Money orders are used in place of cash to make payments. Since money orders are prepaid, the payee is guaranteed to receive the full amount, rather than risking a bounced check or bad credit card number. To cash a money order, all you have to do is find the right place to either deposit it or exchange it for bills. Read on to find out everything you need to know to cash a money order.
Method 1. Choose Where To Cash The Money Order
1. Determine where the money order is from. Money orders may be issued by the United States Postal Service (USPS), banks, grocery stores, convenience stores, credit unions and cash advance stores.
A money order's place of origin is usually indicated with a logo or stamp in one of the corners of the paper. Look for the USPS logo, a bank logo, or the name of another institution.
If it's unclear where the money order came from, ask the person who gave it to you where he or she got it.
If you can't figure out where the money order came from, that's OK. You won't be able to take it to the post office, but you can take it to your bank or another institution that cashes money orders.
2. Find a place to cash it. Money orders can typically be cashed at the same locations where they were purchased. If you have a bank account, you may also choose to cash it there. These practices are followed internationally.
Go to your bank. A bank in which you have a checking or savings account will cash a money order. Some banks will require you to have enough funds to cover the amount of the money order. You can also deposit a money order into your bank account.
Go to the post office. The post office will cash money orders that were purchased from a post office. Larger post offices have more funds to cash larger money orders, so if your money order is for a huge amount, choose the bigger branch in your area.
Go to a grocery or convenience store. Most grocery and convenience stores that sell money orders will also cash money orders. Their fees are usually low, and sometimes they cash checks for free.
Go to the credit union that guaranteed the funds. For example, if the money order is from the L&N Federal Credit Union, any L&N Federal Credit Union branch will cash the money order in full.
Go to a check cashing store. Use this as a last resort, since check cashing stores usually charge higher fees than grocery or convenience stores.
If you have a money order from a foreign country, you may have to have it cashed in that country and then wired to you. Banks usually charge steep fees for this service, so if possible, make sure money orders are made out to you in the currency of the country in which you plan to cash it.
Method 2. Cash The Money Order
1. Bring identification. Since the money order has been made payable to a specific payee, you will need proof that you are the payee. Bring your driver's license, passport, or another identity card to prove you are who you say you are.
2. Present the money order. Walk up to the teller, post office worker or cashier and tell him or her that you have a money order to cash. He or she may ask to see your money order and your ID.
Before you hand over the money order, ask the person helping you what the fee will be. Even though you've already done research, it's important to make sure you're on the same page with the institution's representative so no miscommunications occur.
Don't be afraid to turn around if you aren't comfortable cashing your money order with a certain institution. If the person helping you quotes a fee that's higher than what you had anticipated paying, try a different bank, grocery store, or convenience store.
3. Receive your cash. After the person helping you processes your money order, you will receive the amount of the money order in cash. You can usually request to receive bills of a certain size. Count the money to make sure it's all there before leaving the institution.
You might want to ask for a receipt, just in case you miscounted the money and later realized the place still owes you cash.
If you deposited the money order at your bank, you can ask for part of the money order to be given to you in cash.
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