How to Use a Money Order

One day you may find you need to use a money order to make a purchase. Sometimes it’s impractical or unsafe to use cash, like when you’re sending a payment through the mail, and checks aren’t always a viable payment option. In fact, money orders are sometimes preferred over checks because there’s no risk of bouncing it. You also don’t have to share the financial information like account numbers on the bottom of your check, so it’s safer for you as well. Here’s everything you will need to know in order to use one.

First you’ll need to figure out where to purchase your money order. There are plenty of places that issue them. Usually your local grocery store, bank, credit union, convenience store, or money transfer outlet will have them available. You can also purchase them at any U.S. Post Office.

To pay for your money order, you’ll owe the purchase amount plus whatever fees are charged by the issuer. You may have to purchase more than one document depending on the dollar amount you’re sending. This is because there is often a maximum amount per document. For example, if you need to send someone $2,500 and the issuer’s maximum is $1,000 per document, you would have to purchase two documents for $1,000 and another for $500. You can usually pay with cash, a debit card, or a credit card depending on the issuer. Some retailers may offer tracking information or the ability to stop payment, so ask the issuer if you want that information.

Filling out the document is similar to writing a check. You’ll want to make it out to the person, retailer, or organization to whom you’re sending the money, just as you would a check. There may be other lines to fill out such as your address or the payee’s address, your signature, or other details. Be sure to fill out the payee information as soon as you purchase the document. If you leave the payee line blank and lose it, it’s as good as cash to the person who finds it and writes in their own name.

Now you are ready to send your money order to the payee. You can drop it in the mail just as you’d send someone a check. Once the payee receives it, he or she will be able to either cash it or deposit it, and then the transaction will be complete!

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