  • Credit Card (max. $50,000)
  • Telegraphic Transfer (no limit)
  • Western Union (max. $5,000)
  • QIWI (max. $5,000)
  • Web Money (max. $10,000)
  • Yandex (max. $1,000)

For suppliers, escrow means that you don’t ship the product until you receive payment confirmation. However, the funds aren’t released to you until the buyer confirms that they received what they ordered. 

For buyers, it means that you will pay for the order and your funds will remain in escrow until you receive the product and confirm that it’s in good condition. 

So, in this case, Alibaba acts as the intermediary that protects both parties. 

All in all, if you want to stay on the safe side, collaborate with a Trade Assurance supplier and place a Trade Assurance order. 

Alibaba Payment Links

Alibaba payment links became a popular way to pay for samples or transfer smaller amounts quickly. 

Your Alibaba supplier can generate a payment link directly from their Alibaba account, and send it to you. The link remains valid for 72 hours, giving you, the buyer, enough time to complete the purchase. 

These links typically look something like this:


By using payment links, you’ll ensure that you’re paying directly to the supplier’s bank account associated with their Alibaba account and avoid scams. 

Alibaba Payment Terms

Alibaba Payment Terms are a widely used delayed payment method in the US, but still not so popular for cross-border transactions. 

With Payment Terms, you pay about a 30% down payment, and the rest can be paid up to 60 days from the day of shipping the products. 

To become eligible for Payment Terms, you need an Alibaba account, a business email domain, and a location in the US. 

If approved, the Alibaba Payment Terms can act as a credit line. Additionally, you have no transaction or processing fees. 


PayPal is typically an acceptable payment method for most Alibaba suppliers. However, you should be aware that PayPal is not one of the Alibaba Secure Payment methods. So, any potential disputes will not be handled by Alibaba. 

However, PayPal has its own buyer protection guidelines, making it a safe payment option for Alibaba suppliers. 


Debit or Credit Card

On Alibaba, you can pay with all VISA, MasterCard, or American Express-issued debit or credit cards. 

However, note that the maximum transaction amount when paying with a card is $50,000. 

Wire Transfer (T/T)

Using Telegraphic Transfer under the Alibaba Secure Payment program can be a good way to pay for bulk orders since it has no maximum transaction amount limits. 

However, T/T can be a risky choice if the supplier asks you to pay offline, directly to their bank account, without using Alibaba protection. 

For a wire transfer payment process, you will need these details:

  • Beneficiary
  • Beneficiary address
  • Account number
  • Bank name
  • Bank address
  • SWIFT code
  • Bank country

If you aren’t using the Alibaba Secure Payment program but paying the supplier directly or offline, make sure these details align with their Alibaba account details. 

Do not pay to bank accounts in different countries with various account holder names you don’t recognize. 

Online Bank Payment

Another payment method available to European countries is the Alibaba Online Transfer. This service allows European importers to pay in their currency. 

Some of the countries where this payment method is allowed are the UK, Germany, Finland, Poland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, Estonia, Italy, Spain, Ireland, etc. 

Western Union

Choosing Western Union as a payment method might be available if you buy from the US and pay in USD. 

However, note that WU payments are considered risky when they’re done outside of Alibaba’s secure payment system (if you’re paying a supplier directly). Plus, they usually have a higher transaction fee, anywhere from $4.90 to $45 – depending on the amount. 


L/C stands for Letter of Credit and this is another off-platform payment method you can propose to your supplier. 

Letter of Credit is similar to Alibaba’s escrow – it keeps the funds until a certain action is fulfilled and triggers a release. 

Some of the documents needed for a somewhat secure L/C payment are a bill of lading and quality control test reports. 


Boleto is a Brazilian local and well-known payment method available on Alibaba. 

With Boleto, you’ll have a transaction fee of 1.3% only. 

However, note that Boleto only supports USD currency and has a transfer limit of $3,000/month per account. 

Apple Pay

Apple Pay is another payment method under the Alibaba Trade Assurance program. 

If you choose a Trade Assurance supplier and are located in a country where Apple Pay is available, you should see it as a viable payment method. 

Apple Pay


European countries ordering from Alibaba suppliers can usually also choose Klarna. 

Klarna is a popular “buy now, pay later” method that is commonly used throughout the EU. 

If Klarna isn’t an option in your location, try to check out Alibaba Payment Terms as a delayed payment method. 

What Is Alibaba Trade Assurance?

Trade Assurance is a free service that protects you in terms of:

  • Product quality
  • On-time shipment

You can simply place an order with a Trade Assurance supplier, and choose one of the accepted payment methods. 

Your order will be protected for 30 days after receiving it. You can file a request for a refund or return if your supplier doesn’t ship the order on time or the product quality isn’t as specified. 

All in all, Alibaba Trade Assurance is a great service that adds a layer of protection to your supply chain. 

