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Payment Options

Some companies offer much better payment options than others, which provides you with more flexibility in how you pay for your order. I personally always pay with credit cards, and recommend that others pay with credit cards due to their various advantages, so I don't consider payment options a terribly relevant selection factor. But people are different, and for others who require alternative payment options it can be quite important.

Generally, bigger companies offer less flexibility when it comes to payment terms. This is because payment methods other than credit cards usually require more individualized attention, and this means increased cost. Big vendors usually don't want to deal with the "hassle". With smaller firms, you generally have more options. For example, most big companies will not even consider payment by personal check or sending CODs, but a small company with whom you already have a reputation will often do this.

Obviously, ask the vendor what payment options they will accept. See this section for more on the different payment terms and their advantages and disadvantages.

Warning: When paying by credit card, always ask the company what its policy is on the timing of credit card charges. In particular, you want to know if the company is going to precharge your credit card for items that are backordered or for which shipment will be delayed. While this practice may not be illegal in many areas, it's not something that I consider ethical, and I strongly recommend against vendors that do it. See here for more.

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