Get the Basic Facts Before You Use a Money Order
Many businesses do not accept cash or personal checks, but will take a money order. This is similar to a certified check in that it is made out for a specified amount that is already prepaid, which means that it cannot bounce. This type of payment is especially nice for those who do not have bank accounts, as they are considered a safe alternative to cash. Note that not every business accepts money orders, which is why many people havenot started using them instead of cash or cards the majority of the time. However, you may be asked to submit a money order for payment at some point, so youshould know the basics.
You can typically get this kind of payment from a grocery store, convenience store, post office, or bank. Most stores charge a fee of a few dollars before allowing you to purchase one, but some banks offer them to their customers for free. Thus, try going to your bank first when you know you need one. Also, keep in mind that there is usually a maximum amount that you can get in money orders, so you might have to buy more than one when paying a large bill.
You are often able to pay for this item with cash, check, credit, or debit card, so this should not be a problem for most people. Once you know the exact amount of money that you need for the money order, tell the cashier, who will also add in any fees before you pay. Once you have it, you should fill it out, which requires knowing who the payee is, the exact total, and your account number if you are paying a bill. You will need to sign the front of the money order for it to considered valid, leaving the back part blank for the payee to sign when they are ready to cash it.
One of the most important details to remember about a money order is that you need to keep the receipt. Otherwise, if it gets lost, it is treated like cash, meaning that it could be gone for good. However, if you have the detachable receipt that comes with it, the unique numbers can be used to track the lost money order. This may allow you to locate it if it has been cashed, or get it replaced if it has not been cashed. Note that money orders do not expire.
If you are given a money order for payment, all you have to do is find a place that will cash it, such as a bank or check cashing shop. You may have to pay a fee at some locations, but you will typically be able to find a place that does not charge. Once you sign the back of the form, you will be all set, making the transaction quite quick and painless.