For example, at most Walmart stores, you can cash a money order issued by MoneyGram for a maximum fee of $4 if the value is $1,000 or less or a maximum fee of $8 if the value is $1,001 to $5,000.
You’ll need to verify that you are authorized to cash the money order. A government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or military ID, is the best option.
Use your existing checking or savings account and transfer the money elsewhere if you have other uses for it. If you don’t have an account at a bank or credit union, you can use this money order for your initial account opening deposit. Having a bank account can potentially save you money and time over the long term.
You can also try to cash money orders at retail outlets like check-cashing stores, convenience stores, and grocery stores. In fact, some larger retail stores, especially grocery stores, have Western Union or MoneyGram services available at the customer service desk, so you might be able to cash your money order there for free. If not, a customer service representative can review your options with you.
If you don’t have a bank account or you can’t get to a branch, try visiting a location of the money order issuer. The issuer is the organization that prints and backs the money order. For example, you might visit a post office to cash U.S. Postal Service money orders or a Western Union office to cash a Western Union money order.
Expect to pay a fee when you cash a money order anywhere except your bank. You’ll typically have to pay several dollars in transaction fees or a percentage of the total proceeds. Those fees can add up, especially at check-cashing stores and convenience stores, which often have higher fees and typically don’t make it clear how much they charge.
If this is the first time you’ve received a money order, you may wonder what you have on your hands. A money order is similar to a check (in appearance as well as function), so you can treat money orders just like checks made out to you.
The steps below describe how to convert any money order to cash:
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) money orders, the entire amount must be available within one business day. For other money orders, the first $200 is often available immediately.
Learn how to cash money orders while minimizing fees. Retailers and banks can give you cash, or you can deposit to a bank account, just like a check.
Bring your money order to a location that will cash it, and expect to pay a fee for the service. SmartAsset reports that if you go directly to the place that issued your money order (again, that could be a place like Western Union, Moneygram, Walmart, or USPS) you might be able to minimize your fees.
“A money order is a method of sending a prepaid amount of money to somebody,” explains Chane Steiner, CEO of Crediful. “It is considered very secure and is an excellent way to send money quickly in situations where a personal check is not appropriate. In some instances, money orders are even preferred to cash in hand.”
The longer you hold on to the money order, there’s a chance it can be lost, damaged, or misplaced.
Don’t sign the money order in advance; add a signature to the back of the money order when you are at the counter. “Sign your money order only once you are handing it over to be cashed. Signing it beforehand can be risky if it is stolen,” says Steiner.
Count the money that you receive, and make sure to get and save your receipt.
Put the cash away securely before leaving the location, to keep it safe.
Note that you don’t have to cash a money order — you can also deposit it into a checking account, if you prefer.
This will include a picture ID: a driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued ID. You will need an ID to cash a money order.
You’ll also want to verify that the money order is legitimate. If you know the sender, this might not be a concern, but if you aren’t completely sure of the person sending it, you’ll want to confirm it is what it’s supposed to be.
A money order is a method of sending prepaid money that's more secure than a personal check or cash. When you get one, you'll want to cash it quickly.