The once standard mode of sending and receiving payments, money order is losing ground to modern electronic payment methods, and its users have significantly declined — by over 34 per cent — in the past three years.
The number of money order users has declined to 5.68 crore in April-January this financial year from 8.66 crore in 2008-09, a fall of 34.41 per cent. "The number of users of money order service stood at 8.66 crore in 2008-09, 8.13 crore in 2009-10, 5.77 crore in 2010-11 and 5.68 crore in 2011-12 (up to January 2012)," Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
The number of complaints for non-delivery of money orders stood at 1.90 lakh in 2008-09, 1.77 lakh in 2009.10, 1.64 lakh in 2010-11 and 41,754 in 2011-12 (up to June 2011)," he said. During the last three years, 172 officials were found guilty, for which punishment has been awarded as per the rules, Pilot added.
Observers said that the rise of the Internet and mobile phones that enable electronic money transfers have dented the popularity of traditional money orders, especially in big towns and cities. To upgrade the money order delivery system and to ensure timely delivery, the Department has introduced electronic money order across the country, he said.