Does the Post Office Sell Money Orders?

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May 30, 2023

Digital payment options that have emerged in recent years have made monetary transactions easier than ever. Still, there are times when electronic transfers are neither ideal nor viable for a given situation. In these cases, a money order can be a good option. 

A money order does not include private banking information, making it a safe form of payment to send through the mail. Several institutions across the United States sell money orders. Find out if the post office near you sells money orders. 

This article will give information about money orders you can buy from the post office. The discussion will cover how much a money order costs, including whether you can use your debit card to buy one. 

Find out how to fill out a money order form correctly. We will include information on how to track a money order, including details on how to cancel a money order when it has gone missing. 

We will give you the steps involved in getting a money order refund and requesting a refund of money orders. 

FindPostOffice.org can help you access various information about the post offices near you whether you are in California, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and other states. Read on to learn more about money orders sold at the post office. 

Does USPS Sell Money Orders?

The USPS (United States Postal Service) sells money orders. You can buy USPS money orders at any post office across the U.S. 

The agency serves 161.4 million addresses and manages 31,330 retail offices in the country. For an easy and accessible post office lookup, the site provides a “Find USPS Locations” to help you with your search.

Money Order Fee: How Much Does USPS Charge for Money Orders?

The USPS charge for money orders varies depending on a few factors:

  • The amount of the money order
  • Whether the money order is for domestic or international use
  • Whether the money order is being sent to an APO (Army Post Office), FPO (Fleet Post Office), or DPO (Diplomatic Post Office)  

How to Pay for a USPS Money Order

You can pay for a USPS money order using any of the methods below:

  • ATM or debit cards at locations where your PIN (personal identification number) must be entered on a keypad linked to a debit or credit terminal 
  • Established traveler’s checks payable in U.S. dollars if the money order purchase is for at least 50% of the value of the traveler’s checks 
  • U.S. coins and currency 

Note: Checks and credit cards are not accepted in buying money orders.  

You can use your credit card at Western Union to buy a money order. However, make sure to consider this option as your last resort.

Several credit card issuers consider money order purchases as cash advances. Cash advances have higher APRs (annual percentage rates) than regular purchases and incur fees and interest that start to accrue right after you make a transaction. 

Purchase Limits

As of August 12, 2022, the maximum amount is $1,000 for domestic money orders. Meanwhile, the maximum amount for international money orders varies by country, with $700 at most. 

You may also purchase multiple money orders during the same visit with no daily limit. 

If you buy more than $3,000 in money orders, you must complete a special form and provide an acceptable I.D. This rule applies to all money orders bought during the day, including military and domestic money orders.   

What Is the Biggest Amount You Can Get for a USPS Money Order

The largest amount is $1,000 for domestic money orders. USPS indicates that international money orders can be $700 at most. However, some countries, like El Salvador and Guyana, limit the amount to $500. 

How Can You Send Money Using USPS Money Order?

Sending a money order from USPS is easy. Follow this simple instruction:

  1. Visit a U.S. postal service branch to purchase your money order.
  2. Fill out the money order form.
  3. Pay for the money order. You can use cash, a debit card, or a traveler’s check.
  4. You can deliver the money order to the payee in person or mail it to an address where they can receive it. 

How Long Does a USPS Money Order Usually Take?

Money orders usually arrive to the recipient in a few days but may take longer during the weekends or holidays. So wait for at least 14 days before assuming an issue. 

Can You Cash a Money Order at USPS?

Visit your local post office to cash a money order. One important thing to remember is not to sign the money order before you bring it to any post office location. 

You must sign the money order at the counter before a retail associate. Bring a primary photo I.D. for verification purposes. 

Here are the acceptable primary forms of photo identification:

  1. U.S. government I.D.
  • Nondriver’s identification card 
  • State-issued driver’s license
  • Uniformed service I.D. card
  • U.S. armed forces card
  • U.S. permanent resident or other identification cards released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 
  • Federally or state-recognized tribal nation card
  • U.S. citizenship or naturalization certificate 
  1. U.S. or foreign passport
  2. NEXUS (Canada)
  3. Matricula Consular (Mexico)
  4. U.S. university identification
  5. Corporate Identification 

Where Can a Money Order Be Cashed?

