In most instances – mainly because of the large distances and alien environments involved – it is generally difficult for the exporter to verify the creditworthiness and reputation of an importer. If the creditworthiness of a foreign buyer is unknown there is the increased risk of non-payment, late payment or even straightforward fraud.

It is essential, therefore, that the exporter should strive to determine the creditworthiness of the foreign buyer. There are many commercial firms that can provide assistance in credit-checking foreign companies. In addition, the exporter should insist (particularly if the foreign buyer is unknown) for a secure method of payment such as an irrevocable documentary credit. The exporter could approach his bank in South Africa for assistance regarding international payment procedures.