Do you need to send money? Do you need to make a payment on a utility bill? Sending a check or cash in an envelope isn’t really safe. Money orders are a safer option that allows you to send money anywhere in the world.
How do Money Orders Work?
Money orders work similarly to prepaid checks. You have to pay the money upfront and fill out the order. A bank account isn’t required to get an order, which is a great alternative for those who don’t have a checking account. The great thing about this option is that you can send them in the mail since it doesn’t contain personal information.
Since the order is prepaid, it doesn’t bounce until it’s cashed or deposited. Money orders are available from banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. You can also purchase them from check-cashing companies, convenience stores, money transfer companies, supermarkets, and the U.S. Postal Service. Two of the most popular branches are MoneyGram and Western Union, which are located throughout the U.S.
Money orders can be purchased in amounts up to $1,000. While there isn’t a minimum, you’ll need to pay a fee for the order. The fee is for single money orders only. If your transaction is over the maximum amount, then you’ll have to purchase multiple orders and pay an individual fee.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Money Orders
You’ll notice that most money orders are an accessible, easy, and secure way to send and receive money. The reason why they’re so affordable is that they come with low fees and a low limit. Other pros are that the funds are guaranteed and they can be used internationally. However, money orders can be altered and counterfeited.
Where Can You Get Money Orders?
Money orders are widely available almost anywhere. You can purchase them at banks, check-cashing companies, credit unions, local retail stores, post offices, supermarkets, etc. You can also search for a MoneyGram or Western Union in your area. While it’s more convenient to purchase an order through your bank or retail store, the fees may be higher than you anticipated.
You can purchase your order using cash, check, credit card, or debit card, but some institutions may not accept all of these payment options. Other institutions may process your credit card payments as cash advances, which can add-on to the fees. Aside from payment, you’ll also need information about the recipient. If you’re using an order to pay a bill, then you’ll need the account number so the recipient can apply the money to the payment.
How to Receive Your Money
You can generally receive the money from the place that you purchased the order. You may receive money through electronic or mobile deposit, depending on the institution. If you’re ready to cash out or deposit your money order, sign the back as you do with a check. If you’re cashing it in person, then you’ll need some form of identification like your driver’s license or state identification card.
Alternatives to Money Orders
Money orders are an accessible and easy way of sending and receiving money. They’re also convenient for paying your bills on the go. But they’re not ideal for every type of situation. Before purchasing an order, you should consider your alternatives. Some common alternatives to money orders include cashier’s checks, personal checks, prepaid cards, and wire transfers. Money transfer apps are another desirable option since you can do it through your smartphone and the fees are low.
Money orders are a secure alternative to cash and personal checks if you’re sending money to family, friends, and loved ones. It’s ideal if you’re sending less than $1,000 or paying your bills. Just do your research and look for money orders that have affordable fees, especially if you’re using more than one.