What are the differences between a promissory note and bill of exchange?


If the BOE is not adhered to, a notification is given to all parties involved. In this situation, a promissory note’s “maker” is not given notice of dishonor. The most crucial aspect of a promissory note is that the creditor does not have to accept it once the debtor has drawn it.


In some cases, in the case of promissory notes, an asset can be kept for security against a loan. In this article, we will discuss head to head differences between the Bill of exchange and promissory note. As a result, we can conclude that a bank issues a bill of exchange, whereas an individual or business issues a promissory note. They cannot be substituted for one another since they provide diverse functions, purposes, and uses.

Main Differences Between Bill of Exchange and Promissory Note

The bill of exchange indicates that Akash Ltd. will pay Ronald Car Supply Ltd. $750,000 in 60 days. However, if it is issued by an individual, then it will be considered a trade draft. It can be used as evidence of payment which is owed by the buyer or drawee to the payee.

  • For this reason, bills of exchange are sometimes also referred to as bank drafts.
  • A holder in due course is a person who gets the instrument for consideration.
  • Acceptance is one of the major element, which distinguishes the two commercial instruments, i.e. bill of exchange need to be accepted, so as to become effective.
  • Diversly, a promissory note is given to make a payment without any earlier acceptance by the maker.

Facilitation of the credit transactions is helpful in increasing the size of business. Foreign Bill − Bill, which is drawn outside India, drawn on a person residing in India, payable in India or vice versa. Due date of foreign bill starts from the date on which Drawee sees it and accepts it. The Bills of Exchange can only be signed if the terms and conditions are read and accepted by the acceptor. A type of Bill that is drawn for the purpose of a trade order transaction is termed a trade bill.

Primarily Importers buying goods and bill of exchange and promissory note get a sufficient time limit to pay for the purchase by negotiating in Bills of Exchange. An inland bill is a type of bill that is drawn in India by an Indian resident and only payable in India and the same for any other country is known as an inland bill. Drawee is the party that pays the amount stated on the Bills of Exchange to the payee. TFG Finance Ltd is an introducer, not a lender, working with Limited Companies and Incorporated Bodies who may pay us a commission. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work.

Promissory notes, bills of exchange and cheques are negotiable instruments. ‘Drawee’ or ‘payee’ is the person in whose favour the promissory note has been drawn, and to whom the drawer must pay the money. In general, the drawee is also the payee, unless it is mentioned otherwise in the promissory note.

Entries in the Books of Drawer and Drawee

Promissory notes and bills of exchange are two of such negotiable instruments that are mentioned in The Negotiable Instruments Act. And these two are different from each other for their different features. Negotiable Instruments are documents that embody a right to the payment of money and may be transferred from person to person. These instruments were developed with efforts to make credit instruments transferable i.e, creditors to meet their liabilities keep documents that proves somebody is in their debt. To illustrate, X has promised to pay Y a certain amount of money at a specified date, in the future that can be used by Y to pay his debt to Z.

  • A holder can receive a bill, providing they become a holder before it’s overdue, if in good faith, and has no idea of defect in the title of that bill.
  • In 90 days, Car Supply XYZ will present the bill of exchange to Company ABC for payment.
  • A bill of exchange is a written order binding one party to pay a fixed sum of money to another party on demand or at some point in the future.
  • The bill of exchange indicates that Akash Ltd. will pay Ronald Car Supply Ltd. $750,000 in 60 days.
  • A bill of exchange is similar to a promissory note, but has some key differences.

Stamping is necessary for a bill of exchange except for “bills payable on demand”. Noting a promissory note is compulsory in case of non-payment. There are 3 parties involved in a bill of exchange; the Drawer, the Drawee, and the Payee. The creditor knows when he is required to make payment and can make arrangements accordingly. Drawer of bill may charge some interest on mutually agreed terms and that amount of interest may be paid in cash or may be included in the bill amount.


If a bill of exchange is dishonoured, the holder must present an unpaid notice of dishonour to the drawer and the immediate indorsers. For promissory note, there is no such notice that needs to be given in the case of any dishonouring events. The amount of money must also be written, and both parties must have definite knowledge about it.

payable to bearer

The person who is in possession of the negotiable instrument is considered to have the right to title over such instrument. Negotiable instruments can be transferred without any formality. A bearer instrument is transferred just by delivering it to the transferee, whereas an order instrument needs to be endorsed and delivered for transferring the instrument. The transferee of the negotiable instrument is known as ‘holder in due course’ as described in Section 9 of the Act.

Advantages of Promissory Note

Bills of Exchange can be defined as a financial instrument that is short-term and negotiable and consists of an order in writing. This written order is essentially used in international trade where one party is bound to pay a fixed amount of money (either on-demand or at a predetermined rate) to another party. Bill of Exchange is the most commonly used negotiable instrument and is also the most complex of all. In simple words, it is a document ordering a person addressed in the bill to pay a certain amount of money to someone else. Bills of exchange and promissory notes are written commitments between two parties that confirm a financial transaction has been agreed upon.


Acceptance is one of the major element, which distinguishes the two commercial instruments, i.e. bill of exchange need to be accepted, so as to become effective. On the other hand, a promissory note does not require any kind of acceptance. So, when one is working with these two, he/she should be known about the meaning and features.

This ‘negotiability’ of instruments is possible with the development of numerous negotiable instruments. In India, the negotiable instruments are governed by the Negotiable Instruments Act of 1881. Paper money, in the modern sense, originated in the late 18th century and the note was issued by private banks as well as semi-government banks. Other payment instruments in the Indian money market were introduced by the private banks and the Presidency Banks. Cheques were introduced for the first time in India by the Bank of Hindoostan, in 1770.

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A good deal of https://1investing.in/ and commerce these days is carried on, on the basis of written promises to pay a definite sum of money the promises can be passed on from one person to another. Such written promises are known as negotiable instruments . Section 4 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 defines ‘promissory note’. In simple words, it is a promise in writing by a person, to pay a certain amount of money unconditionally to a certain person or according to his order. A bill of exchange issued by a bank is referred to as a bank draft. A bill of exchange issued by individuals is referred to as a trade draft.

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Every distinguishing feature about a bill of exchange vs promissory note is listed below in detail. A transaction is a finalized agreement between a buyer and a seller, but it can get a bit more complicated from an accounting perspective. In the case of the bill of exchange, the drawer and payee can be the same person which is not possible in case of the Promissory Note. It is used in business to settle the debt between the parties. There are only two parties in the process as- payee and the drawer. The market viability of the document is primary and absolute in terms of characteristics.






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