Are you looking for a secure way to send money? Or do you want to send money to a loved one but don’t own a checking account? A money order can be of help! A money order is identical to a check. However, unlike a check, it doesn’t pull funds from your account nor bounce. If you want to use a money order to make a payment, you’ll have to know where to get one.
Money orders can be purchased from various institutions such as banks, grocery stores, the United States Postal Service, pharmacies, convenient stores, and other big retailers.
Check books are free (some banks sell them). You can order one from your bank’s website or mobile banking app. But what about money orders? Of course, they aren’t free. You’ll need to buy them. Below, I have highlighted where you can buy money orders from.
Where to Get Money Orders?
Before we delve deeper, let’s understand what a money order is, how to fill one, how it works, and other important related information.
A money order is a paper payment, just like a check. However, unlike the latter, money orders cannot bounce. You buy a money order with cash or another solid form of payment, like a traveller’s check or debit card.
When buying a money order, you must cite the payee’s name ( or the recipient), and the issuing financial institution’s name must be stated on the money order. Having both pieces of info printed on a money order makes it hard for anyone besides the payee to cash it. This makes money more secure than cash.
Just ensure that you retain the receipt to track down and recover funds if your money order is lost or stolen. Money orders have some limits. For instance, at the United States Postal Service (USPS), you cannot buy a money order for over $1,000. If you buy over $3,000 worth of money orders in a day, you’ll have to fill out a special form and produce a government-issued photo ID.
How to Fill Out a Money Order?
Like paper checks, money orders require that you add certain information. They have empty spaces where you need to input details like:
- Payee address
- Payee name
- Date of purchase
- The amount you are paying
- Your name and address
- Reason for payment
- Your signature
Generally, you can expect to fill In your name in a portion labeled either “purchaser” or “from,” and you will fill in the reason for payment where you have “memo.” Ensure you don’t make mistakes when filling out the money order, as errors may be uncorrectable.
How Does a Money Order Work?
When you buy a money order, you must prepay the face value of the order in addition to the issuer’s fee. This means a money order cannot be returned for inadequate funds, unlike a regular check that can bounce. In many cases, you must pay with cash or debit card, although some providers allow you to purchase a money order with a credit card.
Where Can You Buy a Money Order?
Money orders don’t fall from the sky. You’ll need to purchase one to use it. Here are institutions that sell money orders:
- The United States Postal Service (USPS)
- Some retail banks, like Wells Fargo
- Some retailers, including pharmacies, grocery stores, big-box retailers and convenience stores
Be ready with a way to pay for both the face value of the money order, including the fee. If you buy a money order from your bank, you are generally able to pay for the face value of the money order and the fee from your checking or savings account.
Are Money Orders Safe?
Before using a payment platform or method, one of the questions you’ll likely ask is: is it safe?
In the case of money orders, can you trust the method?
Of course! You see, money orders protect both parties—the purchaser and the recipient. The recipients understand that the money order cannot bounce, while the purchaser can monitor their money order to ensure that it arrives without issues. In addition, purchasers may be able to terminate money orders that they feel may be lost or stolen.
That said, money orders can sometimes be used to commit fraud. Therefore, it’s important for purchasers to keep their money order receipts until the recipient has deposited or cashed the payment. And it’s wise for recipients to deposit or cash their money orders immediately after getting them. These steps help protect your money order from scams.
How Do You Track Money Orders?
You get a receipt from the issuer when you buy a money order. This receipt includes the serial number or money order number, the dollar amount and, perhaps, the issuing location. You can use this detail to monitor your money order online via the issuer’s website. The tracking information will help you understand if the money order has been cashed out or not.
Cost of Money Order:
Each money order comes with a nominal fee, which sells at around a dollar at some retailers and check cashing stores. USPS charges $1.45 for money orders of up to $500 or $1.95 for orders between $500.01 and 41,000. Money orders can be sold at as much as $5 at a retail bank.
Cashing a money order may cost you, depending on where you cash it. Check cashing stores, convenience stores, and retailers often charge a fee. However, you can deposit a money order fee free into your bank account and even cash it for free at the issuing institution.
For example, you can cash a USPS money order at a post office free of charge. Some rural mail careers may even be able to cash USPS money orders on their routes if they have adequate cash on hand.