Disbursement Service Fee

Disbursement Service Fee: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

In this guide, you will find all information you’re looking for about disbursement service fee.

So, if you want to learn more about disbursement service fee, read this guide.

What is a Disbursement Service Fee?

Disbursement Service Fee is charges made for the clients who in one way or another do not directly pay taxes and duties to customs.

Remember, this not only applies to customs, but also other relevant government authorities.

Delivery and transportation fees can be categorized as disbursement service fees.

Normally, the Disbursement service fee is calculated in the form percentage. This means getting the percentage charges of the outlaid duty fee and taxes.

 Shipping process

Shipping process

Why do Third Parties charge Disbursement Service Fee?

Third parties are individuals who are involved in carrying out transactions or activities without direction from the main participant.

Usually, third parties charge a Disbursement service fee for the following reason:

Third parties pay charges on behalf of the customers by acting as the agents of the customer.

Normally it is the client’s responsibility to make payments on goods ordered and therefore involving third parties requires you to be charged for the disbursement service fee.

Third parties also charge the disbursement service fee and present it as a separate cost on the invoice hence, clients can pay them separately.

The third-party receives instructions from the customer to make any necessary payments.

This means all the payments done excluding the actual cost of products are chargeable by the third party.

The customers know very well that the goods are not directly from the third party but from the supplier.

Hence, the disbursement service fee used must be charged.

Timely payment of the disbursement service fee enhances the timely delivery of goods. These as a result allow the customers to get goods faster and safely.

What Services do Third Parties offer to assist with Customs Clearance?

Third parties are most important when the client wants to import shipments from other countries.

They act as intermediaries between the seller, relevant government authorities, and the client by offering the following services:

Besides, they prepare all paper documents required to avoid any additional documents that may cause an increase in charges.

They ensure the presentation of the correct documents to the customs officers to prevent any unnecessary charges

Third parties also provide the clients with relevant information. For instance, they provide information on refundability of duties and taxes in case they are paid.

They are used as agents by the customer to pay for the customs clearance fee which is mandatory before the release of the shipped goods.

Third parties offer negotiations with customs agents in case of any arising issues by contacting the seller for any possible solution.

This reduces the rate at which goods are pontificated by the customs agents.

They also offer delivery services to the customer’s location. Third-party ensure that goods are delivered to the customer at right time and in the right state.

What are the Benefits of using Third-Party Logistics Service to pay Customs Duties and Taxes?

Third-party logistics contain third parties that have a stake in the transportation segment and its physical assets.

Thereby, offering a comprehensive distribution of services along the chain. These services include packaging, loading, warehousing, and terminal operations.

Third party logistic services provide ways of reducing the costs spent on paying the customs duties and taxes.



Negotiations can be done to suit the right amount of duty charges and tax to be paid for the goods.

Third-party logistic service provides rates of customs duties and taxes to be paid on different shipments of goods.

Therefore, prevents overcharging or undercharging of these goods.

Third party logistics are aware of the relevant procedure and logistics to be followed when paying for custom duties and services.

Therefore, they make the process efficient and faster.

For beginners in shipments of products, it’s the safest way since you do not have enough knowledge to do it alone.

It also saves on time that the client would spend going through all the relevant authorities to make payment and ensure proper clearance of goods by custom clearance body.

 Does the Disbursement Service Fee include the Customs Duties and Taxes?

No, a disbursement service fee is not inclusive of the custom duties and taxes.

A disbursement service fee is commonly used to settle for transportation and delivery of the shipped goods.

However, if the customer decides to pay charges for the dutiable international shipment, the customer caters to all the charges incurred.

This means the customer works directly with customs to settle all the tax and custom duty chargers for the goods to be released.

What is the difference between Disbursement Service Fee and Customs Clearance Fee?

The disbursement service fee is always calculated in form of a percentage by getting the outlaid charges on duties and taxes.

For instance, 2.5% and 3.5% of the combined duties change after the shipped goods arrive.

Custom clearance fees are charges paid to the customs clearance agent to incur the cost of submitting the documentation and processing of the duty’s payments.

