How to Cash a Money Order in 5 Simple Steps

Real Money Talk woman looking at money order

Have you heard of money orders but are not sure what they are or when they’re used? We’re here to answer all of your questions.

A money order is a secure payment method for sending a prepaid amount. Money orders are a trusted way to send cash, especially when a paper check won’t suffice or isn’t available. You may need to use a money order for a rental security deposit, a used car purchase, or for sending money internationally or through the mail. Because money orders are guaranteed, a recipient may prefer this type of payment method to a check. Fortunately, money orders are a convenient and affordable way to send guaranteed money to any recipient of your choosing.

If you’re wondering how to cash a money order, we’ve laid out the step-by-step guide below, along with a list of where to cash a money order.

How to Cash a Money Order

how to cash a money order

Follow the steps below to cash a money order successfully. After receiving your cash, you can either deposit it into your bank account or utilize the funds for what you need. Consider unloading your cash as soon as you can so you’re not carrying around a large sum of money.

  1. Bring your money order to a location that will cash it. You can take the money order to your bank, credit union, grocery store, and some retail stores. Review our full list of where to cash a money order in the section below.
  2. Endorse your money order. Wait to add your signature to the back of the money order until you’re ready to hand it over to the cashier. Then, sign the back of the order to endorse it.
  3. Verify your identity. Show your identification to prove that you’re authorized to cash the money order. Government-issued IDs such as a passport, driver’s license, and military card are all valid forms.
  4. Pay service fees. You may have to pay a fee to cash a money order, although the fees tend to be low. The fees will be deducted from the total amount of cash you collect.
  5. Receive your cash. Place your cash in a safe location prior to leaving the service counter. Consider securing your funds in a money belt or wallet. You may wish to notify the sender that you successfully cashed their money order.  

Where to Cash a Money Order

where to cash a money order

Cashing a money order is usually convenient, as there are several places that offer this service. Depending on where you live and the places you frequent, some of the options below may be better suited for you than others.

  • Bank. One of the easiest ways to receive your funds is to cash a money order at the bank. Consider cashing your money order at a bank where you already have an account so that you can securely deposit the funds immediately.
  • Credit union. Similar to a bank, you can cash money orders at credit unions if you have a credit union account.
  • Money transfer outlet. Several locations, like Western Union and MoneyGram, specialize in money orders. They usually offer quick service with reasonable fees.
  • Post office. Wondering how to cash a postal money order? The post office securely handles money orders and is the easiest place to cash USPS money orders. You can also send out a package or purchase postage stamps while you’re there.
  • Grocery store. Some but not all grocery stores allow you to cash a money order. Head to their customer service counter to ask if they process money orders — helping you to avoid a separate errand if you’re out grocery shopping.
  • Check-cashing location. Stores that cash checks, whether they’re your paycheck or a payment from a friend, often provide money order services.
  • Convenience store. Not all convenience stores offer a spot to cash money orders. Call ahead of time or look on their website before heading to their location.
  • Money order issuer. Take a look at which entity issued your money order. You’ll be able to cash it at a store that utilizes the same company, such as Western Union, for example.
  • Retail store. Certain retailers will cash money orders. Check with their customer service counter or call ahead to be sure.

When to Use a Money Order

Man with laptop looking at money order

Money orders come in handy for many situations. They are guaranteed forms of payment that can be sent and received from nearly anywhere in the world.

Here are some scenarios when you may wish to use a money order:

  • You don’t have a check to make a payment
  • A check is not an acceptable form of payment
  • You’re sending money internationally
  • You’re worried about bouncing a check
  • Cash is required for a purchase, like a used car or rental security deposit
  • You need to send a payment through the mail
  • You don’t have a checking or banking account
  • You’re making a large purchase and don’t want to have the cash on-hand

When sending a money order — whether it’s at a bank, convenient store, or post office — be sure to keep your receipt for tracking purposes. If your money order were to be lost or stolen, it’s important to have your records and receipt. Notify the recipient that you’ve sent your money order, and ask them to let you know when they receive and cash it.

While fees are typically small for money orders, they may differ from location to location. The fees also depend on how much money you’re sending and if the funds are being sent domestically or internationally. If you’re unsure how to fill out a money order, you can ask a clerk at the service counter for information.

Money orders are a secure way to send cash, especially if you don’t have a checking account or are receiving a payment in the mail. With a variety of locations available to cash a money order, it’s a convenient service to use with minimal fees. So whether you’re selling a used car or sending a payment in the mail, a money order could potentially be the right route for you.

Above all, maintaining financial stability and security is of the utmost importance. Understand where you stand financially to achieve the life you want.

 

Sources: USPS | The Balance | The Simple Dollar | TIME

 

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