What Does "Cash with Order" Mean?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Cash with order (CWO) is a term used to describe business transactions in which cash is tendered to settle the cost of an order at the time that order is placed. Arrangements of this type effectively create a binding agreement between the two parties, with the seller obligated to follow through and deliver the ordered goods, while the buyer is making a covenant to receive those goods. As with most types of transactions, the buyer does often have the option of returning the goods for full or partial reimbursement if the items received are not what was ordered or if they do not live up to the product descriptions.

The cash with order approach is often the simplest of all ways to complete a transaction. Since there are no credit terms to extend and no waiting for payment, the seller is often ready to release the ordered products when the payment is received. This also means that the buyer does not have to wait for payments to clear or for credit arrangements to be made. Under the best of circumstances, the entire transaction is completed in very little time, allowing both buyer and seller to focus on other matters.


A cash with order arrangements is one of the most common types of transactions. Retailers engage in this type of payment arrangement almost every business day. For example, a local retailer will accept immediate payment for a customer order by accepting currency or payment by way of a debit or credit card. All three methods allow the retailer to receive compensation for the purchase quickly, as opposed to extending credit to the buyer, which may mean a delay of anywhere from a few days to months before the obligation is settled.

There are a number of ways to tender cash with order. Using currency in hand to pay for an order is one approach. Arranging for an electronic funds transfer to the seller’s bank account is another common strategy, especially when the buyer is purchasing goods from a seller who is physically located across the nation or even in another country. Typically, any method that provides the seller with fast payment rather than requiring a long waiting period can be classed as CWO.

It is important to note that tendering cash with order as the means of paying for goods and services does not mean the buyer lacks protection. In many nations around the world, the buyer can still choose to reject the goods when received or even cancel the order and receive a refund. As part of the arrangement, both the buyer and seller have an obligation to one another up to the point that the seller delivers the products and the buyer checks over the delivery and decides that the items received are satisfactory.


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