You should cash a money order at the location where the sender purchased it. For example, if the sender bought the money order at a MoneyGram, they should go there and cash it. It can be a different physical location. 

You can cash post office money orders at these establishments:  

Grocery Stores and Big-Box Retailers

Several grocery stores, supermarkets, and large retailers like Walmart offer checks and money order cashing services that often come with fees. There may also be an upper dollar limit. In other words, these stores will not cash money orders or personal checks that exceed this limit. 

Always check with the store to verify whether such services are available. These establishments charge flat rates.

Convenience Stores and Gas Stations

You can also cash a check or money order at several convenience stores and gas stations, but you will probably pay a fee. These establishments may also charge a percentage of your money order. 

Banks and Credit Unions

Another option to cash money orders is to go to a bank or credit union. These financial institutions may charge you a modest fee. Also, check out your bank’s fund availability policy. According to Federal regulations, banks can hold deposited funds for a definite period.

Check Cashing Centers

If you do not own a personal bank account and cannot go to a retail store or a post office, another option is to go to a check cashing center. Note that these centers may charge between 2% and 10% of your money order amount or check. 

U.S. Postal Service

You can cash domestic money orders at any post office location in Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, and other cities in the U.S. Meanwhile, you can cash international money orders at postal facilities in countries that accept them. 

If you have questions about whether a financial institution will cash an international postal money order, you can go to the specific institution directly.   

Can You Get Your USPS Money Order Replaced?

You can replace USPS money orders if they are lost or stolen. However, USPS must first confirm that the theft or loss is legitimate. 

The confirmation process may take up to 30 days, while the investigation status may take up to 60 days. 

USPS also charges $13.90 to replace a lost or stolen money order. 

How Do You Cancel or Replace a Money Order

Contact the facility that issued a money order if you wish to cancel or replace it immediately. Make sure to bring your receipt and prepare to show it. 

You must fill out a cancelation form and pay a charge for a canceled money order. 

Requesting a Refund 

Here are the steps to refund your money order:

  1. Bring your money order receipt to any post office location.
  2. Ask a retail associate at the counter about a money order inquiry.
  3. See the status of your money order and inquiry progress through the money order application. 
  4. USPS will issue a replacement once the agency confirms that your money order is lost or stolen.  

How Long Are USPS Money Orders Good for?

USPS says that its domestic money orders neither expire nor accrue interest. Money orders are also cashed for the exact amount on order. 

What Is a Money Order?

The government or banking institutions issue money orders. A money order is a certificate that allows the payee to receive cash on demand. This certificate is readily accepted and converted to cash. 

Generally, individuals use money orders when they do not have access to a standard checking account. You can use money orders as a form of payment for small debts, personal or business. 

You can purchase money orders from most institutions, but they require a small processing fee. When you pay for a money order, you will also get a receipt that includes a serial number. Make sure to keep that information until you are sure that the money order has cleared. 

Tracing a money order can be difficult if you do not have a receipt. 

How Does a Money Order Work?

Since money orders are prepaid, they can function similarly to cash. These certificates are a safe form of payment that you can use as a substitute for a check or cash. Although money orders provide guaranteed funds, they are not tied to a bank account, unlike checks. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Money Orders

Personal checks include your routing and bank account number printed on the bottom. Someone can steal that information and use it to create and sign fraudulent checks.

So, in some situations, paying with a money order may be a safer alternative to a check. Money orders do not include a purchaser’s personal information. 

The recipient can also cash the order at a credit union or local bank. They do not need to go to the issuer to cash it. You can also deposit a money order into a bank account free of charge. This certificate can also be issued in one country and cashed in another. 

However, the downside is that money orders can be harder to track than a personal check. If you want to know whether your check has cleared, you only need to visit your bank or look at your online account about its status. 

Meanwhile, if you want to track a money order, you should fill out a tracking form and pay an additional fee to know whether your money order has been cashed. 

The whole process of tracking the status of your money order can take weeks. However, USPS offers an online money order inquiry service, allowing you to enter the money order number and get an update regarding its status. 

There can also be a delay in getting the funds if a money order is cashed at a bank other than the issuer. 

