How to fill out a money order

Money orders aren’t as popular as they used to be. But there might still be times when you need to use one as a payment method. 

So it can help to know how they work and what needs to be done for the transfer to be successful. Read on to find out how to fill out a money order properly.

Key takeaways

  • You can get money orders at your bank or credit union, the U.S. Postal Service or a grocery store.
  • When filling out your money order, you’ll need to have some basic information handy.
  • If you’re buying the money order, you need to sign the front. If you’re receiving the money order, you need to endorse it on the back.

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What is a money order?

A money order is a secure payment method that can be used as an alternative to cash, a personal check, a cashier’s check or a credit card. You might consider using one if you don’t have a bank account or if you’re sending money through the mail. Money orders are prepaid so they’re guaranteed.   

How to get a money order

You can buy money orders at banks, credit unions, the post office or grocery stores. You can usually use a debit card or cash to buy them.

Filling out a money order: How it works

It’s fairly easy to fill out a money order. The image below gives you an idea of the kind of information you’ll need to fill in. The date and the amount are pre-filled by the issuer.

An image of what your money order might look like.

An image of what your money order might look like.

1. Recipient’s name

Populate the first line, usually labeled “Pay to the order of” or “Pay to,” with the name of the person you want to cash it.

2. Purchaser’s address

Add your mailing address on the line that asks for the purchaser’s address. This is so the recipient can contact you if there’s an issue when they cash the money order.

The money order may also ask for the recipient’s address. So it’s a good idea to be prepared with that information too.

3. Memo line

This is a space for any notes you think might be useful to the recipient. You might want to fill in a corresponding account or order number. Or you could briefly note your reason for sending the money order.

4. Purchaser’s signature

You—the purchaser—sign the line on the front of the money order. The endorsement line on the back of the document is for the recipient to sign before cashing it.

Once you’ve filled out the money order, you can give or send it to the intended recipient. They should be able to cash or deposit it at their bank. And if that’s not an option, they may also be able to cash the money order with the company that issued it. A check-cashing service may charge a fee.

Make sure to keep your receipt, as it has a tracking number that can be used if the money order gets lost. It can also be used to cancel the money order if necessary.

Filling out money orders in a nutshell

Filling out a money order isn’t much different from writing a check. Even if you don’t use money orders often, knowing how to fill one out might still be helpful.

Learn more about when you might need a money order. And see how money orders differ from cashier’s checks.

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