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Personal Finance

How to Fill Out a Money Order

By June 22, 2022No Comments

Money orders are a great way to safely send money when you need to pay bills or purchase something that you cannot use a debit card for. There are a great number of advantages to using a money order and anyone can buy them as long as they have the money to do so.

If you no longer have a checking account or you are dealing with a company that no longer accepts personal checks, you can use a money order. Money orders are widely accepted and are safe because they have a tracking number in the event that you think it has been lost or stolen.

Filling out a money order is fairly simple and straightforward but can be intimidating to someone who has never had to do it before. Like any other financial product, you have to fill it out correctly or it may be difficult to cash for the person you are sending it to.

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Who is the purchaser on a money order?

When you are ready to fill out a money order, you may be confused by some of the lines. There will be a line that says “Purchaser’s signature” or “Purchaser for account” or something similar. This will be where you sign the money order because you are the purchaser.

Even if you are not the one that technically bought the money order if you are the account holder for whatever the money order is being used for yours should be the name that goes on the signature line.

Do money orders need to be signed?

For most money orders the short answer is no. You don’t have to sign a money order if you don’t want to. But, if you are using it to pay a bill, it is good to make sure that all of your information is there so that your account is giving the proper credit.

It is far more important that you address the money order to the right person or business. For example, if you are making a car payment you will use the name of the financing company as the person the money order is being sent to. This step is also very important because if the money order is lost or stolen and there is not a clearly named person or company, it can be cashed by anyone.

Who’s address goes on the front of a money order?

When filling out a money order make sure that you read the lines so you know what is being asked of you. On some, you will see “Purchaser’s address”. This is where you will put your own information. Depending on the money order, you can leave the address field blank. However, if you are making a payment on an account, it is okay to fill this part out.

What information do you need for a money order?

The most important information you will need when you purchase a money order will be the correct name of the person or business you are making it out to and your account number if this is a payment of any kind.

You can add the account number on the memo line or at the top of the money order if the space provided is not long enough.

Some types of money orders may ask for the recipient’s address although it is usually just the recipient’s name, payee’s address, account number, and then signature.

Can you put two names on a money order?

That depends on whether you mean two names for the recipient or person who is going to receive the money or two names for the payee, or the person who is sending the money. In the case of the recipient, you will want to use a single name or business name only so that it does not go to the wrong payee and so that there are no issues when it comes time to cash it.

For example, you are making your car payment (again). The name that you are going to address the money order to is Generic Motor Credit. Unless you have been asked to direct your payment to a specific person in the accounts receivable department, that should be enough.

As for two names on the signature line, if the account is held by two people you should both be able to sign the money order. It is not necessary to do this, though.

Do money orders expire?

One of the great things about a money order is that they do not expire. In most cases, you can get the full cash amount even if a money order is a few years old. But, depending on where the money order was issued or where you are cashing it, there may be a small fee after a certain period of time resulting in you getting less than the face value of an older money order.

USPS money orders never expire and there is never a fee to cash them even after several years. Western Union money orders do not expire but there is a fee of $2 per month after one year of the date it was issued. Other brands may also charge this monthly fee for their money orders as well.

Who signs the purchase line on a money order?

The person who purchased the money order is usually the person who signs it but if you bought it for another person to use as payment of some type, they should be the one to fill out and sign it.

Any money order that is being used to pay a bill or make a monthly payment should include the full account number and the name of the person who opened the account.

What are some alternatives to a money order if I don’t have a bank account?

Did you know that you do not need a bank account to purchase a money order? In fact, they are far cheaper if you buy them in other places as many banks charge higher fees. Here are some places where you can buy a money order, no bank account needed:

  • Western Union locations
  • Cashier’s check (issued by credit unions, banks, or other financial institution)
  • At a USPS (US Postal Service) store or your local post office
  • Grocery stores
  • A credit union
  • Convenience stores
  • Big box stores and other retail locations

There will still be a fee but it does tend to be a lot lower than at banks or other financial institutions. There will also be a limit of up to $1000 per money order. This limit may be lower, depending on the location.

If you have a grocery store loyalty card, you can purchase money orders and other financial products, pay bills, or send and receive cash at a lower price.

If you want to use something other than a money order but you do not want to go through your bank or you do not have a current bank account, you do have a number of alternatives. These include:

  • Paypal.
  • Zelle.
  • Venmo.
  • Cashapp.
  • Traveler’s check.

If you are making large purchases and the amount is going to be more than what is allowed per money order, it might be easier and less expensive to use cashier’s checks. You may need to have a bank account to purchase them but they are a secure way to pay for larger purchases because they are made out directly to the person or business that you are paying.

Final Thoughts on Money Orders

Money orders are convenient and easy to use. Once you have learned the basics it is easy to fill out a money order correctly. The small fee that is charged is nothing compared to the security you have to send money nearly anywhere in the world with just a current mailing address needed to get it to the right person.

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