Postal Order
Overview
 
In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 (UK), a Postal Order is used for sending money
Money
Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past,...

 through the mail
Mail
Mail, or post, is a system for transporting letters and other tangible objects: written documents, typically enclosed in envelopes, and also small packages are delivered to destinations around the world. Anything sent through the postal system is called mail or post.In principle, a postal service...

. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, this is known as a Postal money order
Money order
A money order is a payment order for a pre-specified amount of money. Because it is required that the funds be prepaid for the amount shown on it, it is a more trusted method of payment than a cheque.-History of money orders:...

. Postal Orders are not legal tender
Legal tender
Legal tender is a medium of payment allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation. Paper currency is a common form of legal tender in many countries....

, but a type of promissory note
Promissory note
A promissory note is a negotiable instrument, wherein one party makes an unconditional promise in writing to pay a determinate sum of money to the other , either at a fixed or determinable future time or on demand of the payee, under specific terms.Referred to as a note payable in accounting, or...

, similar to a cheque
Cheque
A cheque is a document/instrument See the negotiable cow—itself a fictional story—for discussions of cheques written on unusual surfaces. that orders a payment of money from a bank account...

.

The Postal Order is a direct descendent of the money order
Money order
A money order is a payment order for a pre-specified amount of money. Because it is required that the funds be prepaid for the amount shown on it, it is a more trusted method of payment than a cheque.-History of money orders:...

 which had been established by a private company in 1792. During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, British Postal Orders were temporarily declared legal tender to save paper and labour.
Encyclopedia
In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 (UK), a Postal Order is used for sending money
Money
Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past,...

 through the mail
Mail
Mail, or post, is a system for transporting letters and other tangible objects: written documents, typically enclosed in envelopes, and also small packages are delivered to destinations around the world. Anything sent through the postal system is called mail or post.In principle, a postal service...

. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, this is known as a Postal money order
Money order
A money order is a payment order for a pre-specified amount of money. Because it is required that the funds be prepaid for the amount shown on it, it is a more trusted method of payment than a cheque.-History of money orders:...

. Postal Orders are not legal tender
Legal tender
Legal tender is a medium of payment allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation. Paper currency is a common form of legal tender in many countries....

, but a type of promissory note
Promissory note
A promissory note is a negotiable instrument, wherein one party makes an unconditional promise in writing to pay a determinate sum of money to the other , either at a fixed or determinable future time or on demand of the payee, under specific terms.Referred to as a note payable in accounting, or...

, similar to a cheque
Cheque
A cheque is a document/instrument See the negotiable cow—itself a fictional story—for discussions of cheques written on unusual surfaces. that orders a payment of money from a bank account...

.

History and use of the Postal Order

The Postal Order is a direct descendent of the money order
Money order
A money order is a payment order for a pre-specified amount of money. Because it is required that the funds be prepaid for the amount shown on it, it is a more trusted method of payment than a cheque.-History of money orders:...

 which had been established by a private company in 1792. During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, British Postal Orders were temporarily declared legal tender to save paper and labour. Postal Orders can be bought and redeemed at post office
Post office
A post office is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail.Post offices offer mail-related services such as post office boxes, postage and packaging supplies...

s in the UK, although a crossed Postal Order must be paid into a bank account. Until April 2006 they came in fixed denominations
Denomination (currency)
Denomination is a proper description of a currency amount, usually for coins or banknotes. Denominations may also be used with other means of payment like gift cards. See also Redenomination.-Subunit and super unit:...

 but due to increased popularity they were redesigned to make them more flexible and secure. They now have the payee and value added at the time of purchase, making them more like a cheque. The fee for using this form of payment falls into one of three bands - details are available on the Post Office website. The maximum value of Postal Order available is £250.00 with the fee capped at £10. It was a safe method in times past, but nowadays offers very little advantage over cheques or electronic funds transfer
Electronic money
Electronic money is money or scrip that is only exchanged electronically. Typically, this involves the use of computer networks, the internet and digital stored value systems...

