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What is an IOU Promissory Note


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In this episode of Money Creation Explained, we are going to cover “What is an IOU (I Owe You) Promissory Note"?

This method is where a person informally asks for credit from a business (usually from a small business they know) or borrows money from family, friends, and others in an informal way. It is with the intention to pay it back, but often people start asking for the money back, or are too embarrassed to ask, or the person does not pay back and it can create tension in the personal or business relationship. These relationships are built over many years, establishing payment and client history.

IOU's has a history dating to the 18th century. An IOU between two people conducting business may be followed up with a more formal written agreement. There is no standard format for an IOU. Criteria such as repayment terms, time of payment, interest, and payment type may or may not be included. Nowadays, there are legal templates available for IOUs.

An example of an IOU in the marketplace is as follows. Say ABC Construction Company places an order for lumber and other building materials and does not have enough funds (credit card, cash, check) to pay for the entire order when it is delivered. Instead, the company pays a down payment and issues an IOU (I Owe You) promising to pay for the rest of the materials within 30 days with or without interest. Assuming that supplier agrees and has an established business relationship with ABC Construction Company, an IOU will be entered into by the parties. Many businesses operate on Net 30 terms which is also a form of IOU's. They take possession of the product or utilize the service and have 30 days to pay off the invoice.

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