How to Cash a Money Order and Where to Do It

Nicolas Cesare
Close up of a man’s hands counting $100 bills neatly into three stacks.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

A money order is just a slip of paper until you cash or deposit it. If someone has paid you via money order, you’ll need to learn how and where to cash it in order to get your money.

How to Cash a Money Order

Here is what you need to do if you want to cash or deposit a money order:

  1. Bring the money order to a location where you can cash or deposit it. We’ll talk more about these locations below.
  2. Sign your name on the back of the money order to endorse it, just as you would if you were cashing a check. However, make sure that you’re signing in the presence of a cashier or qualified employee at the location where you’re cashing your money order.
  3. Bring proof of identity. You will be asked to show a legally valid form of identity to cash your money order, since the money order should be made out to you specifically. This can include any government-issued form of ID that has a recent picture of you on it, such as your passport, your driver’s license, or a military ID card.
  4. Be prepared to pay any service fees. In many cases, the location where you cash your money order will charge fees for their services. These will be taken out of the total sum that you receive from your money order, so be prepared for that. If you have the option, it may be beneficial to shop around for places where you can cash or deposit your money order with minimal fees.
  5. Receive your cash and secure it before leaving. Once you leave the counter, the cash that you’ve received from your money order is your responsibility now. If you’re cashing a large money order and you’re worried about losing the money or it being stolen, it might be a good idea to deposit the money order into a bank account instead.
  6. Optionally, you can notify the sender that the money order was successfully cashed. This can be helpful for their books so they know that the money has been transferred. It can also head off potential security issues, such as claims of a lost money order.

How to Deposit a Money Order

The process for depositing a money order is similar to the process outlined above. However, you’ll want to make sure that you’re choosing a credit union or a bank where you either have an existing account set up or can create one quickly. You will still need to sign your name, prove your identity, pay any attached fees, and confirm that the money has entered your account before leaving.

Where Can I Cash a Money Order?

There are many different places where you can cash a money order. Different locations may have different fee structures, so it’s worth shopping around for the lowest fees if you have the time. In addition, be aware that only some institutions will allow you to deposit a money order into an account that you have with that institution.

  • Bank or Credit Union: If you have an account with a local bank or credit union, then you may be able to deposit your money order there for free. However, the funds may take time to transfer and process, so they may not be available to you immediately.
  • Check Cashing Stores: Check cashing stores primarily offer check cashing services, where you can bring them a check made out to you and receive cash in return. However, many locations will also cash money orders. Be prepared to pay any fees that the check cashing store requires, however.
  • Other Stores: Convenience, department, and grocery stores will sometimes offer money order cashing as a service. However, be prepared to pay service fees for cashing your money order.
  • Post Office: USPS post offices also cash money orders. This can be ideal if you’ve received a money order in the mail and you want to cash it right away.
  • Money Transfer Stores: Stores like Western Union and MoneyGram issue money orders, but you can also go to one of their locations to cash a money order that you’ve received.
  • Money Order Issuer: Whatever institution that your money order originated from will also be able to cash it, if you can take it to one of their locations.

Ultimately, your decision about where to take your money order should be made on the basis of fees, convenience, and whether you plan to cash or deposit it. Find a location that’s convenient for you, cashes money orders for free or at a reasonable cost, and can provide you with the money order services that you’re looking for.

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