Filling out a money order and sending it to a vendor is a practical and easy way to pay  without using cash or cheques. This is perfect for large purchases, such as a car. It is also safer than carrying cash, as the money order can be tracked and there is no questions about whether it was endorsed. The U.S Postal service offers one of the most popular money order services in the States, alongside other well known money transfer services such as Moneygram or Western Union.

Filling out a money order with USPS is similar to writing a check, but there are a few differences regarding the information you need to fill in. Also, unlike a check you pay for a money order in advance, not when the person receiving it cashes it. This means they are accepted more often than checks, as they can’t bounce back due to lack of funds. Also, unlike a cheque money orders are for a fixed amount that needs to be pre-filled before it is purchased. USPS electronically fills that dollar amount before you pay for it, and so you can’t change it afterwards.

Before you start writing keep in mind that you need to make it easy to read, so always use capital letters and make a point to write clearly. This will avoid questions later! Do not sign the back of the order, that space is reserved for the person endorsing the money order, the recipient of the payment.

USPS money order

This is how a USPS money order looks like

Filling Out A Money Order Field By Field

Pay to: You will need to print out the recipient’s full name. If it’s a business then use the business official name.

Address: Write down the recipient’s address. The space available is quite small, so try to use a smaller font when writing, but always use capital letters to make it less likely that your USPS money order ends up misplaced.

Memo: This section is for notes, such as the reason for payment or your surname. This way the recipient will know where to allocate the money order. If you are using a money order to pay for a purchase you’ll probably want your order reference number here.

From: Your own name, so the recipient knows who is sending the payment.

Address: Often used when you are paying a business or creditor, as this way it’s easier to allocate payment. Write your own address here, using capital letters.

Don’t Forget The Receipt

The receipt proves that you paid the money and sent it. So it’s important to fill it when you purchase a money order. Use the space available to note the details of who did you pay and why, for your own records. If a dispute happens, you can trace the status of the money order through the serial number on the receipt.

In this day and age money orders may seem old-fashioned, particularly with the same-day payment facilities many checking accounts offer online. However, there are still many valid reasons to use them. Sometimes people prefer to pay a bill using a money order, particularly if they don’t have a checking account or want to avoid sharing their payment details with a third party. Unlike a check, they are mostly universally accepted as a guaranteed payment. The reason is that they can’t bounce since you pay that money when filling a money order.

Filling out a money order is easy and quick. Also, you can purchase domestic ones inexpensively from your local USPS office.  You can also purchase International USPS money orders but the prices are different. They can be a good alternative if you want to pay for services or products abroad. You will only need to know the amount you need to pay in advance. Money orders can be traced and only the recipient can cash them. This makes them a safer way to transfer money than other more anonymous methods.

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