How to Send or Receive a Wells Fargo Money Order

FT Contributor
An image of the Wells Fargo sign outside of its bank branch.

Money orders are a safe way to send cash. They work like checks, but you don’t reveal your account number. Because they must be purchased with cash, recipients don’t need to wait for money orders to clear after being deposited. This is useful for some purchases, such as used cars or security deposits, when cash or checks aren’t accepted, or when you need to send money through the mail.

If you are a customer of Wells Fargo, you can purchase money orders from the bank.

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How to Send a Wells Fargo Money Order

Only Wells Fargo banking customers can purchase money orders from the bank. Payments may be made in cash, or withdrawn directly from a Wells Fargo account. Money orders can only be purchased in amounts up to $1,000.

Filling Out a Wells Fargo Money Order

To purchase a money order at a Wells Fargo branch, complete the following steps:

  • Request a money order in a specific amount from the teller, and pay in full from your account or in cash.
  • Print the name of the recipient (individual or business) on the “Pay to the Order Of” line.
  • Fill in your name, address, and account/purchase order number (if necessary) on the memo line.
  • Sign on the signature line.
  • Fill in the name and address of the recipient, as well as the purpose of the money order, on the receipt stub. Keep the stub as a receipt for the money order.

Cashing in a Wells Fargo Money Order

If you receive a Wells Fargo money order, you may cash it at your bank or deposit it as you would a check. Some businesses, like grocery stores or retail stores, will also cash money orders, but may charge a fee to do so.

If you receive a money order, wait until you are ready to cash it before signing the back. This way, if it falls into the wrong hands, it can’t be cashed by someone else. Expect to show identification (such as a driver’s license) to receive the cash. If you’re depositing the money into a checking or savings account, the bank may only make up to $200 immediately available, with the remainder available once the money order clears.

Waiting for the money order to clear is very important, especially if you don’t know the person who sent it to you, such as someone who purchased something from you online. If the bank determines that the money order is fraudulent, they will take back the money from you. If you already spent the money, you could become overdrawn and face additional fees.

Wells Fargo Money Order Fees

Wells Fargo customers are charged $5 for each money order purchased. There is no charge for cashing a money order or depositing one into your existing account.

Although buying a money order at the bank may be convenient, other options are less expensive. For instance, the U.S. Postal Service issues money orders with a maximum fee of $1.75 for orders between $500 and $1,000.

How to Avoid Money Order Scams

Money orders offer a level of extra security, but they are also commonly used in fraud. For example, if you are selling an item, a scammer may try to pay with a money order that’s been issued for much more than the purchase price, offering to let you keep some of the overage once it’s cashed. These money orders are almost always fake. Scammers may also insist on paying with money orders when other electronic methods of payment are available, or might send you unsolicited offers for money orders.

To protect yourself — and your bank account — from these illegal activities, use caution when sending or depositing fraudulent money orders. Be alert to scams, and take these steps to ensure you have received a real money order:

  • Call the issuer to confirm funds availability;
  • Avoid spending the cash from a money order until it has completely cleared, which may take a few weeks;
  • Learn the security features on the issuer’s money orders. Different issuers include a variety of security features, such as watermarks, to indicate a valid money order. If you have questions, contact the issuing bank for clarification.

If you receive a questionable money order through the mail, contact the U.S. Postal Inspectors to alert them. If you have been the victim of a fraudulent money order, contact local law enforcement.

Replacement Money Orders

If a money order is lost or stolen, you may be able to cancel and replace it — but only if it has not yet been cashed. Unfortunately, once the money order is cashed, it cannot be canceled.

As soon as you determine that the document has been lost, visit a local Wells Fargo branch in person with the money order receipt. You’ll need to fill out a form to request the cancellation, and pay the cancellation fee. It may take several weeks for the cancellation to go through, at which point the money order can be reissued or you’ll receive a refund.

If the money order was cashed by someone other than the intended recipient, you may be able to get a copy of the canceled document from the location where it was cashed. With this, and your receipt from Wells Fargo showing the true intended recipient, you can make a report to local law enforcement. It’s possible that with some investigation, you may receive your money back.

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