I could provide you the following suggestions you may want to try for your payments for China manufacturers or suppliers:
First, credit cards are very rare so you canâ€™t expect to be able to pay with your VISA. Some companies from Mainland China have offices in Hong Kong (HK) and they may accept credit cards as well as PayPal. Secondly, there is no such a thing as 100% safe payment method. Even credit card wonâ€™t protect you in every situation so always, always take extra mile to verify supplier you want to deal with.
So in first place â€“ make sure you have no doubts whatsoever about the company youâ€™ll deal. When dealing with new suppliers, always place a small, test order to see how it goes. In the worst case of scenario youâ€™ll lose just a small amount of money.
Back to your question â€“ if possible, ask your supplier if they accept credit cards or PayPal. If you pay via PayPal, make sure to choose your â€œcredit cardâ€ as a funding source as only this way youâ€™re protected (by your credit card company â€“ if something goes wrong, you can file a charge back dispute and get your money back).
For China â€“ standard payment method youâ€™ll use with most suppliers is Telegraphic Transfer (T/T) or as we call it â€“ Wire Transfer. Wire Transfer is simply an international money transfer you make from your bank account to supplierâ€™s account.
Keep in mind â€“ thereâ€™s no protection with Wire Transfer method! Once you send the money, thereâ€™s no way back â€“ you wonâ€™t be able to cancel transaction if supplier scams you. Always make sure that you send money to companyâ€™s bank account and NOT a private one.
If your supplier canâ€™t provide companyâ€™s bank account, I would stay away from dealing with them.
Western Union (WU) is the most popular payment method amongst all scammers. You should never send large amounts of money via WU and generally avoid it when dealing with suppliers.
Letter of Credit (L/C) is one of the safest payment method to deal with suppliers abroad but unfortunately itâ€™s used only with large volume orders (20k +). With L/C, bank guarantees that it will release money to supplier once goods have been received and inspected.