Custom clearance fee is not included in the client quote as unlike in the disbursement service fee where it is included in the client quotes.

A disbursement service fee is charged before the goods are shipped to the country of destination.

Whereas, the customs clearance fee is charged by the custom or relevant authorities during inspection of the shipped goods.

How much is Disbursement Service Fee?

Disbursement service fee usually varies depending on:

  • Type of shipped goods
  • Mode of transportation to be used in shipping goods
  • Import destination
  • Number of goods shipped

Putting the above factors in mind, the disbursement service fee mostly varies from 2% to 3.5% of the total amount of the product

Note that the disbursement service fee is calculated as a percentage of outlaid duties and taxes.

What are the advantages of Clearing Customs with the Help of a Third Party versus clearing myself?



Clearing customs with the help of a third party have more benefits compared to clearing them by oneself.

This means that the client is not directly involved in all the activities to be undertaken during the customs clearing process.

  • The third party provides efficient and cost-effective shipment solutions based on what the client requires.
  • If you are a beginner in shipping activities, using a third party will make the process of shipment process seamless and avoidance of unnecessary expenditures.
  • They also can negotiate the duty rates of the shipped goods. This as result may lead to a reduction of these charges.
  • Third-party provide and process all the documentation required for the shipping and customs clearance process. This process can be very tedious when carrying them out by myself.
  • Third parties are well informed with different modes of transportation and also the safety of goods. Unlike, doing it by yourself where you question every action you take towards the shipping process.
  • Clearing customs by myself will involve a lot of money needed to see that all activities from shipment to delivery are accomplished. Involving a third party prevents direct involvement in all these activities.

Will, I still pay Disbursement Service Fee if I pay Duties and Taxes directly to Customs?

No, you are not required to pay the disbursement service fee once you directly pay the duties and taxes to customs.

Therefore, when the shipment arrives, it is directly delivered to the client.

Disbursement service fee is applied in cases where the clients do not directly pay taxes and duties to customs.

When you are a regular importer, it creates a platform or an account with the custom regulatory bodies that allow the clients to withhold tax and duties.

In what ways does the Disbursement Service Fee impact the Total Import Cost of a Shipment?

Disbursement service fees have different impacts on the total import cost of a shipment. These impacts include:

  • Withholding of shipped goods by the customs agents if the disbursement fee has not been included in the client’s quote.

These as result may include higher charges that are not budgeted for.

  • When a client pays for the disbursement service fee, customs duties and taxes can be evaded.

Thus reducing the amount spent in the customs clearance process.

  • Choosing what mode of transportation to use in shipping the goods, determines the disbursement fee charged.

Therefore, being conversant with these means is important.

  • Quicker and shorter transportations mean help in saving in the end game of total import cost of the shipment.
  • Sellers imposing high disbursement service fees may lead to clients evaluating whether to pay for the customs duties and taxes or not.

These may result in the added budget of the cost that was not initially planned for.

  • Enquiring the disbursement service fee before ordering the shipment prevents the quotation of charges that are included in the invoice.

Over quotation of these service fees leads to the customer paying extra charges thus increasing the total import cost.

Which Factors influence the cost of Disbursement Service in International Shipping?

The cost of disbursement service in international shipping varies due to the following factors:

  • Import destination
  • Net weight and gross of the shipment
  • Amount of goods
  • Nature of product
  • Duration of the clearance process
  • Special clearance needs
  • Type of packaging
  • Duty rate

When all these factors are considered, the customer can determine the total expenditures to be spent while shipping, and during the clearance process.

Who is responsible for Disbursement Service Fee Payment?

We may apply and invoice these fees, which are subject to changes to the following:

  • Shippers
  • A third party based on the customers
  • Consignees

Are all Imports subjects to Disbursement Service Fee?

Yes, all goods imported from other countries are subjects to disbursement service fees.

Factors that determine the cost of disbursement service fees are importantly considered in this scenario.

You should consider the destination location and the mode of shipping these products for you to determine the amount of disbursement service fee to charge.