How Much Does Alibaba Charge per Transaction?

Typically, Alibaba.com charges a 2.99% processing fee when paying with a credit or debit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. 

How Much Does Alibaba Charge Per Transaction

Payments with Telegraphic Transfer (T/T) have a higher transaction fee of around $40, but this can vary depending on your bank. 

Finally, if you choose online transfer, the processing fee depends on the amount:

  • $1 – $1,000 – $15 fee
  • $1,001 – $10,000 – $20 fee
  • Over $10,000 – $25 fee

FAQs about Alibaba Payment Methods

Now, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions on Alibaba payment options. 

What Is the Best Way to Pay on Alibaba?

When we talk about the best in terms of safest and quickest, the accepted Alibaba Secure Payment methods are always the first thing to choose when there’s an option. PayPal and credit or debit card payments (VISA, MasterCard, American Express) are also good ways to pay. 

What Forms of Payment Does Alibaba Accept?

Alibaba accepts many different payment methods: PayPal, debit card, credit card, wire transfer (T/T), online bank transfer, Western Union, D/P, L/C, Escrow Payment (Alipay), Alibaba Payment Terms, Boleto, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Klarna.

However, not all payment methods will be available to all countries. For instance, Western Union is allowed for the US only, while Klarna payments are available for EU countries only. 

Alibaba Payment Methods

Can I Pay Cash onDelivery on Alibaba?

Cash On Delivery, otherwise known as the COD payment method, is typically not used in international trade and shipments from abroad. So, the answer is no, Alibaba doesn’t accept COD payments, only prepaid ones. 

COD payment methods are suitable mainly for local businesses that want to gain credibility and trust. It’s a way of zero-risk online buying – you don’t pay anything until you get the order. Refunds, returns, or size/fit replacements are also common with these types of transactions. 

Can I Pay Cash On Delivery on Alibaba

Does Alibaba Accept Paypal?

Yes. The majority of Alibaba suppliers accept PayPal as a payment method. However, note that PayPal isn’t an official payment option promoted by Alibaba and it doesn’t fall under the Alibaba Secure Payments. 

Is It Safe to Use PayPal on Alibaba?

Typically, PayPal is considered one of the safest ways to pay Alibaba suppliers since it has an integrated buyer protection program. 

However, you should be aware that PayPal isn’t an officially supported payment method and doesn’t belong in the Alibaba Secure Payment program. 

As such, you will rely on support and refunds only on PayPal and Alibaba won’t be able to assist you in potential disputes. 

Is Payment through Alibaba Safe?

Alibaba allows many different payment methods, each carrying a different level of risk involved. 

Generally speaking, all payment methods acceptable with the Alibaba Secure Payment option are safe. PayPal is another relatively safe option, although they aren’t associated with Alibaba. 

Avoid using Western Union or T/T to pay offline directly to suppliers since you’ll have practically no guarantee and security. If you choose one of these two methods, make sure it’s under the Escrow secure payments program. 

Does Alibaba Accept Klarna?

Alibaba suppliers accept Klarna as an online transfer payment but this service is available only to European countries. If you’re buying from countries outside of the EU, you might be able to find a Klarna alternative on Alibaba. 

Generally speaking, you can use PayPal, Online Transfer, or Credit/Debit Card payments from almost all countries. 

Does Alibaba Accept Klarna

What Is a TT Payment on Alibaba?

A T/T payment is otherwise known as a Telegraphic Transfer or Wire Transfer. 

These are bank payments directly to supplier accounts, requiring details such as the beneficiary name, address, bank account, SWIFT code, etc. 

Generally speaking, T/T is used for bulk payments that are not supported under Alibaba Secure Payment, but they can be risky. 

Is TT Payment Safe on Alibaba?

If you use T/T payments as part of the Alibaba Secure Payment program, then you can enjoy the Alibaba escrow protection and stay on the safe side. 

However, wire transfers directly to a supplier’s bank account (away from the Alibaba platform) are deemed risky.

What Is the Safest Payment Method on Alibaba?

PayPal is considered to be among the safest payment methods in terms of the buyer protection it offers. However, PayPal is not associated with Alibaba, so Alibaba Trade Assurance won’t secure your payment. 

Using the Alibaba Secure Payment escrow service is another recommended way to pay. Credit or debit cards are also considered relatively safe. 

Can I Pay with Online Transfer on Alibaba?

If you’re a European importer, then yes, you can pay your Alibaba supplier by choosing an online bank transfer as your payment method and even pay in your currency. 

Some countries that support online transfers are the UK, Germany, Finland, Poland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, Estonia, Italy, Spain, Ireland, etc. 

How Do I Make Sure Alibaba Suppliers Are Legit?

