Note: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this site. Our sponsors, however, do not influence our editorial content in any way.
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.
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:
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.
Depending upon where you purchase the money order, this line may be marked as “Sender” or “Remitter” instead.
As you would with a personal check when paying a bill, write your account number in the “Memo” section of the money order.
The money order may not be valid if it is not signed. The line may instead read “Signature” or “Purchaser.” Do not sign the back where it is marked “Endorsement Signature.” You do not need to include an endorsement signature on the money order, that is where the recipient will sign before cashing it in.
As mentioned above, there are several places to purchase a money order. There is typically a small fee involved, which varies by location.
Money orders can be purchased at the postal service for up to $1,000. The fee is about $2.00.
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 may be limited.
Chase money orders and those purchased from other banks can be purchased for larger amounts, and the fee can be as much as $5.
You can also purchase money orders at money store locations that offer these services.
Keep in mind that they do not affect your credit score and these companies do not report to the credit bureaus. If you are looking for ways to improve your credit score, check out our list of the best credit repair companies.
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 it 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 if you elect to pay this way.