A money order is a form of currency that can be used to pay for various goods and services to those individuals and businesses that will accept them. Similar to a check, a money order is in fact a prepaid form of currency that can be purchased at participating vendors. The most common place to purchase a money order is at the United States Postal Service, but you can also buy a Walmart money order, Chase money order, Publix money order and CVS money order, among others.
A money order differs from a check in that since the money order has already been paid for by you, the money order purchaser, for the full amount, the funds are guaranteed to the recipient by the establishment from which the money order was purchased. For this reason, some individuals and businesses prefer to be paid by money order and not by personal check, where there is a risk of the check being bad due to insufficient funds.
Filling out a money order
Regardless of where you purchase a money order, it must be filled out properly. Be sure to use pen and write legibly. The steps are fairly simple, and are as follows:
1. Fill in the recipient’s name.
Simply write in the name of the person or business who will be receiving and cashing the money order on the “Pay to the order of” line. Be sure it is spelled correctly.
2. Write your name and address in the “Purchaser” section.
Depending upon where you purchase the money order, this line may be marked as “Sender” or “Remitter” instead.
3. Include your account number if you’re paying a bill.
As you would with a personal check when paying a bill, write your account number in the “Memo” section of the money order.
4. Sign the bottom where it says “Purchaser’s signature.”
The money order may not be valid if it is not signed. The line may instead read “Signature” or “Purchaser.” Do not to sign the back where it is marked “Endorsement Signature.” That is where the recipient of the money order will sign before cashing it in.
Where to get a money order
As mentioned above, there are several places to purchase a money order. There is typically a small fee involved in purchasing a money order, which varies by location.
1. U.S. Postal Service
Money orders can be purchased at the postal service for up to $1,000. The fee is about $2.00.
2. CVS money orders, Publix money orders and other retailers
Many grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores and other establishments offer money order services. The fee is usually minimal, about 80 cents, but keep in mind that the amount you can purchase for a money order may be limited.
3. Banks and credit unions
Chase money orders and those purchased from other banks can be purchased for larger amounts, and the fee can be as much as $5.
4. MoneyGram and Western Union
You can also purchase money orders at money store locations that offer these services.
How much does a money order cost?
As mentioned above, the fee for purchasing a money order varies depending upon where it is purchased. The remainder of the amount you must pay is simply how much you want the money order to be for. For example, if you purchased an item on eBay for $100, and the seller wanted payment by money order, the total would be $100 plus the fee from the establishment where it was purchased.
Money orders are also a great way to pay bills if you don’t have a checking account, or if you want to send money to someone as a gift. Just be sure to check that the business or individual will accept a money order if you elect to pay this way.