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  Those who wish to pay by personal cheques, however, face a longer wait as it takes their check about three weeks to reach us here in Singapore. Then, it takes another three weeks for the check to be cleared (the check is sent via AIRMAIL by our bank to their bank in their own country for clearing). Once the check is cleared and we have received the funds, we will immediately send the goods to them. This entails a wait of another two to three weeks. So, all in, it takes about nine weeks for the whole transaction, from despatch of check to receipt of the goods.
  Recently, one of our new customers - who was unaware of the intricacies involving in clearing a foreign currency check - got tired of the long wait and pointed an accusing finger at us. Apparently, this customer thought that once his/her bank had debited the purchase amount from his/her bank account, it meant that we here in Singapore had instantly received his/her money! How nice if that were true! But, on the contrary, what happens is that once his/her bank account is debited with the purchase amount, his/her bank will write an instruction letter to our bank here in Singapore and send it over to Singapore via AIRMAIL. His/her bank has merely taken the money from his/her bank account and put it in his/her bank's own suspense account. The money is in fact still with his/her bank! It would take the instruction letter about three to four weeks to reach Singapore from the United States. Once the instruction letter is received by our bank here in Singapore, our bank will act to pass entries to take over the funds and then credit the proceeds to our account.
  My point is this - we are not a fly-by-night operation. We are here to stay. What we are doing is a legitimate business. It hurts us if people doing business with us hurl accusations at us when they have not got their facts right even though we have explained things quite so clearly to them. Luckily, the check cleared and we managed to revert to the customer involved. But, then, anyone wishing to buy things through the Internet using check payment should be aware of the intricate steps involved in clearing a foreign currency check and should remain patient. We, on our part, will try our utmost to ensure the goods are despatched as soon as we have received payment.  Perhaps, in the near future when other acceptable forms of secured Internet payment become available, this problem of accepting check payment will become obsolete. Till then, credit card payment remains a security risk to them and us and we just have to count on our customers remaining patient while waiting for the check to be cleared.



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