. However, Postal Orders have regained popularity, especially as a form of payment for shopping on the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

, as they are drawn on the Post Office's accounts so a vendor can be certain that they will not bounce. The use of Postal Orders (or postal notes in some countries) was extended to most countries that are now part of the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, plus to a few foreign countries such as Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

.

Collecting

Postal Orders are gaining in popularity as collectables, especially among numismatists who are actively collecting banknotes.

There is an active numismatic
Numismatics
Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects. While numismatists are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, the discipline also includes the broader study of money and other payment media used to resolve debts and the...

 organisation in Great Britain called the Postal Order Society that was established in 1985 and which has members from both Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 and overseas. They hold twice-yearly postal auction
Auction
An auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder...

s of Postal Orders and related material from across the British Commonwealth.

See also

  • George Archer-Shee
    George Archer-Shee
    George Archer-Shee became a British cause célèbre in 1910 when the issue of whether he stole a five shilling postal order ended up being decided in the High Court....

    , whose alleged cashing of a Postal Order to a fellow naval cadet led to a long-running court case and inspired Terence Rattigan
    Terence Rattigan
    Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan CBE was one of England's most popular 20th-century dramatists. His plays are generally set in an upper-middle-class background...

    's play The Winslow Boy
    The Winslow Boy
    thumb|1st edition cover The Winslow Boy is an English play from 1946 by Terence Rattigan based on an actual incident in the Edwardian era, which took place at the Royal Naval College, Osborne.-Performance History:...

    .

Postal orders around the world

  • British Forces Post Office postal orders
  • Postal Orders of Brunei
    Postal Orders of Brunei
    -Bruneian-issued Malaysian Postal Orders:Malaysian postal orders were issued in Brunei as late as 1988, but it is not known when these issues began nor when they ended. Extant examples issued at the post office in Bandar Seri Begawan have been confirmed....

  • Postal Orders of Canada
    Postal Orders of Canada
    Postal orders are a service of Canada Post, and are a method of transferring funds.Postal orders, or postal money orders, have been issued by the Canadian Post Office roughly since confederation...

  • Postal Orders of Cyprus
    Postal Orders of Cyprus
    Postal orders have been issued at various times. Information about them is extremely sketchy.-Cypriot-issued British Postal Orders:It is not yet known when these began to be issued, but they were overprinted and issued as late as the 1970s....

  • Postal Orders of Gibraltar
    Postal Orders of Gibraltar
    British postal orders are currently issued in Gibraltar by the Royal Gibraltar Post Office.In accordance with the Postal Order Regulations of 1961, postal orders may be issued for the following sums:#The sum of 50 pence; and...

  • Postal Orders of Great Britain
    Postal Orders of Great Britain
    The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to issue postal orders on 1 January 1881. They were the brainchild of the President of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, John Skirrow Wright which was to enable poorer people to buy goods and services by post, as they were unlikely to have...

  • Postal Orders of Hong Kong
    Postal Orders of Hong Kong
    Postal Orders were issued in Hong Kong at various times when it was still a British colony.-Hong Kong Inland Postal Orders:These are known to have been issued during the 1890s, but the dates of when they began to be issued and ceased to be issued is not yet known, as information about these issues...

  • Postal Orders of Ireland
    Postal Orders of Ireland
    The Postal Orders of Ireland were issued from 1881 until they were discontinued in late 2001 just before the change over to the euro. The current alternative is the An Post Postal Money Order which serves an equivalent purpose....

  • Postal Orders of New Zealand
    Postal Orders of New Zealand
    Postal Orders were issued in New Zealand from 1886 until 1986.-New Zealand Postal Notes:The first postal notes were issued in 1886. Some of them are known overprinted "SPECIMEN", in 1890. It has been confirmed that the last day of issue was 31 July 1986....

  • United States postal notes

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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