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D/P, D/A and Their Use in International Sales Transactions

Originally Published: December 2011


Most sellers are very familiar with Open Account (O/A) and Letter of Credit (L/C) transactions. In the international arena, open account sales are regarded as having the most risk; letter of credit transactions as having the least.

Between these two poles, however, are two lesser-known transaction types: Documents Against Payment (D/P) and Documents Against Acceptance (D/A).These represent risk levels lower than an O/A, but greater than an L/C. Both rely on an instrument widely used in international trade called a bill of exchange or draft.