How to Get a Money Order

Updated on March 21, 2018
SarahLinny profile image

Sarah is a bona fide cheapskate striving to find a balance between saving money and making money, because both take a lot of time.

What Is a money order?

A money order is a printed form of money transfer that is "backed" by cash. It is usually issued by a bank or post office (because they are affiliated with the federal system), but you can get them from other places. A money order is used instead of cash because it prevents people from using fake money and also provides proof of the money transfer for the paperwork and tracking purposes of both entities.

Think of it like buying a gift card—you use cash to purchase a piece of paper that is worth the same amount. There is usually a processing fee, and the recipient can use it like cash, not credit. A money order, however, must be deposited or cashed in and can't be used by the recipient in any other way.

Money orders are usually available for sums up to a specific amount. Different businesses will allow you to purchase different amounts.

Sample Money Order
Sample Money Order

Should I get a Money Order or a Cashier's Check?

There is a difference between a money order and a cashier's check, and that difference is based on the amount you need. Most banks and money-issuers have a cut-off point for money order amounts. For example, Bank of America's cut-off point is $1000. Anything $1000 and below is a money order, and anything above $1000 is a cashier's check. The reason that you should care is that a money order usually costs less than a cashier's check. For example, at Bank of America, a money order costs $5 while a cashier's check costs $10.

Why Would I Get a Money Order?

Money orders guarantee the security of your money for the payee. It is trusted because it is required that the money order payer must pay the amount in cash ahead of time. This prevents the recipient from having to worry about whether a check will bounce. For this reason, many landlords require their tenants to pay in money orders.

A money order looks a lot like a check.
A money order looks a lot like a check.

Where to Get a Money Order

  • Wal-Mart: This may be your cheapest option! As of 2018, each money order costs 70 cents and can be for up to $1000. You can get more than one money order at that rate, and you can use cash or debit card. Being able to use a debit card can be a great option if you don't normally carry a lot of cash, and it will provide you with a digital record of the purchase. They also have many other money services, so they can be a one-stop shop. I don't normally advocate going to Walmart, but they are excellent at keeping prices low and providing many items and services that people need.
  • U.S. Postal Service: This is another cheap option, depending on how much money you want. You can get up to $1000 per money order. It costs $1.20 to get a money order of up to $500, and $1.65 for a money order of $500-1000. Different fees apply for international money orders. They have a very easy-to-understand table on their website.
  • Your Bank: Almost all banks offer cashier's checks and money orders. However, The rates are different in each state, so you will have to call and ask.
  • CVS: This is another low-cost way to do it, depending on how much money you need to get. Some CVSes only charge 99 cents for a money order, but the cut-off is $300. That can be a big hassle if you need a larger sum of money. However, you can get an unlimited amount of money orders at this amount. Another drawback to using CVS is that they usually only take cash for their money orders!
  • Western Union agent: Your local Western Union agent can print a money order for you. Charges and fees vary. To find your agent, use their locator. Be sure to click "Money Order."
  • Payday Loan Shops: Places like Check N Go and Advance America often offer money orders. These shops are usually locally run, so their charges and limits vary.
  • Grocery Stores: Many grocery stores offer cashier's checks and money orders. However, the rates vary, so you will have to call and ask.

What Do I Do with the Money Order?

Once you have the money order, there is a line that you need to sign. The field is usually labeled "Purchaser," "Signer for Drawer," or something along those lines. That's you, and until you sign it, no one can cash it. Some people recommend waiting until you are ready to hand it over to sign it. Do not sign the back of the money order. The person who cashes it will sign there.

It's a good idea to take a picture or scan your money order before giving it to the recipient. That way, you can record which institution you got it from, the amount, and the date.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • bodylevive profile image

        BODYLEVIVE 

        17 months ago from Alabama, USA

        I had a bad experience with a money order and from now on if I need one, I'll get it from the post office or Walmart.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://toughnickel.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)