Money orders are a fast and secure method of payment, which makes them an excellent choice when paying bills or transferring money to friends and family across the country or abroad. Additionally, many businesses that prefer not to accept personal checks will accept money orders because they know the money has to be paid up front and there is no risk that the money order isn’t good. In fact, money orders can even be replaced if lost or stolen.
About Money Orders
A money order is a form of money or wire transfer. Money orders are sold by the United States Postal Service (USPS) and by commercial providers, such as Western Union and MoneyGram. The USPS can send money anywhere in the United States plus about 28 foreign countries, mainly in Latin America. Western Union has a network of agents worldwide; money can be sent almost anywhere using their service. There's also MoneyGram, which allows users to send money orders to over 200 countries.
Find a Location
The first step in sending a money order is to find a place to purchase one. USPS money orders may be purchased at any U.S. post office, including rural route carriers and on military facilities overseas. Western Union agents include supermarkets, convenience stores and check-cashing stores. You may purchase money orders in person at your bank, or at any location that displays a MoneyGram money order sign. Commercial providers, including Western Union, also allow you to send money orders online.
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Buying Money Orders Via USPS
When you buy a money order from the USPS, you must fill out the money order with your name, address and phone number. You may include an e-mail address if you wish. You also need the recipient’s name and address. If you purchase more than $1,000 worth of money orders in a single day, you have to show a valid photo ID (for example, a driver’s license, state ID or military ID). For amounts more than $3,000, you’ll have to complete Form 8105 (Funds Transaction Report). Payment is by cash, traveler’s check or credit/debit card.
Buying Money Orders Via Commercial Providers
When you buy money orders through a commercial provider, you need to supply information for both the payee and purchaser. List your name, address and phone number on the required form along with the name and address of the recipient. As with a USPS money order, you will need to show a valid photo ID if purchasing a money order for a large amount.
Buying Money Orders Online
Western Union and other providers that offer online money orders also require your name, address and phone number plus the recipient’s name and address. Instead of paying with cash, you'll need to provide a credit or debit card number with expiration date (usually Visa, MasterCard, Discover and/or American Express are accepted) to pay for the money order.