You’ll need to know the exact dollar amount you want. This amount will be machine-printed directly on the money order, and you won’t be able to alter it later. Also be forewarned that the largest money order you can buy is $1,000. So if you’re making a payment larger than that, be prepared to purchase multiple money orders.
Certified and cashier’s checks issued by financial institutions offer even more security than money orders. However, they carry much higher fees and require visiting a bank during banking hours. So if a money order works, it’s an easier and less expensive option.
USPS money orders offer additional space for the address of the recipient, meaning both your address and the recipient’s would appear. On MoneyGram and Western Union orders, only your address is requested. But note a common point of confusion on MoneyGram money orders: The blank simply says “Address”, with no clues on whose address to provide. The intended information is your address, as the sender.
Almost always incurs a small fee to buy
One optional field on most money orders can be quite useful. On Western Union money orders it is called “Payment for/Acct.#,” and on USPS money orders, it’s simply “Memo.” Here’s where you can write in an account number if your money order will pay a bill. Or you could simply use the space for an optional note to your recipient — just like the memo field on a check. (Curiously, MoneyGrams do not provide a designated memo space.)
Much cheaper and easier to purchase than cashier’s checks
If you’re paying a company with your money order, failing to include your account, order, or invoice number puts you at risk of the payment not being credited to your account.
Requires visiting a seller, whether a major retailer, grocer, convenience store, bank, credit union or post office
Money orders are about as simple to fill out as a personal check. Different outlets use different formats, but they all need the same basic information. Here’s a step-by-step guide on when you should use a money order, where you can get one, and how to fill it out properly.
Money orders are safe and easy to buy or cash at more than 200,000 U.S. banks, credit unions, post offices, retailers, grocers and convenience stores
Detach the stub as directed and keep for your records. You are done and can mail the money order as payment.
Pay to the order of: Name of person or name of business to whom your are sending the payment
Purchaser, Signer for drawer: Sign here yourself. For security, you can sign the money order as soon as you purchase it. In case you lose a blank money order (not filled anywhere), anyone can pick it up and fill it out in their name and to whomever they wish. So it is recommended that you fill out the “pay to the order of” and “purchaser” lines as soon as you purchase a large money order.
The instructions are a very confusing legalese. Let’s get it all sorted out.
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Several confusing terms:
Update: In response to Roseann’s comment, I have called MoneyGram myself. Company rep said to put name of person or business on the top line, your signature on the middle name, and YOUR address on the bottom line. Address (according to company rep) is not optional, and signifies the name and address of whoever bought the money order (you).
Address: is a confusing line. Fill out with YOUR ADDRESS. More information below.
This is a sample money order:
How to fill out a MoneyGram money order – language on the money order and instructions are very confusing. This information has been verified to be correct with a call to a MoneyGram representative.