Accepting cheques and postol orders - the definitive guide
Although paypal is the most commonly used payment method on ebay, there are some other ways to accept payment from your buyers.
There are paper alternatives to online payments which some buyers will feel more secure using than the 'virtual' online payment methods.
1) A cheque. Old fashioned and slower but it works! Be aware that a cheque will take about 10 days to clear fully, most banks will allow you access to it after 4/5 days but this is only on the assumption that it will clear. The cheque will still be away at the clearing services and this takes up to 10 days. After that, if the cheque is unpaid or 'bouncy' it will be returned to your bank, this takes 2 working days. Then it will be returned to you in the mail. This takes 2 working days. So in reality even though it looked like it cleared into your account after 4/5 days it didn't. If it was bouncy then it will land on your doorstep about 2 weeks after you paid it in.
To protect yourself from unpaid cheques it is wise to pay the cheque in as soon as possible to get the ball rolling. Then you need to wait a full 2 weeks before sending goods.
2) Postal Order. Again an old fashioned method but very handy too. There are additional costs to the buyer who has to pay the PO for the order but no costs to the seller. Postal orders, like cheques, can be sent crossed or uncrossed. Uncrossed orders can be cashed at a post office (ID may be required), crossed rders will have to be paid into the bank. The Royal Mail have a new computerised system for issuing postal orders so be sure to go and cash your uncrossed order BEFORE sending goods, just in case it has been reported lost or cancelled. The older system did not have this feature but the new one does. The PO clerk will scan your order to make sure its still valid before cashing it. So make sure you do this before sending any goods.
3) Bankers draft. Again there are costs for the buyer, a draft can cost around £15 and it used for higher value items such as cars. There are no fees to pay it into your account but it will have to clear like a cheque. There is a myth that a bankers draft is guaranteed money - it isn't. A draft can be reported lost or stolen and you must let it clear like a cheque. It cannot be returned unpaid so it is less likely than a cheque to be retunred but it can be refused if reported lost.
Guide to accepting paper payments
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2 September 2007
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