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An international postal order can be used for making payments overseas without relying on digital services. However, it’s not the safest or quickest way to send money abroad, and you’re restricted to what country you can send postal orders to, so you should consider your other money transfer options first.
A postal order is a paper document that’s used as a method of payment, similar to a cheque. An international postal order operates exactly the same way as a domestic postal order, by letting you prepay an amount that will be used as a secure form of payment. The main difference is that international postal orders are accepted by other countries, instead of being limited to the UK.
No, an international postal order is almost never the cheapest way to send money internationally. You’ll need to pay fees, as might your recipient, who is also likely to get poor exchange rates when cashing it at a bank or local post office.
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Let’s say you need to send £250 to family in Canada and want to know if sending an international postal order is your best choice. Here’s what you might face as far as fees, exchange rates and sending speeds are concerned.
|Digital money transfer service||Cash transfer||International postal order|
|Fee||£0||£3.99||£12.50 + additional fees to cash|
|Exchange rate||1 GBP = 1.705 CAD||1 GBP = 1.637 CAD||1 GBP = 1.582 CAD|
|Transfer speed||1-2 days||Minutes||7-10 days|
|Amount received||CAD 426||CAD 409||CAD 395|
The international postal order is both the slowest and most expensive option. You can only send up to the value of £250 per postal order – meaning if you want to send more you’ll have to buy additional orders, which means more fees.
The recipient may also be charged additional fees when they cash the postal order(s). Plus, the exchange rate they get when cashing the postal order may be weaker than the rate featured in our table, which is based on bank rates.
A cash transfer service could almost always have the money there faster and available for cash pickup at hundreds of locations, while a digital service could deliver the money directly to your recipient’s bank account if desired.
Because an international postal order is physically sent to your recipient, make sure that everything is filled out correctly to avoid any delays. Because the recipient may have to pay fees to cash the postal order, consider sending more than needed to help cover fees and exchange rates.
After filling out the postal order you’ll want to:
Postal orders can be cashed in the same way as a cheque, but international postal order cashing locations may be restricted depending on where you live. Follow these steps to cash an international postal order:
International postal orders are outdated and unnecessarily risky. There are much cheaper, faster and safer ways to send money internationally that can be done entirely online from the comfort of your home. To learn how to get started with these types of transfers, head over to our guide on transferring money and send your first transfer today.
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