How do I Send a Money Order?

Tara Barnett

Sending a money order is a safe way of moving money from one person to another with no risk of the money getting lost or the payment method failing. The process used to send a money order is fairly straightforward and varies very little by area or country. Money orders are often available in grocery stores, post offices, and special offices that deal only with sending money. To send a money order, one must usually fill out a form, agree to a fee and pay in cash, and then mail the money order in an envelope with appropriate postage just like a letter.

An international money order in US Dollars (USD) issued by the United States Postal Service.
An international money order in US Dollars (USD) issued by the United States Postal Service.

The first thing one needs in order to send a money order is cash with which to purchase the money order. Money orders can only be bought with cash, debit cards, and sometimes traveler's checks. One cannot use a credit card to purchase a money order. One should have enough cash to cover the amount of money being sent with the money order as well as the fee.

Grocery stores often offer money order services.
Grocery stores often offer money order services.

There are a number of venues that offer money orders. If one is going to send a money order in the mail, a convenient place to get the money order itself is the post office. Almost all locations that offer money orders also charge a fee for the service, although one's bank may have a smaller fee or none at all. Inconveniently, most locations also have a maximum amount permissible for money orders, so one may have to purchase several and pay several fees if one is sending a large amount of money.

Typically, there are forms available at the desk where money orders are processed. One must fill out the form in its entirety and then hand it to the clerk. The clerk will then check over the forms, process the money, and give back the money order. There will be areas on the money order that must be filled out for safety reasons, which include the recipient's name to prevent it from being cashed by other parties. Once one receives the item from the clerk, it is a good idea to immediately fill out the spaces on the money order itself.

Even with a money order, one can still run into problems, so it is important to keep the receipt in case the recipient claims to have never received it. One can send a money order through the mail with relative security once it is filled out because only the intended recipient can cash it. It is also sometimes possible to send money orders online, but this is usually much more expensive. Sending a money order can be more time consuming than sending a check, but many people find that it is worth it for the security of both the sending and receiving party.

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