Everything you need to know about Money Orders

What is a money order?

It is a great and safe alternative to cash and checks. It comes handy especially when you need to mail a payment. All you need to do is, specify the recipient’s name along with his and your signature in order to make it valid.

A third party such as the post office, Western Union or Walmart guarantees the money. Also, you will be surprised to know that the cost is much less compared to other methods of sending money, especially abroad.

When can you use money order?

Sending cash or checks can be a risky affair. Money orders are safe and here’s how;

  • Money orders do not include your bank account number unlike personal checks thus making it secure
  • Your money is not tied to any bank as you have to pay the money in advance before you send it
  • As money orders are prepaid, there is no worry of it being rejected due to insufficient funds
  • A money order ensures that your money is received only by the recipient and not be misused

Where can you obtain your money order?

  1. Banks

The easiest way to obtain a money order is through a bank. If you have a bank account, all you need to do is, go to the teller and ask for one. Some banks may charge you a small fee while others may offer money orders for free. A major advantage of getting your money order through a bank is that it keeps the record of your purchase. This will come handy in case your money order gets lost.

Some banks may offer cashier’s check which is similar to a money order. However, you will have to make that the recipient will also accept a cashier’s check instead of a money order.

  1. Local businesses

Yes. You heard that right!  Places like Walmart, drugstores and grocery stores offer money orders for a nominal fee. You can visit a few such places and choose the one that offers money orders at the lowest fee. However, some establishments may have a limit on the amount of money order. So, do your research before choosing one.

  1. Post Office

This is yet another reliable place worth considering. You can visit the nearest post office and purchase your money order.

Interestingly, the United States Postal Service (USPS) replaces your money order in case it gets damaged, stolen or lost. It also offers other benefits such as;

  • You can purchase money orders with debit cards
  • Allows you to cash it in 29 other countries
  1. Online

If you are unable to purchase your money order in person, online is a convenient choice for you. However, companies offering online services charge higher fees than local establishments.

Payko, a leading online money order company caps daily money order purchases at just $200.

  1. Money transfer establishments

You may consider purchasing your money order from companies such as MoneyGram , Western Union and other check-cashing outlets. The Western Union money order fee is around 99 cents (charges may vary according to location) and usually limited to less than $1,000 on single money orders.

A few tips when sending money orders;

  • Make sure to keep the receipt as proof of payment
  • Track your money order using the tracking number mentioned on the receipt. In case of any problem, contact the place where you purchased the money order from.
  • In case your money order gets lost or if you have filled wrong information on it, you can cancel it and even get a refund(in few cases) for it.You can use your receipt to claim it.

Purchasing a money order is not as difficult as it may sound. All you need to ensure is that you purchase it from the right place and you are good to go!