When customers order goods from sellers upon arrival to the destination location, customers can evade paying the customs duties and taxes.

Disbursement service fee allows goods to be released by the seller.

Disbursement service fee is always added to the VAT and the client’s quote that enable the clearing of shipment and clearance of goods by customs.

Will I get charged a Disbursement Service Fee if importing to a Country where Duties and Taxes don’t Apply?

Yes, the Disbursement service fee is applied even in countries where custom duties and taxes are free.

Most third parties charge a flat rate of 2.5% of the value of imported goods.

Normally the disbursement service fee is paid by the customer or through a third party.

That is, you will pay the seller before the release of a shipment to the required destination. Therefore, for you to receive the ordered goods you have to pay for these service charges.

Relevant authorities in countries that are duty and tax-free do not provide any regulations concerning the disbursement service fee.

How long does Customs Clearance take when I use a Third Party Agent?

There is no one size fits period when it comes to customs clearance because this depends on the type of shipments, the country, and the destination country.

Authorities in different countries have different clearance requirements, and how long it takes depends on the paperwork required based on the type of goods you are shipping.

However, third parties make your customs clearance process quick and hassle-free. They use their knowledge, connections, and experience to make the clearance faster.

Which Customs Documents do I need to provide for Import Clearance with a Third Party?

There are many documents required for import clearance of the goods shipped.

These documents vary depending on the type of goods you are shipping.

Completing the relevant documents accurately not only saves you from the delayed custom clearance process but also reduces the risks of high penalties.

More importantly, documentation varies depending on the country you are importing from and also the destination of the shipment.

Some of these documents include:

Commercial invoice: this document allows the customs duty officers to compare the value of stated products in the invoice with the actual amount in the market.

This prevents over quoting or underquoting that may lead to penalties.

Import license: under any government for you to import goods from other countries, it’s mandatory for you to possess the license.

Third-party should provide this document for the goods to be cleared.

Transport documentation: the third party should have the correct transportation documentation depending on the mode of transportation of the goods.

Such include, Bill of landing, Airway bill, Road waybill among others.

What happens if my Shipment gets stuck at Customs in relation to Disbursement Service Fee?

In most cases, the shipment gets stuck due to incomplete payment of the charges required. Customers are charged with a disbursement fee that is inclusive of transportation and delivery of the goods.

This as result may lead to shipping back of the goods to the seller.

However, to prevent these nasty scenarios should involve a third party to settle the misunderstanding with customs.

Third-party contacts the seller to enquire if there any outstanding disbursement service fees and is so, provides ways of settling the charges.

How can I reduce or avoid Disbursement Service Fee when Shipping Internationally?

You must have the required knowledge of how much a shipment is charged depending on the goods you want shipping.

This enables you to know some of the fee charges that you can avoid hence, ease the movement of shipped products.

Proper packaging; ensures that the shipped goods are not damaged.

It also reduces the cost incurred during shipping as the goods are not overweight.

Importation of domestic goods rather than goods with harmful components. This saves you on the cost of importation.

It also prevents you from the constant encounter with relevant authorities.

Ensure that you have the correct information of the destination country to avoid wrong location delivery.

Deliver package with duties: This prevents the clients from abandoning the goods due to charges that are not included in the invoices.

What Payment Options are there for Disbursement Service Fee?

Some of the payment options used for the disbursement service fee include:

Visa direct: use of both credit card and debit card can be used to pay for this disbursement fee to customs or relevant authorities.

This is also applicable when dealing with third parties.

PayPal enables scheduling and automation of disbursement fees to a list of recipients.

This means if you have ordered different shipments, you can conveniently make the payments.

Can I claim back the Disbursement Service Fee? |

Yes, the disbursement service fee is claimable.

Disbursement service fee includes transportation and the delivery fee of the shipped goods.

These charges are normally included in the VAT and are included in the invoice presented to the customer. You can claim any VAT charges paid for the shipped goods.

Therefore, you should always find a suitable way to separate these charges by ensuring that goods delivered meet the threshold. Also, you should be able to provide all VAT documentation to the relevant seller for easy processing of the fee.

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