What do you need to know about post office (USPS) money orders?
USPS money orders are a safe and secure means of sending money. Send a money order by going to the post office, filling out a money order, and mailing to the recipient. Keep your receipt for tracking and replacing your money order.
Today, I will show you how to send money securely with a post office money order.
- Post office money orders are safe and reliable ways to send money within the country.
- You can purchase USPS money orders with fees up to an amount of $1,000 per money order, a limit of three at a time. The money order comes with buyer protection, so keep the receipt in case the order needs to be replaced.
- Do not attempt to correct a mistake on a money order. Instead, take it back to the USPS counter for replacement.
- Money orders are as good as cash. Ensure you fill out the recipient’s name to avoid anyone from cashing the money order.
- You can cash a post office money order at any post office, in banks, drugstores, and some supermarkets.
- Refunds for USPS money orders are not allowed, but you can ask for a replacement with your receipt. You can then fill out the money order to yourself for cash, but you will lose some money to fees in the process.
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Does the post office sell money orders?
Not only does the Post Office sell money orders, but it’s the best place to purchase from. USPS money orders are the safest way to send money in the mail anywhere in the country, and they’re the most reliable, too.
Plenty of places sell money orders, including:
- Some supermarkets
However, only those purchased from the Post Office can be called postal orders.
USPS postal orders are considered the most secure money order you can buy. While they can only be bought from the post office, they can be cashed in many places and without delays.
How USPS Money Orders Work
Sending a USPS money order is much like sending cash in the mail, only it’s much safer. It works very similarly to sending a personal check in that the person can only cash it for whom the money’s intended. Still, a USPS postal order gives the sender more security and anonymity if desired.
Money orders can only be traced using the serial number on the receipt issued upon purchase. While it’s easy to trace whether the recipient has cashed it yet, it’s also almost impossible to trace the money order if the receipt has been lost.
It’s a system of sending cash that’s been around for 140 years! But there are good reasons for money orders still being used today. Postal orders are:
- Never expire
Even if someone sent you a money order 50 years ago and you never cashed it but suddenly find it once more, buried at the bottom of a drawer in your office, you can present it for cash, and it will be honored without question.
The only thing to remember is that while USPS money orders never expire, they never accrue interest. If it were worth $50 back in 1972, you’d receive $50 in 2022.
Buying a Money Order
To buy a USPS money order, simply:
- Head to your local Post Office and request to send one
- Confirm the amount you need
- Pay in full along with the fee required
- The money order will be handed over to you for you to fill out and mail
Paying for the Money Order
You can pay for money order from the USPS in any number of ways:
- Debit card
- Traveler’s Checks that are payable in US dollars.
You will not be allowed to purchase a money order using a credit card or a check.
Post office money order fees
Sending a money order comes with a small fee, depending on how much you’re sending. As of 2022, it costs $1.65 to send a money order of 1 cent to $500, and it costs $2.20 if you send any amount from $500.01 to $1000.
USPS money order amount limits
You cannot send more than $1000.00 with a single USPS money order, but you can send more than one at a time without a limit. If you want to send more than $3,000 at any time (using 3x $1000 orders), you’ll have to produce an ID and complete a specific form.
Money orders could potentially be used for people and businesses to launder money, so filling out forms is essential for the government to ensure everything is above board.
Purchasing a money order from the Post Office means you’re automatically protected against damage, theft, or proven fraud. The Post Office will determine how they will return the money because while money orders cannot be refunded, they are replaceable with proof of purchase.
There is no extra cost for buyer protection; it’s automatically a part of the USPS money order process. It’s one thing that makes them a secure option for many people. Once again, though, it’s important to remember that you must keep your receipt!
Filling Out a Money Order
It’s a good rule of thumb to fill out the order the second you get handed it by the Post Office teller. This is because the piece of paper you’re now holding is as valuable as cash, and if lost, it can be cashed immediately by anyone unless you fill it in.
So, have your envelope and stamp ready, and fill out the money order with the following information:
- Recipient’s name and address – this ensures that only they will be able to cash the order. If you leave it blank, anyone who finds the order on the street can fill it in with their name.
- Purchasing date
- Your name and address – this is so that the money order can be returned to you in case there’s a problem. For example, you lose it, and someone else finds it.
- Money order amount – usually, at the USPS, the amount is printed on the order itself, but it’s good to be sure.
- Payment reason – the reason you’re sending the money order can be left blank, especially if you’re sending it to a friend or family member. But if the money order is paying for a bill, then be sure to put down the reason, for example, your utility company account number.
Make sure your writing is legible, and write in block letters.
You don’t need to sign a USPS money order. Some issuers, such as Western Union or MoneyGram, require a purchaser’s signature. But for USPS money orders, the only signature needed is the recipient’s, and that’s done on the back when the money order is being cashed.
What if I Filled the Form Out Incorrectly?
