Funny Money - MPC's

Remember the funny money?

After 1 September 1965 U.S. troops were paid only in Military Payment Certificates (MPCs). The MPCs were negotiable as money at all U.S. facilities. The only use for which MPCs were not negotiable was conversion into U.S. dollars. The issue of MPCs made illegal currency transactions more difficult but did not eradicate them. MPCs sometimes passed for dollars in the black market as well as in U.S. facilities. This was possible because MPCs could be used to purchase money orders or to write checks that could be sent outside of Vietnam and then cashed in dollars or other currency. To fight this, no individual was allowed to purchase a money order for any amount in excess of the pay drawn by him that month (pay vouchers had to be shown); the names and addresses of purchasers and payees were recorded, and purchases which were considered to be excessive were reported to the IRS.

Because of increased currency violations, “conversions” of Military Payment Certificates were required. On conversion days, 28 October 1968 and 2 November 1969, anyone in possession (legally) of MPCs were required to turn over all certificates in their possession to specially appointed finance agents stationed at each military installation. No one was allowed to leave the installation until he had turned in his certificates, and certificates were accepted only from individuals who held the required identification authorizing possession of certificates. A record was kept of the amount turned in by each individual, and an equal amount of money printed in the new certificate series was returned to each individual. Once the conversion was complete, no certificates from the old series were accepted for conversion, nor were old certificates any longer negotiable as cash. The old MPCs became worthless and anyone holding them lost the value of the notes he held.