Money orders can also be fraudulent. So, do not accept such certificates from strangers. If you deposit a money order in the bank, do not spend it immediately. Wait for the bank to cash it. 

When You Should Use a Money Order

Money orders and cashier’s checks have similarities. However, money orders are more advisable to use if:

  • You are okay with paying a substantial fee that usually costs $5 for the service
  • You are making a payment of less than $1,000
  • You like a payment instrument that is easy to purchase and highly accessible
  • You like a payment instrument that will not bounce
  • You want a cheaper option to pay bills or conduct everyday transactions
  • You have to make a payment but do not have a personal bank account
  • The payee requires immediate access to the money 

Where to Purchase a Postal Money Order

You can purchase postal money orders at any post office location. For international money orders, check out the post office locator or call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777). 

You can also buy money orders from rural carriers and some contraction stations. However, you must first call the contract station to confirm availability. 

What Do Postal Money Orders Look Like?

Check out the following links to see what postal money orders look like:

Is a Postal Money Order Similar to a Money Order?

A postal money order is a payment instrument issued by a post office. 

Meanwhile, a money order is a payment item for a specified amount. It includes an express money order and a personal money order where the remitter is the purchaser. 

Domestic Money Orders and International Money Orders

You can use a domestic money order within the U.S. If you need to send money to someone or pay a bill, this money order can be a good option. You can also use domestic money orders to pay for your rent or small purchases. 

Make sure you have enough cash or money on your debit card. Remember that you cannot use a personal check or credit card to purchase a USPS money order. 

You may inquire about payment of a domestic money order by filling out and signing Form 6401 and paying the appropriate fee. Each money order requires a separate form and fee. 

Suppose a government agency that processes money orders with the Federal Reserve Bank, financial institutions like banks, or postal officials engaged in USPS business are the ones that filed P.S. Form 6401. In that case, a fee is not required. 

You may check your money order inquiry status or issue a money order through the “money orders application” at USPS.com.   

Meanwhile, you can go for an international money order if you need to send money to another country. You do not have to pay for a wire transfer. 

Ask the recipient if their country accepts money orders. If not, you need to consider another method of payment. 

Military Money Orders

You can purchase military money orders at an APO, FPO, or DPO facility. The fee for postal military money orders is $0.55. 

How Do You Fill Out a Post Office Money Order?

Filling out a money order is simple. The dollar amount and the date are automatically filled in, so you only need to add the rest of the information. 

The Information You Need to Fill Out a Money Order

Money orders are a type of prepaid check. So, there are pieces of information you need to include to make them valid. 

Regardless of where you buy your money order, you need to fill out these details correctly:

  • Payee’s name (the person you are sending the money order to)
  • Payee’s address
  • Purchase date 
  • The dollar amount
  • Your name and address
  • The reason for the payment 

The payee should sign the back of the money order. They should deposit it into their bank account or cash it like a regular check. 

What Will Happen if You Fill Out a Money Order Incorrectly?

If you commit an error while filling out a money order, it will be difficult to correct. For example, you misspelled a payee’s name. You should ask for a refund, which may take 30 days to process. 

Mistakes to Avoid

Completing a money order form should not be a complex process. If you know what information to put in, there should not be any problem. Still, avoid these common mistakes when filling out a money order:

  • Writing the wrong recipient address
  • Writing the wrong payee
  • Misspelling the recipient’s name 
  • Not incorporating an account number in the memo line
  • Signing the money order in the wrong place
  • Forgetting to sign the money order
  • Writing your name or address incorrectly
  • Losing track of your receipt
  • Leaving the recipient field blank 
  • Not comparing money order purchase fees before buying one
  • Not reviewing a money order issuer’s policies on replacing or canceling a lost or stolen money order

How Do You Verify a Postal Money Order?

Contact the money order verification system at 1-866-459-7822 to verify a postal money order.

Checking the Status of a Money Order Inquiry

Talk to a retail associate and begin a money order inquiry. You can check your inquiry status by visiting the Check Money Order Status page. Start your search by typing the serial number of your money order, the post office number, and the issued amount. Then click “view status.” 

How Do You Track a Money Order?

