A money order offers a reliable alternative to cash, credit, or checks. You can use money orders to give as a gift, make purchases, and even pay bills. You can purchase a money order through banks, certain retail locations, and participating Western Union agent locations.
Accurately filling out a money order isn’t complicated, but it does require attention to detail. Need help filling out a money order for the first time? Learn how to fill out a money order correctly by following the step-by-step instructions below.
What do I need to fill out a money order?
A money order is similar to a check, in terms of the information you need. The biggest difference is money orders must be prepaid. Rather than pulling funds from your account when the receiver cashes your check, the money is withdrawn immediately when you purchase a money order. When filling out a money order, here is what you will need:
- Recipient’s name
- Your address
- Dollar amount being paid
- Cash or a debit card to pay for the money order
Some money transfer service providers may not require your reason for payment, but it’s a good idea to have the purpose of transfer handy just in case.
How to fill out a money order (step-by-step)
When the agent hands you the money order, it’ll look like this. Each important section will be clearly labeled so you know where to fill in the information. Here’s how to fill out your money order.
1. Write the payee name
Write the name of the person or business you are addressing the money order to in the “PAY TO THE ORDER OF” field first. Make sure the spelling and information are correct. You cannot make alterations once the money order is processed.
If the money order is filled out correctly, the receiver will be able to cash it immediately upon receipt. If the name is incorrect, delays will occur, potentially resulting in late payments. Be extra careful when filling any money order out, especially if it’s your first time paying the receiver.
2. Fill out your information in the purchaser fields
The purchaser is you. Whether it says “From,” “Sender,” “Remitter,” or “Purchaser,” this is where you enter your information. Western Union® money orders require your address and full name, but others may only have a field for your name. Use your full legal name and your current mailing address in this section.
3. Sign the front of the money order
Make sure to sign the front of the money order. Do not sign the back. The back is for the receiver when they cash the money order.
Some money orders leave room for a note or memo to specify the payment’s purpose. While this isn’t necessary to process the payment, it is helpful for your records. If you need to, make a brief note about why you’re making this payment. Otherwise, leave it blank.
After reviewing the fields for accuracy, you can send the money order to the receiver as you would a check. If you’re sending the money order by mail, consider purchasing tracking information so it doesn’t get lost in transit.
4. Keep the money order receipt
Your money order will have a detachable receipt to keep for your records. This is not only your proof of purchase, but it also provides transfer tracking information so you can confirm when the money is deposited by the recipient.
If you suspect that your money order is lost, misplaced, or stolen, report it to the provider. You won’t be able to do this without the receipt, so keep it in a safe place, at least until the money is deposited by the right person.
Where to get a money order
Money orders are not available online. Unlike electronic money transfers, money orders must be purchased in person. Find the closest Western Union agent location and one of our agents will be happy to process your money order and help fill it out properly.
How to purchase a money order
You can purchase with a money order with cash, traveler’s checks, or your debit card. In fact, one of the major benefits of using money orders over other money transfer options is you don’t need a bank account to purchase one.
Some issuers accept credit cards as payment, but it will likely be processed as a cash advance, which incurs fees and a higher interest rate. Consider waiting until you have all the necessary cash on hand before purchasing a money order to save yourself extra money.
Another thing to keep in mind is single money orders are generally limited to amounts less than $1,000. If you need to send more than $1,000, talk to the agent about your options, including electronic money transfers. Lastly, you can expect to pay a small processing fee on top of the amount you’re sending. Your agent will explain the cost when you arrive.
Learn more ways to send money with Western Union
If you need help with the money order process or need a refund, contact Western Union customer service.
Western Union gives you choices. In addition to money orders, you can transfer money the way that works best for you—online, with the app, in person, and more. You can learn how to fill out a money transfer on our website or contact us anytime if you need help with the steps to fill out a money transfer. For more information about using Western Union, view our frequently asked questions.