How to Fill out a Money Order, Step by Step

money orders are about angstrom childlike to fill out as a personal check. Different outlets use different formats, but they all need the same basic information. Most money orders are from one of three brand names : Western Union, MoneyGram, or the U.S. Postal Service .

here ’ s a bit-by-bit guide on when to use a money order, where you can get one, and how to fill it out correctly .

Key Takeaways

  • Money orders are easy to buy and cash, and about as simple to fill out as writing a check.
  • Fees vary widely, so check in advance. Avoid using a credit card.
  • Once you fill in the recipient’s name, the money order is safe from misuse.
  • If you’re paying a bill, include an account or invoice number to ensure the payment is credited correctly.
  • It can take up to 30 days or more for a refund if you cancel your money order.
  • Money orders are helpful for people without checking accounts.

When You Should Use a money order

When you need to pay person or person needs to pay you, but cash, a personal arrest, or a smartphone app are n’t good options for whatever reason, a money order might be the solution .

A money order is a nibble of newspaper, but it is more secure than cash because it names a specific recipient role, who will have to endorse it and show designation to cash it. Money orders are beneficial for people who do n’t have a check account or do not want to accept personal checks. evening if you use checks, you might not want to share the personal data printed on them—such as your address and account number—with specific recipients. money orders are widely accepted because they are prepaid, eliminating the risk of bouncing .

Certified and teller ‘s checks issued by fiscal institutions offer even more security system than money orders. however, they carry much higher fees and require visiting a bank during bank hours, and a money order is an easier and less expensive option .

Where You Can Get a Money arrange

so far, on-line money orders are rare and costly. so buying a money ordering typically requires you to visit a location that sells them and leave with a composition money order in hand .

fortunately, thousands of U.S. locations sell money orders, many with evening and weekend hours. You can buy one at any Walmart, CVS, or 7-Eleven, vitamin a well as at any of the 31,300 U.S. Postal Service ( USPS ) retail offices. Banks, credit unions, grocery store shop chains, and check-cashing stores sell money orders, excessively .

The specify on money orders is $ 1,000, but you can order more than one at a time .

What They Cost

about all money order purchases involve a fee, so it ’ south wise to shop around. Walmart charges $ 1.00 at most locations, and the USPS charges $ 1.30 to $ 1.75 depending on the amount. International prices are significantly higher. For example, the USPS charges at least $ 10.55 plus a fee .

Prices at banks, credit unions, and other sellers can be importantly higher. On the other hand, some banks offer them free to particular categories of customers .

Credit card companies by and large charge hefty fees on money rate purchases because they treat them like cash advances. You besides could be piling up interest charges, so avoid this choice if potential .

What information You Need to Fill Out a money order

first, you ‘ll need to know the demand dollar sum you want. This will be machine-printed directly on the money ordering, and you wo n’t be able to alter it late. You besides need to know the proper name of the person or company you ‘ll make out the money order to. Be precise, or the recipient role may have trouble cashing it .

If you ‘re paying a commercial enterprise, add the bill or bill issue to ensure the payment is appropriately credited to you. You can fill this information out later, but a blank money order ( a long as the cash total is on it ) is angstrom dear as cash if it ‘s lost or stolen .

besides, bring a debit card or cash to pay for your money order, unless you ‘re at your bank and can withdraw it from your account .

If you forget to fill out the name of the recipient on your money order and then lose it, anyone can cash it, it is basically found money.

How to Fill out a money ordain

The U.S. Postal Service carries its sword and format of money orders, as do some banks and credit unions. other sellers generally offer one of two brands : MoneyGram is sold at all Walmart and CVS stores, while westerly Union is sold at 7-Eleven, some grocery store chains, and check-cashing stores. Whichever type you get, the seller will imprint the date and the sum and then give you the incomplete money ordain to finalize by pass .

There are just three pieces of information you ‘ll be asked to provide to complete any money order : the recipient ‘s proper name, your address, and your diagnose or signature. Money orders ask for your address so that the recipient role can contact you if a problem occurs. If you ‘re not comfortable sharing this information, there ‘s nothing to stop you from leaving this plain blank or entering your e-mail address or cell earphone count rather.

