How to Fill Out a Money Order

How to Fill Out a Money Order
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Fill Out Your Money Orders Correctly

Some apartment complexes, leasing agencies or property associations require money orders for all their payments. Filling out a money order is an easy process after you learn how to do it properly. Money orders have receipts on them for you to keep for your records and track all of your payments.

Where to Buy a Money Order

You can purchase a money order at many different types of places, including grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores and big box stores. They typically cost only about $1 or so. Most likely, you’ll spot a banner outside the retailer, such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Banks and credit unions sell money orders, but they charge around $5 to $10 each. The United States Postal Service sells money orders for about $1.25 each.

How to Buy a Money Order

Pay for the money order and its service fee with either cash or a debit card. These guaranteed funds are used because the money order is also guaranteed. Checks can bounce, and credit card companies can require a chargeback; in these cases, the money is not guaranteed. If someone says you can pay with a credit card, be wary. The only way you can pay with a credit card is as a cash advance on your card, which can carry hefty fees.

How to Fill Out a Money Order

When you buy the money order, make sure that the amount you asked for is the amount printed on it. Filling it out is a simple procedure:

  • Use a dark pen and write in large letters so your information can’t be altered.
  • Write the name of the person or business in the “Pay To The Order Of” line on the top. Make sure you spell it correctly because you can't change it.
  • You are the purchaser or sender. It may say “From,” “Purchaser,” or “Remitter” in this area. Write your full name, and if there is an address line, fill it out too. Some money orders only have an area for your name.
  • Sign the money order on the bottom right field on the front. Don’t write on the back of the money order; this area is for the recipient to sign.

Keep the detachable receipt for your money order after you fill it out, and record who you sent it to. There may be an additional area on the receipt and the money order for a note. If so, enter your account number or “March Rent,” or some such wording, so you’ll know where you sent it. The receipt contains tracking information, so if the recipient says that he didn’t receive it, you can check.

What Is the Difference Between a Money Order and a Cashier’s Check?

You can purchase money orders from a large variety of places; however, a cashier’s check can only be bought at a financial institution or bank. A cashier’s check can be made for large payments, such as a down payment on a house, but money orders have a much lower limit of about $1,000 each. If you're making a $3,000 payment, you would need to purchase three money orders of $1,000 each.

What Is the Order of Money?

The money paper trail starts with your having the money and purchasing the money order. After the recipient receives it, she signs the back and enters her bank account number to deposit it. Otherwise, the recipient may take it to her bank and cash it to get cash on the spot.