Legal tender or forced tender is payment that, by law, cannot be refused in settlement of a debt denominated in the same currency. more...
Legal tender is a status which may be conferred on certain examples of a money, which may depend on circumstances including the amount of money. The term legal tender does not refer to the money itself.
Legal tender is a concept that is frequently misunderstood: this is often a result of differing legal definitions in different jurisdictions. Cheques, credit cards, debit cards and similar non-cash methods of payment are not generally defined as legal tender. Only specific coin and note examples of cash money are usually defined as legal tender. A large number of small value coins is usually not considered to be legal tender. Some jurisdictions may, by law, forbid or otherwise restrict payment made other than by legal tender. An example of such a law outlaws the use of foreign coins and bank notes, or by requiring a licence to perform financial transactions in a foreign currency.
In some jurisdictions legal tender can be refused as payment if no debt exists prior to the time of payment (for example, where the obligation to pay arises substantially contemporaneously with the offer of payment). Consequently vending machines and transport staff do not have to accept the largest denomination of banknote for a single bus fare or bar of chocolate, and even shopkeepers can reject large banknotes - this is covered by the legal concept known as invitation to treat. However, restaurants that do not collect money until after a meal is served would have to accept that legal tender for payment of the debt incurred in purchasing the meal.
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