I’ve had a number of readers mention, in private correspondence, that they’d like to do business with Alibaba.com, the premier Chinese e-commerce Web portal. However, they complain that paying for goods using US bank accounts or credit cards is often fraught with difficulty. Transactions are rejected, transfers denied, or some other problem prevents the purchase from being completed.
I experienced this myself yesterday. I needed a couple of components that simply aren’t available from local suppliers, but I found them on Alibaba.com. I set up an account there, then tried to register a US bank account for payment purposes, and a US credit card, too. The bank account was rejected without explanation. The credit card appeared to have been accepted right up to the actual payment, which was declined – not by my card issuer, but on Alibaba’s side (I confirmed this with my card issuer). In sheer frustration, I eventually canceled my order.
How about you, readers? Has anyone used Alibaba.com or other Chinese e-commerce portals? How did you get over the payments hurdle? Can you suggest anything that would make life easier for the rest of us? I’m sure such international transactions will become more frequent for most of us over the coming years, and I’d like to figure out how to make them work.
Over to you! Please tell us your experiences in Comments.
EDITED TO ADD: Some readers have asked, in Comments, why I’d want to buy from China, or provide bank information to that country where fraud and crooked conduct are so notorious. The answer is simple: in many cases, that’s the only country that makes what one needs. Some US suppliers have Chinese parts in stock, but they often charge 3-4 times as much as the price in China, and that makes them unaffordable for a small-volume purchaser like me. By ordering direct, even paying shipping charges, I can save a bundle.
Out of curiosity, did you also try PayPal? Transferring money from your credit card to a PayPal account may be a necessary intermediate step to completing a transaction with a non-US business.
Smart move, that…
Do you not recognize that AliBaba is either a thoroughly controlled subsidiary of the Chinese Communist Part, or totally penetrated by their intelligence/crime agencies?
Why on God's green earth would you be so foolish as to expose your banking information to them? Especially running a site like this? Do you not understand the principles of OPSEC?
At some point in the future, we're going to see posts about how someone broke into your accounts and all the rest.
Not wise. So not wise.
Alipay – international? You can sign up with a phone # and a bank card from the US.
I've only done business with banggood for a few small items, and while they can be slow to ship, they accepted PayPal, and all went well.
better question is: why in the world would you use something connected to the Chinese or buy from China?
I've used Banggood and Aliexpress with good success. Alibaba.com, not so much, had the same payment issues.
It's unfortunate that, at times, we have to order from China as there is no US supplier, or the item sold by the US supplier is made in China and the price is 2x-3x higher.
@sdharms – Sometimes you don't have a choice.
Buy any computer motherboards lately?
Second the recommendation with Ali-express.
They seem to be better set up to handle the one and two items orders than Alibaba.
Do not trust China. China is ******!
The last few times I have tried to order anything from Banggood it crashed my web browser. I have had mixed results from them in the past but I have to shop for a browser it won't crash now. As our host has said, there are just no reasonable alternatives. I am not paying jacked up outrageous prices from Amazon when I can get EXACTLY the same part from the same original manufacturer for 10X less money. Often for the price of the shipping cost on the price gouging seller on Amazon.
Something I just remembered. Start looking on EBay for stuff made in India. Often shipping is free and they are seriously trying to muscle in on China's stranglehold on cheap goods.
I don't get all the china hate. American companies practice the exact same data mining and thought policing.
At this point Chinese tech competitors have much simpler thought crime rules; don't say bad things about China and they don't care what else you do.
One might note that the Chinese are capable of maintaining their civilization, people, and nation. Those capabilities are now either in question or gone in the US.
If the goal is to still be the same nation, people, and civilization then China's political and cultural system will win out over the US.
Certainly they can still produce parts and goods not found elsewhere at a reasonable price.
What little I know about AliBaba is that they are intended for wholesale amounts of product sales. If you aren't buying in large quantity, and also appear to be a business entity, it may not work well.
I've seen this often enough with UK companies – particularly computer component suppliers – and I'm in the UK. The transaction is blocked somewhere along the way because of possible fraud. Computer component companies are particular targets for fraudsters.