A check, debit card or credit card payment, on the other hand, can easily be traced and proven using a statement. Not all banks in the United States can trace their money orders. If this is a feature you require, ask before purchasing.
Check the receipt for your money order for tracking instructions. Most money orders come with a receipt outlining the details of the purchase.
Go to the website of the bank from which you purchased the money order and search for any forms required for tracking. Download, print, and complete the paperwork to save time at the bank.
Visit the bank branch and ask them to trace the money order. Be prepared to supply the money order’s tracking number and your receipt. The bank may charge a fee to track or replace a money order.
A money order is similar to a check, in that it’s essentially a document used for making payments (although there are some key differences).
The biggest difference between a check a money order is that money orders are prepaid.
While you probably have blank checks in a drawer somewhere (or in your wallet, if you’re old school like that), a money order will only be issued after you’ve handed over actual funds.
The buyer will need to pay both for the cost of producing the money order (the fee charged), as well as its issued amount. That can be done in cash, by debit card, traveler’s checks, or by using another form of guaranteed funds.
Here is the reason why you would want to use money orders if you haven’t used it before:
- Privacy. Imagine you’re paying a person or company you don’t entirely trust and don’t want to share your personal information. How would you make sure the payment reaches them without you sharing any personal info? While checks will include that kind of information, money orders don’t – so your privacy is protected.
- Guaranteed Funds. Since money orders are prepaid, you won’t have to worry about bouncing a check – sufficient funds are guaranteed.
- Theft Protection. Money orders are also an excellent and safe way to send money to your friends or family. It is even safe to mail a money order! Since you will be specifying the name of the recipient on the money orders, it would be nearly impossible to steal your money.
- Safety. Finally, what if you don’t have a checking account yet but want to pay for a larger purchase? Carrying a suitcase stuffed with cash isn’t a smart idea. Using a money order, on the other hand, is.
How to Use a Money Order?
When purchasing money orders, you pay the full amount upfront plus a small fee.
After verifying that the amount is correct, you’ll need to fill in your name and contact information on the front of the money order, plus the name of the recipient and their contact information.
A memo line allows you to specify what the money order is for. You then sign the front as if it were a personal check. Be sure to keep your receipt in case you need proof of payment or want to track when the order is received.
For example, let’s say you owe $800 in rent on the 1st of the month and you don’t have a checking account. You would head to a store that sells money orders, purchase one for $800, then give it to your landlord to use as payment for your rent.
Then, your landlord would be able to deposit the money in his bank account just as if you had paid in cash or with a personal check.
Money orders are useful any time you don’t want (or aren’t allowed) to use a check or cash to make a payment. Here are a few situations where you might use a money order:
Best Places to Get a Money Order: Fee Comparison
|Bank of America||$5||$1,000
Not available in Arizona, California, Nevada.
|BMO Harris Bank||$5||$1000|
|Capital One||Does not issue money orders|
|SunTrust||$5 for customers
$10 for non-customers
|BMO Harris Bank||$5||$1000|
Since many financial institutions do not list an amount for money order fees, the best way to determine how much your local bank charges is to find a nearby branch.
Most banks charge $5, $10, or 10 percent of the total amount on the money order. The local (Los Angeles) Wells Fargo, Chase, and U.S. Bank charge a flat rate of $5 and only offer domestic money orders.
Money orders are waived by some banks if you have a special account. For instance, Wells Fargo waives money orders if you have a preferred checking or Wells Fargo At Work Checking Account.
Chase will waive the fee if you have a premiere or private account with the bank. U.S. Bank waives the fee for those that have a platinum checking account.
Tip: If you have a higher-tiered checking account, check to see if your bank offers free money orders.
- How Do Money Orders Work: What You Should Know
- Chime Bank 2021 Review: Pros and Cons of Banking with Chime
Western Union Money Order Fees
Just like with banks, Western Union does not provide a set amount for a money order. A representative explained the rate varies by location. However, in general, these fees could range anywhere from 50 cents to $1.50 and more.
International money orders are available, but it is suggested to verify with the financial institution where the funds will be deposited, in order to ensure the transaction can be completed.
As an example, three local Los Angeles Western Unions were contacted by MyBankTracker. Here are the fees:
- Location A: 55-cent fee for money orders between a penny and $500, and $1 fee for money orders between $500.01-$1,000
- ” B: 80-cent fee for money orders between a penny and $500, and $1 fee for money orders between $500.01-$1,000
- ” C: 75-cent fee for money orders between a penny and $299.99, and $1 fee for money orders between $300-$1,000
You don’t need an account to get a money order from Western Union.
Western Union also allows customers to deposit money orders to withdraw cash. Most banks require that you have an account with them to get money orders.
An additional upside is that Western Unions in your area are usually open every day, including weekends, whereas most banks and the post office are closed on Sundays.
The fee associated with cashing money orders from Western Union ranges between 1 percent to 3 percent, depending on the amount.
A representative informed me to go into a local branch to find out how much will be taken out. This is because the rates fluctuate so much from location to location.