Unlocking the Secrets of Money Orders: Your Guide to Getting One Easily

Close up of businessman counts money in hands.

Key Takeaways

In today’s digital age, where electronic payments and credit cards dominate our financial transactions, the humble money order continues to hold its ground as a reliable, widely accepted form of payment. Whether you’re avoiding bank fees, don’t have a bank account, or need to send a secure payment, money orders can be an excellent alternative. This guide will unveil the secrets of money orders, explaining how they work and where you can easily obtain one.


Money orders are a bit like checks but with added security and without the need for a bank account. They’re prepaid, so unlike a check, the payment is guaranteed. This feature makes money orders a preferred choice for many, especially in transactions requiring trust and certainty.

What is a money order?

A money order is a paper document, similar to a check, used for making payments. The key difference is that a money order is prepaid, meaning it’s purchased using the exact amount of the payment, which guarantees the funds to the recipient. They’re commonly used to pay bills, send money to family, or purchase goods when cash isn’t feasible or safe.

How do money orders work?

To obtain a money order, you pay the amount you want to send, plus a small fee, upfront. The issuer then provides a document that you can mail or hand-deliver to the payee. The recipient can cash or deposit the money order just like a check but without the worry of it bouncing since the amount is prepaid.

Where to get a money order

  • Post Offices: The U.S. Postal Service is one of the most popular places to buy money orders, offering a secure and reliable service.
  • Banks and Credit Unions: Many financial institutions sell money orders to their customers, and some may offer them for free or at a reduced cost.
  • Retail Stores: Convenience stores, supermarkets, and drugstores often provide money order services through third-party companies.
  • Check-Cashing Companies: These businesses offer money orders in addition to their other financial services, though their fees might be higher.

Benefits of using money orders

  • Security: Money orders don’t carry your bank account details, reducing the risk of fraud.
  • Accessibility: They’re an excellent option for individuals without a bank account.
  • Certainty: The prepaid nature means the recipient can trust they’ll receive the funds.

How to fill out a money order

Filling out a money order is straightforward:

  • Write the recipient’s name in the “Pay to” or “Pay to the order of” field.
  • Fill in your address in the purchaser section.
  • Sign the front of the money order. Leave the back signature line blank, as this is where the recipient signs.
  • Include a memo or account number if you’re paying a bill.

Common Questions 

How much does a money order cost?

The fee for purchasing a money order varies depending on the location and amount but typically ranges from under a dollar to a few dollars.

What’s the maximum amount for a money order?

Limits can vary, but typically, money orders have a maximum limit of $1,000. If you need to send more than this, you’ll need to purchase additional money orders.

Can I stop payment on a money order?

Stopping payment on a money order is possible if it hasn’t been cashed yet, but it can be a complicated and sometimes costly process, depending on the issuer’s policies.

What if I lose a money order?

If you lose a money order, you may be able to cancel it and get a refund or replacement, but you’ll likely need to provide the receipt and pay a fee.


Money orders are a practical and secure payment method, especially for those who prefer not to use checks or do not have access to traditional banking services. They offer peace of mind through their prepaid nature, ensuring that your payment will not be rejected for insufficient funds. 

Whether you’re paying bills, sending money to loved ones, or conducting private transactions, understanding how to use money orders can simplify your financial dealings while keeping your information safe. By following the guidelines outlined in this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to utilize money orders effectively in your financial toolkit.

Remember, the key to successfully using money orders lies in understanding their benefits and limitations, ensuring you fill them out correctly, and keeping the receipt for your records. With this knowledge in hand, you’re ready to navigate the world of money orders with confidence.

StellarFi (StellarFinance, Inc.) and its affiliates do not provide financial, tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own financial, tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. StellarFi receives a referral fee from the partners mentioned in this article.