To ensure you’re ordering from a trustworthy supplier and avoid Alibaba scams, be on the lookout for the following signs:

  • A verified supplier badge
  • Supplier reviews and user feedback
  • Trade Assurance badges
  • Response time
  • Number of orders

Beware that on Alibaba, you can find both wholesalers and manufacturers. If you’re looking for OEM or ODM products, manufacturers are your best bet. 

Does Alibaba Deliver to the Philippines?

Yes, Alibaba is available in the Philippines and Alibaba suppliers do ship to the Philippines. 

Will Alibaba Refund My Money?

If you order from a Trade Assurance supplier, you have a 30-day warranty from the days of receiving your products. 

You can open a dispute and ask for a refund if your order doesn’t arrive on time or if the products aren’t as specified in the order. 

For this reason, it’s important to be as detailed as possible when placing an order. Later on, you’ll have proof of exactly what you ordered, increasing your chances of winning and getting a refund. 

What Are the Alibaba Payment Methods Fees?

  • Credit or debit card – 2.99% processing fee 
  • PayPal – 2.99%
  • Apple Pay and Google Pay – 2.99%
  • Telegraphic Transfer (T/T) – around $40 (can vary depending on your bank)

As for online transfer, the processing fee depends on the amount:

  • $1 – $1,000 – $15 fee
  • $1,001 – $10,000 – $20 fee
  • Over $10,000 – $25 fee

Who Pays for Return Shipping on Alibaba?

If you’ve placed a Trade Assurance order, you will always receive a refund for your return shipping costs. 

However, suppose your transaction was done outside of the Alibaba platform, such as via direct Western Union payment or T/T to the supplier’s bank account. In that case, Alibaba won’t help you in your dispute. 

If you’re negotiating external payment with your supplier, draft a precise contract mentioning all the roles and responsibilities of both sides. That’s the only way to protect yourself and oblige the supplier to cover the costs of return shipping.

Who Pays for Return Shipping on Alibaba

Why Can’t I Pay on Alibaba?

There can be several different reasons for a failed payment on Alibaba:

  • Unsupported card type (supported are VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Diners, and Discover)
  • Insufficient funds on your card
  • A mistake in typing the card information (number, expiry date, CVV, cardholder name, etc.)
  • An expired credit or debit card
  • Exceeding the payment limit for the chosen payment method
  • Security concerns (Alibaba’s system performs random security checks on transactions)

If your Alibaba payment was unsuccessful, one of the above reasons is the likely culprit. 

In this case, we recommend trying another card, recharging your current card, or choosing a different payment method such as T/T or PayPal (depending on what the problem is). 

What Is the Cheapest Way to Pay on Alibaba?

Some great cheap ways to pay on Alibaba are PayPal and credit or debit cards. 

If you’re purchasing a huge order and need to transfer a larger amount of money, wire transfer is also a method to consider since it has a fixed processing fee. 

Does Alibaba Charge a Transaction Fee?

The transaction fee for a Trade Assurance order is 3%. Depending on the chosen payment method, this number can go higher (in the case of T/T, for instance). 

Can I Pay Suppliers on Alibaba by Letter of Credit (L/C)?

L/C isn’t an official payment method supported and secured by the Alibaba platform. However, same as you can pay via T/T transfer outside of Alibaba, you can also agree to pay with a Letter of Credit off the platform.

Note that, you carry all the transaction risk in this case and Alibaba cannot help you in case of a dispute. 

Can I Pay Suppliers on Alibaba by Letter of Credit (LC)

Is It Safe to Pay Alibaba Suppliers via Western Union?

If you’re paying with Western Union under the Alibaba Secure Payment program, then yes, paying via Western Union can be safe since the money stays in escrow. 

However, if you’re paying via Western Union offline, directly to suppliers, then no, it’s not safe. You aren’t protected and run the risk of receiving faulty products or worse – no products at all. 

How Long Is the Payment Processing Time for Each Alibaba Payment Method?

Here is the processing time of each payment method individually:

  • Credit/Debit Card – 1-2 hours
  • PayPal – 1-2 hours
  • Apple Pay – 1-2 hours
  • Google Pay – 1-2 hours
  • Western Union – 1 business day
  • Wire Transfer (domestic) – 1-2 business days
  • Wire Transfer (international) – 3-7 business days

To Sum Up

All in all, buying from Alibaba can be great for your business and allow you to set high-profit margins when done right. However, you need to choose the right supplier, and, more importantly, a safe and efficient payment method. 

Hopefully, our guide to choosing the best Alibaba payment methods for your needs has helped you get some clarity and make an informed decision. 

If you’re looking to buy in bulk from China, we’re here for you. Take advantage of our free sourcing quote service and let us find the perfect product for your needs. You don’t have to deal with Alibaba payment methods to succeed in eCommerce! 

About the Author

stanley nieh ceo


Over 10 years of experience in foreign trade
Helped 2k+ clients improve their eCommerce businesses

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