Learning how to send a money order doesn’t have to be complicated. Discover what a money order is, when you might want to send one and how to go about it with this extensive guide.
We’ll help you understand the benefits of a money order and why it can be an ideal solution for getting cash to family and friends. You’ll also learn about the different types of money order, how to fill a money order out and the costs involved.
Do you also have concerns about money order scams? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Get your money where you need it to be securely and on time with this helpful explainer.
In this article
- What is a money order?
- The different types of money orders
- Sending a money order
- How to fill out a money order
- Receiving a money order
- Money order costs
- How to avoid money order scams
- FAQs and guides
A money order is a form of postal payment that can be purchased from post offices and certain retailers, and is similar to a cheque. The difference between the two is that a money order cannot be rejected. They are prepaid and loaded with the cash amount. You cannot buy money orders with a credit card or cheque, as the form of payment needs to be guaranteed.
Many people use money orders as they don’t necessarily require you to have a bank account and are an easy and straightforward way to get funds to where they’re needed. If you need to pay a bill or other important payment, for example, you don’t need a credit or debit card. You can simply fill in the recipient’s information and it will be delivered to them via post or into their account if you send the money order online.
Note that the money order can’t be used to settle a commercial transaction, as the transfer can only be made from individual to individual.
There are several different types of money orders, so let’s take a closer a look at each one.
Regular and express international money orders
Regular international money orders can be made at your local post office and are completed within a few days of sending. You can send up to €3,500 to 52 countries across the world.
Express international money orders are similar, but you can also make these online. They have the same sending limit (€3,500) but are completed within 24 hours. You can also only send to 34 countries, rather than the above 52.
Money order account payments
Money order account payments allow you to send money directly to someone’s account. They are usually done domestically and within EU countries specifically and have no sending limit. You can go to the post office to make one of these money orders, and they usually take around three to five days to complete.
You can also make direct account money transfers via an online agent, which can take from a few minutes up to a few days to complete, depending on your location.
Money transfer agent
You can make a money order transfer at your local money transfer agent location. These transfers are available to be made to a number of countries across the world, which, along with the maximum sending amount, will be defined by each individual company.
They usually take from a few minutes to around 24 hours to complete. In some circumstances, depending on your and your receiver’s location, they can take up to five days.
From an agency or post office
To send a money order from an agent location or post office, you’ll need to purchase one outright with cash, savings or a debit account. You’ll then be handed the order slip, on which you’ll need to fill out your and your receiver’s name and contact details, confirm the amount is correct, then sign.
You’ll then receive a receipt, which, in most cases, has an order number ID that you can use to track your payment. Agency and post office money order transfers usually take between 24 hours and a few days to complete, depending on your location.
Sending a money order online is quick and easy. Simply navigate to your chosen transfer agent website and fill in the required forms. You will be asked to specify how much money you want to send as well as your chosen payment method.
You will also usually need to provide some personal information, such as:
- Your and your receiver’s name and contact information.
- Proof of identification (passport, photo driver’s licence, National Identity Card etc).
- Proof of funds.
Once you confirm and complete the transaction, you will also likely be provided with a digital receipt and tracking number so you and your receiver can keep track of your funds. Online money order transfers usually take from a few minutes to 24 hours to complete, depending on your location and chosen payment method.
To complete a money order form, follow these simple steps:
- Pay the nominal administration fee if sending from a post office or retail location.
- Fill in the amount you wish to send and verify that this is correct.
- Fill in your name and contact information.
- Fill in your receiver’s name and contact information.
- If there is a memo line or box, similar to a cheque, specify the purpose of the transfer. This is not usually compulsory, though some locations may ask for it, especially if you are sending a high amount.
- Some forms have a box reserved for a secret question and its answer. Fill in this box, and the recipient will have to give the answer in order to collect the money.
- Finally, if you’re sending at a store-based location, sign the form to confirm all the information you have provided is correct. If you are sending online, this is where proof of ID may be required.
- Pay for your money order with cash, debit card or from your savings account. You will then receive your receipt and tracking number.
Once you receive your money order form, you can take it to be cashed or deposit it into your bank account at a post office, bank or a cheque-cashing location. You will need to take proof of ID with you and you may also be asked to sign your name on the form itself.
Proof of identification examples include:
- Photo driver’s licence
- Residence permit
- National Identity Card.
If you’re receiving an online money order payment, this will either be sent directly into your bank account or you will have to pick your funds up from an agent location. To do this, simply take proof of identification with you and you will be able to collect your money after signing the relevant forms.
Keep in mind that you may receive a different amount than what your sender originally transferred to you if you are receiving funds in another country and currency. This is due to fluctuating exchange rates that will affect individual currency prices.
Money order costs are dependent on where you’re sending money to and from, the method and provider you choose and the type of money order being used.
When sending an ordinary, express or account payment money order, this usually costs anywhere between €4 and €24 to send. Fees and exchange rates should be readily available to you when you buy your money order slip, so do double check before beginning the paperwork.
For some online international money orders and money transfer services, there are no sending fees included bar the exchange rates when sending to other countries. However, some may charge transaction fees, as well as the expected exchange rates. When sending online, it’s a good idea to check all extra individual charges, as each company will be different.
You should only ever send funds to people you know to avoid being scammed out of your money. If someone reaches out to you and you’re unsure of who they are, or you think they are impersonating someone you know, you should always take the time to double-check.
Make sure you scrutinise email addresses, names and personal information. If something doesn’t look right – it probably isn’t. If it really is a friend or family member, they will most likely reach out to you directly if they need your support.
You should only ever send money orders to people you know and trust. In these situations, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so always double-check that everything is legitimate before you send your money order. You can never be too careful – your time and money are precious.