Pay to Bearer
Updated January 2005
In this Customer Support Ruling a determination will
be made as to whether a “check” is “personal” information and
mailable only at First-Class Mail or Express Mail rates.
This ruling concerns the classification of “Bearer”
checks that are often found in mailpieces that serve as purchase
incentives or after-purchase rebates, e.g., a check issued by a
retailer styled as “Pay to John Doe or Bearer” in the amount of
Domestic Mail Manual
(DMM) 243.2.1* provides that mailable matter that is neither mailed
or required to be mailed as First-Class Mail or Periodicals may be
eligible for Standard Mail rates.
prescribes that matter containing personal information must be
mailed as First-Class Mail or as Express Mail. Personal information
is any information specific to the addressee.
A check which is made payable only to the addressee
or only to a specific individual, i.e., “Pay to the order of John
Doe,” “Pay to Jane Doe or order,” is considered “personal”
information and generally is mailable only at the First-Class rates
A printed (computer-generated) bearer check, that may
be negotiated by anyone who presents it for payment would be
acceptable at the Standard Mail rates. Examples include those styled
to "Pay to John Doe or Bearer," "Pay to Bearer," "Pay to Addressee
or Bearer," “Pay to Cash,” “Pay to the Order of John Doe or Bearer,”
“Pay to the Order of Bearer” or “Pay to the Order of Bearer or John
Since the $5.00 rebate check in the example is a
“bearer” check that can be negotiated by anyone, it does not have
the characteristics of “personal information” and is therefore, not
required to be mailed as First-Class Mail. The bearer check may be
mailed at the Standard Mail rates.
*See also DMM 133.3, 333.2, 433.2, 343.2, and 443.2.
United States Postal Service
Washington DC 20260-3436