Monday, August 12, 2013

To survive in modern times, money order turns hi-tech

 Telegram became history from July 15 this year, and it made media headlines. Money order, another important service of yore, is also dying a death - unannounced.
Time was over a lakh money orders would travel to and from different post offices in Bihar. Their number was, to be precise, 74,544 till 2006-2007 financial year. But the Patna GPO did not book even a single manual money order during the last few years. "Money orders might have given way to other modes of money transfer in urban areas, but 20% to 30% of the total money transfers in rural pockets are still made through the old money order service," India Post's Bihar director (marketing) Anil Kumar told TOI.

Aware of the reducing import of the old money order service in the fast life of people these days, the postal department, now christened India Post, has launched EMO (electronic money order), IMO (instant money order) and MMO (mobile money order) to compete with the banks' wire transfers that enables money movement from one account to another. "EMOs, IMOs and MMOs have been able to retain 95% of the India Post's money order bookings in urban areas," Kumar said.

Launched in October 2008, EMO is different from the old money order service in that the money from the sender post office is electronically transferred to the addressee post office and then delivered at the doorstep of the addressee. Earlier, the money order form would travel between two post offices. A la manual money order, EMO can be of up to Rs 2,000 for which the India Post charges 5% of the money being sent.

Through IMO, one can send up to Rs 50,000. The IMO service charge is Rs 100 for money orders up to Rs 10,000, Rs 110 for money orders worth Rs 10,001 to Rs 30,000 and Rs 120 for Rs 30,001 to Rs 50,000.

The IMO sender is required to fill a TRP (to remit payment) form and submit it along with the money. S/he is given a printed receipt with a computer-generated 16-digit IMO number in a sealed paper. The IMO number is confidential, not known even to the booking clerk.

The IMO sender is required to tear off the seal and convey the IMO number to the addressee - over phone or through SMS and email. The post office concerned hands over the money to the bearer of this IMO number.

Launched last year, MMO service generates four SMSs once a booking is made by filling a form and depositing it along with the money at a post office counter. One SMS each is received by the sender and addressee and one each by the two post offices concerned. The addressee post office delivers the money to the owner of the cellphone with the MMO SMS.

A commission of Rs 45 is charged for MMOs up to Rs 1,500; Rs 79 for MMOs above Rs 1,500 up to Rs 5,000 and Rs 112 for MMOs above Rs 5,000 up to Rs 10,000, the highest amount that can be sent through an MMO.

"EMO is address and addressee specific as the money order is sent to the doorstep of the addressee while IMO and MMO are addressee specific as the addressee has to visit the post office to receive the remittance," explained Kumar.

To foreign shores

Money Order Videsh service is meant for sending money abroad. At least 46 orders worth Rs 8.64 lakh were sent from Bihar in July while the state received over 78,000 bookings from foreign shores under International Money Tansfer Service, including Western Union and Money Gram, worth more than Rs 200 crore in a year ending on March 31, 2013. "Siwan and Gopalganj post offices receive the highest number of remittances from abroad with most of them coming from the Gulf countries, the US and the UK," an India Post official said.