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Common Postal Order questions

About Postal Orders

  • Postal Orders can be used to pay for goods and services, redeemed as cash, paid into a bank account or given as a gift.

    Not all businesses accept them, so it’s important to check they’ll suit your purposes before buying any.

  • Uncrossed Postal Orders are as good as cash and can be redeemed for cash in any of our branches.

    If you’re using one to buy something online or by mail order, the recipient can pick up the cash while posting out your items. In most cases, your order will arrive earlier.

    In contrast, crossed Postal Orders can only be paid into the recipient’s bank account, savings account or used to pay bills at a Post Office branch.

    A crossed Postal Order will have two straight, vertical lines passing through it, just off centre, added electronically.

  • Crossed Postal Orders help make sure only the intended recipient can benefit from the money.

    If someone attempts to cash a crossed order at a Post Office branch it will be rejected, and they’ll be referred to their bank.

    If you wish for a Postal Order to be crossed, please ask the branch when you buy and they’ll arrange it for you.

  • We don’t need the name of the recipient, we can issue Postal orders blank.

    The Post Office branch they redeem it at may request ID from them, but this isn’t a mandatory requirement.

  • There’s no insurance on Postal Orders.

    If they’re uncrossed, they’re effectively as good as cash – but only as secure.

    Crossed Postal Orders have to be paid into a bank account, so are therefore more secure than uncrossed orders.

  • If your Postal Order couldn’t be used for the purpose it was bought for, please take it with your receipt to the branch you bought it from and they’ll issue a refund.

Encashing Postal Orders

  • To find out whether your Postal Order has been encashed please write to us at the address under "contact us" below.

  • You can find out when a Postal Order you sent was encashed by writing to our team at the address in the "contact us" section below.

  • Postal Orders can be redeemed in Post Office branches for up to 12 months from their purchase date.

  • If your postal order is more than 12 months old you won’t be able to encash it and need to follow the refund process instead.

    Keep a copy of your postal order for your records and send the original with your personal contact details to us at the contact address below. We’ll aim to back to you within 35 days.

  • If the Postal order isn’t crossed you can take it into any Post Office branch to receive its cash value. You might be asked for ID when you do.

    If it’s a crossed order it will need paying into UK bank account just as you would with a cheque.

  • If a branch refuses to encash a Postal Order it could be because:

    • It’s been cut or defaced
    • Its content’s been altered or erased
    • It fails our validation checks
    • Valid ID is not presented

    If the Postal Order is crossed, it can only be paid into a bank and not cashed.

    If you try to redeem an order that’s more than 12 months past its date of issue it may be refused. Payment after this is at the branch’s discretion.

  • Sorry to hear this. If that’s the case, please return to the branch you bought your postal Order from, taking your receipt, and they can check for you.

Payments, fees and refunds

  • Postal Orders can only be paid for in cash, as they’re treated as a cash advance by the banks. This means we can’t accept card payments for them.

  • Charging an admin fee for the Postal Orders service helps to cover the cost of producing and selling them.

    It’s not a fee for insuring the orders themselves.

  • If your Postal Order is less than 12 months old, you can return it to a Post Office branch for a refund.

    If it’s older than 12 months you’ll need to send your original Postal Order and personal contact details to us at the address under "contact us" below.

    Please keep a copy of your Postal Order for your records. We aim to respond within 35 days.

  • It can take up to 35 days for your refund to be issued, so please allow ample time to receive it.

    If this time has passed, please write to us at the address under "contact us" below.

Lost, damaged or stolen Postal Orders

  • If a Postal order you bought has been lost, please write to our support team with a copy of your receipt. You’ll find our postal address in the next section.

    Please keep a copy of your receipt for your own records too. We’ll aim to get back to you within 35 days.

  • If your Postal Order is lost in the post, you’ll need to pick up a lost post form (P58) from any Post Office branch.

    Complete and send it to Royal Mail at the address on the form along with a photocopy of your proof of purchase. You’ll need to wait 15 days after posting before you can do that.

    Keep hold of your original Postal Order receipt, as we’ll need the unique ID number should you wish to claim for the loss.

    To make a claim, send your original receipt and personal contact details to the postal address in the next section.

    Keep a copy of the receipt for your records. We’ll aim to respond within 35 days.

  • If your Postal Order is stolen, please report it to the police and get a Crime Reference Number. They’ll need to contact us with this number.

    If the order hasn’t already been cashed, contact us using our contact form and we can issue a refund.

    If you wish to make a claim for your postal order, please send the original receipt and your contact details to the address under "contact us" below.

    Keep a copy of the receipt for your records. We’ll aim to respond within 35 days.

  • Depending on its condition it may be possible to issue a refund in branch.

    If this isn’t possible please contact our Postal Order Team in writing at the address below to obtain a refund. Send us a copy of your receipt (keeping your original) and your contact details. We’ll aim to respond within 35 days.

  • Your Postal Order number can be found on the back of the Postal Order slip. It’s a 20 digit number, located under the barcode.

Contact us about Postal Orders

Please write to us if you need a refund, your Postal Order has expired, or it’s been lost, damaged or stolen.

Please note we’re unable to answer queries about Postal Orders by phone or email.

Write to us

Our postal address is: Postal Order Correspondence Team
Method of Payment Team
Post Office Ltd
Future Walk
S49 1PF

We aim to respond within 35 days.

Contact Post Office about in-branch services

If you have a question, feedback or complaint about your experience in branch, here’s how to tell us.

Send us a message

Please complete our enquiries form to tell us what you’d like to know or share feedback on your experience.

Make a complaint

If you’re not happy with your Post Office experience, please let us know and we’ll do our best to put things right.