If you lost your money order or someone stole it, you can track it by going to the money order issuer. Tracking a money order varies depending on the issuer’s policy. 

For example, you got your money order from Western Union. If you have the receipt, you can use the request form on the back to track or replace the order. 

If you do not have the receipt, you must fill out and present Western Union’s money order research request form. Western Union charges a processing fee, and it can take eight weeks to process your request. 

You can submit the money order form in three ways:

  • Mail: Western Union Financial Services, Inc., P.O. Box 7030 Englewood, C.O. 80155-7030
  • Fax: 1-720-864-0477
  • Email: RMO@westernunion.com

How Can You Avoid Money Order Scams?

Money orders are susceptible to fraud. For this reason, money order designs now include several anti-counterfeiting features. To avoid scams, look for the multiple indicators that determine your money order’s legitimacy. 

You should also contact the issuer to verify whether the money order is authentic or counterfeit. 

Keep That Receipt

Keep your receipt in a safe place. Without the receipt, you may need to have your money order canceled. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Money orders are accessible. You can easily cash them.
  • Money orders are helpful for those who do not have checking accounts.
  • Always include an invoice or account number each time you pay a bill. You can be certain that the payment is credited correctly.
  • If you cancel your money order, a refund can take up to 30 days. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I purchase a money order with a debit card?

Yes. You can use your debit card to purchase a money order. 

  1. Can anyone cash a money order?

No. Only the payee (recipient) can cash a money order. They should present a valid identification card. 

  1. Does the post office sell money orders or cashier’s checks?

The post office sells money orders. Meanwhile, banks are the ones that issue a cashier’s check. 

  1. Can someone forge a post office money order?

Although postal money orders are reliable, scam artists can still counterfeit them. Hold the money order up to a light source and look for a Benjamin Franklin watermark on both sides to check their authenticity. 

  1. Is there a way to identify the specific post office facility where a money order has been purchased?

You can look at the original money order purchase receipt. It contains the serial number, post office number, and the issued amount. 

  1. How is a money order delivered?

You can mail the money order or hand-deliver it to the recipient. 

  1. Whose address do you include on a money order?

You must put the recipient’s address and your address. 

  1. Do you really have to sign a money order?

Yes. Your money order should include your signature. 

  1. Can a blank money order be cashed?

Yes. A blank money order can be cashed by anyone. A person who finds it can easily fill out the information. 

  1. Can someone send money overseas with a USPS money order?

Yes. You can send money overseas with a USPS money order. You can find the complete list of countries here

References

  1. Money Orders – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Money-Orders-The-Basics
  2. 370 International Money Transfer Services
    https://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immc3_018.htm?_gl=11580nxq_gaMTYwODc4MTcyOS4xNjMxODAyMzE3_ga_3NXP3C8S9V*MTYzMzM2MjU1Ny41MC4xLjE2MzMzNjYwNTkuMA
  3. Sending Money Orders
    https://www.usps.com/shop/money-orders.htm
  4. 608 Postal Information and Resources
    https://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/608.htm?_gl=11yufm2b_gaMTEwNzU0MzAyNS4xNjcwNjQwODUx_ga_3NXP3C8S9V*MTY3MDY3MzE1Mi43LjEuMTY3MDY3NjcxNi4wLjAuMA..#ep1485724
  5. How to Fill out a Money Order: Step by Step
    https://www.investopedia.com/how-to-fill-out-a-money-order-step-by-step-4589636
  6. What Is a Money Order, How Does It Work, and How Do I Get One?
    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/money-order.asp
  7. 509 Other Services
    https://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/509.htm?_gl=117eg6hp_gaMTEwNzU0MzAyNS4xNjcwNjQwODUx_ga_3NXP3C8S9V*MTY3MDg5NDA2Mi4xNS4xLjE2NzA4OTQ4NDAuMC4wLjA.#ep1124357
  8. Security Features of U.S. Postal Service Money Orders
    https://about.usps.com/notices/not299/not299_002.htm
  9. Money Orders: When, Where, and How
    https://www.investopedia.com/money-orders-can-be-a-simple-safe-and-cheap-way-to-transfer-money-here-s-how-to-avoid-the-pitfalls-4589635