Almost always incurs a small fee to buy
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) carries its own brand and format of money orders, as do some banks and credit unions. Other sellers generally offer one of two brands: MoneyGram is sold at all Walmart and CVS stores, while Western Union is sold at 7-Eleven, some grocery chains, and check-cashing stores. Whichever type you purchase, the seller will imprint the date and the amount, and then give you the incomplete money order to finalize by hand.
It’s also best that you arrive knowing the proper name of the person or company you’ll make out the money order to, and your account number if you’re using it to pay a business. Though you can fill this out later, a blank money order that’s lost or stolen is as good as cash since anyone who finds it can write their name in.
Money orders are especially useful to people who don’t have a checking account or don’t accept checks. Even if you use checks, you might not want to share the personal information printed on them — such as your address and account number — with certain recipients. In addition, since money orders are prepaid and eliminate the risk of bouncing, they are widely accepted even by those who don’t trust personal checks.
One required field on any money order is an indication of the sender. On most money orders, it’s your signature that’s requested, just as you sign a check. But on USPS money orders, the blank is only labeled “From.” Whether you write or sign your name is up to you.
A money order is a paper payment that is more secure than sending or delivering cash because it names a specific recipient, who will have to endorse it and show identification to cash it.
Also bring a debit card or cash to pay for your money order, or be prepared to make a withdrawal from your account if you’re purchasing at a bank or credit union. Credit card companies generally charge large fees on money order purchases because they treat them like cash advances.
Money orders ask for your address so the recipient or seller can contact you if a problem occurs. If you’re comfortable sharing this information, it’s a good idea to include it. But if you prefer not to reveal any personal information to the recipient, there’s nothing to stop you from leaving this field blank, or even entering your email address or cell phone number instead.
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.
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
MoneyGram money orders is what you would get from a Wal-Mart or a CVS.
The instructions are a very confusing legalese. Let’s get it all sorted out.
This is a sample money order:
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.
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
Address: is a confusing line. Fill out with YOUR ADDRESS. More information below.
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).
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.