When you’re handed the money order at the Post Office, it’s as valuable as cash at that moment, so extra care should be taken when filling out the details on the form.
But mistakes do happen, and you can find that you’ve entered the wrong details or filled in the information in the wrong place. It’s not simply a case of scratching out the error and filling it in correctly, though. The process is a little more complicated.
A USPS money order receipt comes attached to the money order upon purchase, and once the order’s been filled in, the receipt is removed and kept by the purchaser. If you’re filling in the order at the Post Office and you make a mistake, you’ll surely have the receipt, probably even attached!
It’s human nature to want to correct a mistake, but when a correction is obvious, such as striking out a name and replacing it with another, this will alert the cashier on the other end that there’s been a possible fraud.
Instead, the USPS insists that the purchaser should make no corrections. Instead, if you make a mistake while filling it out, take the money order back to the counter and ask for a replacement.
You’ll have to fill in an MOI form, which stands for Money Order Inquiry, and it can be a little time-consuming, but the USPS makes it clear that they do not charge any fees to replace a damaged money order. A replacement won’t be a problem with the damaged order and the corresponding receipt.
Mailing a Money Order
So now, you have your money order, and it’s been correctly filled out. Remove the detachable receipt for your records. It can be helpful to treat the receipt like a check stub, so write on it the amount you’re sending and to whom it was sent. This is especially helpful if you send several money orders at once or send them out regularly.
Then, put the money order into an envelope, address it correctly, put a stamp on it, and mail it to the recipient.
The order is already live once it’s been issued to you, so when sending it in the mail, it’s already ready to be cashed. It takes as long as the USPS takes to deliver a letter, so it can be with the recipient within 1-3 business days.
What if the Recipient Hasn’t Received the Order?
Track the order status by entering the details on the USPS website. If the order is lost in the mail, you can begin requesting a refund by taking the receipt to the Post Office.
It can take up to 60 days for the process of replacing a lost money order to be completed, but if it’s confirmed lost or stolen, then it will be replaced.
Cashing a Money Order
It’s free to cash a money order at any Post Office, and banks will also honor USPS money orders, as will certain grocery and drugstores.
The intended recipient is the only one who can cash a money order, and on receiving it they:
- Sign the back
- Present photo ID to the cashier
- Cash the order immediately
Receiving cash can incur a small fee, but depositing it straight into a bank account is usually free.
With no time limit on the money order, the recipient is welcome to keep it indefinitely and never cash it, because it never expires. They may decide to cash it years into the future, and it will still be honored.
What if Someone Else Receives the Money Order?
If the order is made out to a specific person, it can’t be cashed by anyone else. It’s one of the reasons money orders are a secure way to send cash.
It’s always risky to send a money order in the mail that hasn’t been completed. If it’s lost or stolen, a blank money order can be filled out by anyone with their details and cashed as though it were intended for them.
So, to ensure it only ends up in the hands of the intended recipient, always fill out a money order as soon as you have it in your hand upon purchase.
Canceling a Money order
Money orders cannot be canceled or stopped, for instance, if the purchaser changes their mind or decides they made a mistake by sending the order. For as long as the named recipient shows proof of identity when they go to cash the order, then it will be honored.
However, if a money order hasn’t been received and is considered lost or stolen, it can be replaced, as explained above.
No refunds will be given for a money order, at least in cash or repayment of paid funds onto a debit card or back into a bank account.
However, because replacements can be issued in the case of a damaged or lost order, then once the replacement has been handed over, the purchaser can make the order out to themselves.
You will lose some money in the process. While USPS will replace a damaged money order, they require a fee (currently set at $13.90) to replace a lost or stolen order.
Between this fee and a cashier’s fee for cashing the order, there will be some loss of value to the original order, but it is still worth applying to replace a lost money order if the value exceeds the fees.
Are USPS Money Orders Safe?
USPS money orders are extremely safe and remain a secure way to send cash to any number of specified recipients anywhere in the country. They’re also useful for people to receive money when they don’t have a bank account.
The money sent is insured through a traceable system. The system allows the purchaser to track and verify the received order has been signed and cashed by the recipient.
If the money order is filled out correctly and swiftly and sent via the USPS in the mail, the recipient will have the cash in their hand within just a day or two.
Summary: USPS money orders
Post office money orders are safe and reliable ways to send money within the country.
You can purchase USPS money orders with fees up to an amount of $1,000 per money order, a limit of three at a time. The money order comes with buyer protection, so keep the receipt in case the order needs to be replaced.
Do not attempt to correct a mistake on a money order. Instead, take it back to the USPS counter for replacement.
Money orders are as good as cash. Ensure you fill out the recipient’s name to avoid anyone from cashing the money order.
You can cash a post office money order at any post office, in banks, drugstores, and some supermarkets.
Refunds for USPS money orders are not allowed, but you can ask for a replacement with your receipt. You can then fill out the money order to yourself for cash, but you will lose some money to fees in the process.