Legal Tender. Legal tender is any official medium of payment recognized by law that can be used to extinguish a public or private debt, or meet a financial obligation. The national currency is legal tender in practically every country. A creditor is obligated to accept legal tender toward repayment of a debt. Legal tender can only be issued by the national body that is authorized to do so, such as the U.S. Treasury in the United States and the Royal Canadian Mint in Canada.