Money orders were first implemented in 1863 by the U.S. postal system as a safe alternative to sending cash, according to the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. A money order is a printed order for payment of a specified sum, typically issued by a bank, post office, convenience store, money transfer and check-cashing company or supermarket. Similar to a cashier’s check, money orders are widely accepted and never expire. Here are the best places to get a money order:
- Western Union
- U.S. Postal Service
- Banks and credit unions
- Online providers
Best Places To Get Money Orders
You might find yourself asking, “Where can I get a money order?” When deciding where to get a money order near you, look for a provider with convenient locations and low fees. Fees might depend on the amount of the money order. If you can’t find a money order provider near you, you could instead get a cashier’s check from a bank.
At Western Union, each location is allowed to assign its own fees, so there are no set rates. If you don’t know how to get a money order, Western Union can walk you through the process.
To fill out a money order, write in the payee’s name along with your name and address under “purchaser” and then sign it. Tear off the receipt attached to the money order for your records.
- More than 550,000 agent locations are available around the world.
- No sending restrictions apply; you can send internationally.
- No bank account is necessary.
- Money must be picked up in person.
- Fees can be high, depending on the amount of the money order and the recipient’s location.
U.S. Postal Service
Obtaining a post office money order is one of the more affordable options. Money orders are sold in amounts up to $1,000 and fees vary based on the amount of the money order.
|U.S. Postal Service Money Order Fees|
|Money Order Amount||Fee|
|Up to $500||$1.25|
|$500.01 to $1,000||$1.70|
|Postal military money orders||$0.45|
If the money order you send is lost or stolen, the Postal Service will still honor it. Head to your local branch and fill out PS Form 6401 Money Order Inquiry and list the money order’s serial number from your receipt. You’ll then need to pay a $6.15 processing fee. Once the post office verifies the status of the money order, they’ll issue you a new one.
- Easy to find a local post office
- Set rates
- International money orders limited to $700
- Checks and credit cards not accepted as payments for money orders
Walmart is an authorized agent of the MoneyGram money order. You can purchase a money order in any amount up to $1,000 for a small fee of 88 cents. After filling out the form and obtaining the money order, you can either hand-deliver it to the intended recipient or mail it.
If you are the recipient, you’ll need to know how to cash a money order at Walmart. When you get to the counter, be prepared to show ID that matches the name on the money order. You should also come prepared with the reference number, so make sure to ask the sender for that, as well.
- Available from any Walmart Supercenter, Neighborhood Market (at the customer service desk) or Money Services Center
- Stores located worldwide
- Less expensive than most banks
- Must cash in person; check cashing fees might apply
Banks and Credit Unions
Almost all banks and credit unions sell and cash money orders. Each has its own requirements when it comes to money order fees and required documents. For example, First Heritage Federal Credit Union charges $2 for money orders, whereas a TD Bank money order costs $5.
If you aren’t a current customer at the bank or credit union you plan to visit, bring proper identification as well as enough cash to cover the money order and any associated fees. You can compare the fees and requirements at five major U.S. banks here:
|Fees and Limits for Money Orders at Banks|
|Chase||$5; free for Chase Premier Plus and Chase Sapphire Checking||$1,000|
|Bank of America||$5||$1,000|
|Citibank||Free for Citi Priority and Citigold accounts; $5 for other Citi accounts||N/A|
- Might be free if you have the right account
- Typically cost more than other providers
Online Money Order Providers
In today’s fast-paced world, sending a money order online can save a great deal of time. Just like banks and credit unions, each online institution has its own set fees. Xoom, which is a PayPal service, even allows customers to send international money orders. The fee is based on the amount of the money order and the country where the recipient resides.
WorldRemit is another organization that provides online money order services. Its low fees vary depending on the country where the recipient lives. Place your order using the online form and you can send money to friends and family in more than 150 different countries.
With so many online options to choose from, it’s important to do your homework and ensure the company you use to obtain your money order is legitimate.
- No need to leave the house
- Fast and easy
- Fees vary, depending where you’re sending money
Keep reading to find out when it’s best to use a cashier’s check or a money order.
More on Money
- Certified Checks Explained — Including How To Avoid Fraud
- Here’s How Long It Takes for a Check To Clear at Your Bank
- 5 Best Check-Cashing Apps
Barri Segal contributed to the reporting for this article.