One required airfield on any money order is an reading of the sender. On most money orders, it ‘s your key signature that ‘s requested, just as you sign a check. But on USPS money orders, the blank is entirely labeled “ From. ” Whether you write or sign your name is up to you. One optional field on most money orders can be quite utilitarian. On western Union money orders, it is called “ Payment for/Acct. #. ” On USPS money orders, it ‘s labeled “ memo. ” This is where you can write in an account number if your money order pays a bill. Or you can use the space for any early information, precisely like you would use the memo field on a check .

USPS money orders offer extra space for the cover of the recipient role. On MoneyGram and Western Union orders, only your address is requested. MoneyGram money orders are confusing. The blank says “ Address, ” with no clues on whether your or the recipient ‘s address is wanted, and it means the sender ‘s address .

You will need to provide valid identification to purchase or cash a money order.

How to Deliver a Money order

once you ‘ve filled in all the fields, be sure to detach the acknowledge. This stub provides the money ordain ‘s official designation number, and you can use it to track whether the money order was cashed, and it ‘s besides a record of your payment .

now that you have a completed money order in hand and a receipt, you can safely hand-deliver the money order or mail it to your recipient. only the recipient will be able to cash it.

Mistakes to Avoid

While a money order is apparently straightforward and straightforward to use, there are mistakes to avoid when using a money order. The most important thing is to make sure you spell the recipient role and payee ‘s names correctly and fill out all the parts of the ordering. If you forget to fill something out or misspell a name, it can void out the order. never leave anything on the order space, and do n’t forget to keep your receipt of the transaction .

Do n’t forget to shop around for the lowest fees for a money order, either .

Advantages and Disadvantages of Money Orders

One obvious advantage of using a money order is its simplicity. You can walk into a big box or even your local grocery store and walk out with a money holy order, You do n’t need to have a check report to purchase a money rate, either, and they are simple to fill out .

The disadvantages are minimal, but they may be adequate to dissuade you from using one. First, you have to pay a tip to purchase a money order, something you do n’t have to do when using a check. If you lose a money rate and it is not filled out correctly, it can be easily stolen. The crown of $ 1,000 on money orders means you ca n’t use them for larger purchases or payments. You ‘ll have to purchase more than one, and with each order comes extra fees .


  • It ‘s easy to find a plaza to purchase a money order .
  • You do n’t need a checking account to purchase or cash a money rate .
  • only the recipient can cash the money decree .


  • A money orderliness can alone be used for up to $ 1,000 .
  • If you lose or need to cancel your money order, it can take up to 30 days or longer to be reimbursed .
  • If forget to put the recipient ‘s name on the rate and lose it, anyone can cash it .

How to Cancel or Replace a Money order

If you need to cancel or replace a money order, immediately contact the entity that issued it to you, and they will ask you to fill out a cancellation request form. Always make certain to save your acknowledge and be prepared to show it. You will need to pay a tip for a canceled money order, a well. When you fill out a cancellation request, you may ask for a substitute money order or a cash refund .

According to Experian, it can take up to 30 days or more for a refund or substitute, so you will have to be prepared to wait. If the topic is pressing, you will have to purchase another money order .

Alternatives to Money Orders

There are many alternatives to money orders. You can use apps like Venmo and PayPal to send money with one swipe, and many banks, like Chase, manipulation Zelle to transfer money directly from your checking account. You can write a personal check, besides, for zero fees and more protection, should the bridle catch lost or stolen .

The Bottom Line

For less than $ 1,000, money orders can be an easy way to purchase something, pay a bill, or pay back personal debt. You can buy a money order for a small fee at appliance stores, money rate businesses, big-box stores, and at some accredit unions and banks. There are drawbacks to using money orders such as a limit measure of money on each club, fees, and a 30 day or more wait period for a refund on a canceled money order .

Whose Address Do You Put on a Money Order?

normally you need to put both your address and the recipient ‘s address on a money order .

Do You Have to Sign a Money Order?

Yes. You do have to write out your signature on a money order .

What Happens If You Fill Out a Money Order Wrong?

unfortunately, if you make a mistake, it is difficult to correct. For exemplar, if you write out the wrong payee name or misspell it, you will have to ask for a refund, which could take 30 days, according to Western Union .

Can a Blank Money Order Be Cashed?

Yes. If person finds a blank money order with a specified come on it, in theory, they could fill it out and cash it. If you find a blank money decree with no cash value listed, you can not cash it.

Can Anyone Cash a Money Order?

Anyone can cash a money order, assuming it is made out to them and they have valid designation .

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