Record order(RO) and bill of exchange (BE) – similarities and differences

Promissory note and bill of exchange are extrajudicial enforcement grounds (EEG). Formal unilateral transactions.

PN originates (historically) from the bill of exchange, but provides a more extensive application. In the RO, the issuer and the payer coincide. Thus, the relationship is between 2 and not between 3 people, as in the case of the bill of exchange. The RO is a promise to pay, while the bill of exchange is a payment order.

Record order(RO)

RO definition: an abstract unilateral transaction in which the issuer promises to pay a corresponding amount of money to the borrower at maturity.

PN content:
  1. Name of the document: “Record order.” The name must also be mentioned in the text of the document. Name and content of the document – in the same language.
  2. “Promise” to pay the relevant amount of money (the amount being written in words, numbers or both).
  3. Date of payment of the amount required (maturity).
  4. Location of payment.
  5. The three names of the person to be paid.
  6. Date and place of concluding the transaction.
  7. Signature of the publisher.

Bill of exchange

Bill of exchange definition: is a valuable book (VB) for unconditional payment and a formal unilateral transaction. With it the issuer orders the payer to pay a corresponding amount to the borrower of the bill of exchange. I.e. here 3 persons enter legal relations, between which certain monetary receivables are settled. The bill of exchange is a written document.

Contents (details) of a bill of exchange(BE) :

A bill of exchange is a written expression of the will of the issuer, which must contain several mandatory elements. Here they are:

  1. Title “Bill of exchange” + content of the name and in the text itself.
  2. Exactly what amount the payer must pay to the underwriter – specified in one of the three options: in numbers, in words or both.
  3. The three names of the payer.
  4. Date of payment of the amount due (maturity).
  5. The three names of the underwriter.
  6. When and where (date and place) the bill of exchange was issued.
  7. Handwritten signature of the publisher (the document itself does not need to be handwritten).


Like PN, the check is also a derivative of the bill of exchange. Valuable book (VB), to which the rules of the bill of exchange apply in the alternative. It belongs to the EEG group. It is similar to the bill of exchange in the number of persons participating in the transaction, which are 3: issuer, payer and underwriter.

Main characteristics:

The check is a VB, which can be registered, promissory or bearer. If you have a check issued for a certain person – it is on order. If there is an explicit clause “not on order” – it is named. If the check does not contain the name of the borrower – it is the bearer.

The check is a means of payment, and the payer can only be a bank. There is no interest on the check due to the short-term payment. The issuer of a check can be any able-bodied person.

Extrajudicial enforcement grounds (EEG) in the international legal space

It is necessary to know that the matter of bill of exchange, PN and check is not interpreted unambiguously in international law. Mostly because of the abstract nature of the deals. Several conventions have been adopted on the issue, the most famous of which are the three Geneva conventions. Bulgaria is not a party to them, but the texts in our legislation are in line with that of the EU.

In Bulgaria, the legal burden and the regulation of a bill of exchange, PN, check – are interpreted by the Commercial Law (Chapters: 30 and 31).

Commercial Law

If you need a consultation with a narrow specialist in the field of Commercial Law, you can seek the services of the law firm Hristo Vassilev. This is a proven law brand over the years, in which the legal profession is practiced by some of the best and most respected legal experts in Bulgaria.