How to Fill Out a Money Order

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • Money order is a secure alternative to personal or cash checks.
  • Requires specifying recipient’s name and both signatures for validity.
  • Commonly used for international transfers, official payments, and situations requiring proof of payment.
  • Required information includes payee name, address, payment amount, sender’s name and address, and a memo noting the purpose.

Money orders represent a convenient option when you have a payment to make. In most cases, the process is quite straightforward – but since it deals with money, you must get it right on the first go. Western Union calls it a “prepaid check” – one that ensures the money won’t get anywhere else than the recipient.

There are certain steps that you might want to follow when you are filling your money order. Remember, when you purchase the order, you only get one – so, if you mess it up, you need to buy another one. This guide should help teach you how to fill out a money order without any issues.

What Is a Money Order?

A money order is a document that is a safer alternative to personal or cash checks. On that money order, you will specify the name of the person that will receive the money, and both signatures must be present for it to be valid. This means that if the money order gets lost or stolen, nobody else will be able to cash in the money.

What Are Money Orders Used For?

Money orders are used when you do not want to send money through a credit card, bank check, or cash. Usually, money orders are used when you want to send money to a different country – when you are sending money to Mexico, for example.

You may also use it to make payments to official authorities – for example, when you have visa taxes to pay. Money orders are the official way of sending money to the higher-us, particularly when you are dealing with exact fees. If you are an international student with no proof of income, a money order may also be a good way to pay off the rent.

What Do You Need to Fill Out a Money Order?

The requirements for filling out a money order will vary from institution to institution – for example, if you are using the U.S. Postal Service or Western Union. The paper’s appearance may vary slightly, depending on who you are using. That being said, there are certain pieces of information that are required, including:

  • Payee name (i.e. the name of the person who is going to receive the money)
  • The address of the payee
  • The amount that you want to pay
  • Your name, as well as your address
  • What you are making the payment for and/or the number of the billing account

Bear in mind that you will also require some sort of payment to buy the money order (check, cash, credit, or debit card). Depending on the issuer, you may have limited payment options, which is why you might want to do your research.

Steps to Fill Out a Money Order

Once you have purchased the money order, you may proceed to fill it. Do it carefully – otherwise, the person supposed to cash in the money will not be able to do it. Here are the steps that you will want to follow:

Fill in the Recipient’s Name

Depending on the institution that you are working with, there will be one of two fields: “pay to the order of,” or “pay to.” The name that you add here could be either a business or a person’s name. Make sure that the name of the person is spelled correctly and that you’ve written it in ink, legibly.

Ideally, you may want to fill in the money order from the moment you purchase it. If you end up losing it, the one who finds it can write their name in there – and from that point on, you can kiss that money goodbye. This is why you might want to write in the name as soon as possible. This way, you will be certain that the money goes exactly where it is supposed to.

If you have the option, you should also fill out your name in the sections “sender,” “purchaser,” or “from.”

Include Your Address in the Purchaser Section

The money order will also have a field where you will have to add your address. Depending on the money order that you are using, you may or may not have to write the address of the person or business/institution that is supposed to cash in the money.

Write the Account or Order Number in the Memo Field

In the memo field, you may make a note on what the money’s for. As an example, you may say that it’s for paying off a specific debt or a certain item. If you have the payee’s account or order number, this is where it will go. Depending on the money order format, it may be labeled as “account number” or “payment for.”

Sign Your Name in the “Purchaser’s Signature” Section

Everything is nice and in order, so the only thing that is left for you to do now is to sign the money order. Depending on the money order format, this field may be called “Purchaser’s signature,” “From,” “Purchaser,” “Drawer,” or “Signer.” Don’t sign the back of the money order, because this is where the person receiving the money order is supposed to put their signature.

Make Sure to Keep Your Receipt

The receipt will have a tracking number, which is why you need to keep it. This way, you will be able to know if the money order was cashed in by the right person. In case it gets stolen or lost, the tracking number may be used to get a replacement. Should the need for the payment change, you may also use that tracking number to cancel the payment.

How to Purchase a Money Order in the U.S.

You may purchase the money order from a variety of places, including credit unions, banks, check-cashing institutions, the United States postal service, and certain big-box stores. In most cases, you can use your debit card or cash to purchase a money order.

You may also use credit cards for money orders, but the general advice is to steer clear of this option. This is because credit card companies will consider this a cash advance. As we know, cash advances also come with steep fees, and you may end up having to pay very high interest rates for a simple money order. Plus, depending on the issuer, credit card payments may not be accepted.

There may also be a limit on exactly how much money you are allowed to purchase in a money order. If you send it with the U.S. postal service, for instance, you may only be allowed to borrow up to $1,000 – and that’s only if you are sending it within the United States.

Moreover, aside from the cost of the money order itself, you may also have to pay a certain fee. Most of the time, this fee is something between $1 and $10, depending on the sum that you wish to send.

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Final Thoughts

Money orders can be very useful when it comes to sending and receiving money. They are accepted throughout the entire world, they do not have an expiration date, and you may have them replaced in case they get lost or stolen. Plus, since they have already been paid for, it’s not likely that they’ll get bounced. You just need to learn how to fill out a money order so that you don’t encounter any issues.

Filling Out a Money Order FAQs

Do you have to fill out anything on a money order?
At a minimum, on a money order, you’ll have to fill out the payee name, the address of the payee, the amount you want to pay, your name and address, and what you are making the payment for/the number of the billing account.

How do you fill out a money order properly?

To fill out a money order properly, make sure to fill out all of the required information accurately and sign it.

What address do you put on the money order?

If you’re the one sending the money, you need to put your address in the purchaser section. You may also be required to put the address of who you’re sending the money to depending on the money order.

Who is the purchaser on a money order?

The purchaser on the money order is you (the person who is paying for it).

Does a money order have to be signed by the purchaser?

Technically, the purchaser’s signature isn’t required for a money order since it has already been paid for. Some money orders may have a section for it, however.

What do you put on a memo on a money order?

In the memo section of a money order, write what the payment is for and/or your account number that you’re making a payment on.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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