Anyone can use a money order to send or receive money. While money orders aren’t the most common tool, they’re usually simple to obtain and cash. To cash a money order at no charge, visit your local post office branch and present your money order at the window.
In this article, we outline where to cash postal money orders and what the process looks like.
What Is a Postal Money Order?
A postal money order is a type of financial certificate issued on paper by the post office. Similar to a paper check, the document is worth the amount of money determined by the person or company that purchased it. While you can obtain a regular money order from almost any bank, only the United States Postal Service (USPS) issues postal money orders.
Unlike a check, a postal money order is prepaid by the party sending it, so it can’t bounce. Money orders also never expire. A receipt is provided to the purchaser in case the money order is lost, stolen, or damaged. As a result, you can use a postal money order to securely send a payment through the mail.
Another advantage of money orders is that they are difficult to counterfeit. You can make a payment of up to $1,000 with a single order.
To send a money order, you must pay for it ahead of time using cash, a debit card, or traveler’s check. Although it is possible to buy a regular money order with a credit card, you cannot put postal money orders on a credit card.
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How to Cash a Postal Money Order Step by Step
If you receive a postal money order, you can redeem its face value by cashing it. There is no advantage in keeping a postal money order for a long time, since it doesn’t earn interest and cannot be used directly to make a purchase.
Here’s how to cash a money order at the post office for free:
1. Bring the money order and a photo ID to a post office service counter.
2. Sign the money order in view of the postal worker. (Do not sign it ahead of time.)
3. You will immediately receive the cash value of the money order.
Where to Cash a Postal Money Order
You can cash a postal money order in certain places outside the post office. Many banks will cash postal money orders, as long as you have an account there. Some grocery stores and retailers will cash money orders, too.
Because proof of ID is required, you can not deposit money orders via a mobile banking app.
List of Places That Cash Money Orders
Here are some locations that may cash a postal money order:
• Most banks. Check with your local branch.
• Check-cashing retailer. Consumers without a bank account or nearby post office may cash money orders here for a fee.
• International postal office. The post office offers special international money orders that can be cashed at banks and post offices in some other countries.
• Rural mail carrier. Some mail carriers may cash money orders for rural customers if they have enough cash on hand.
• Some supermarkets and major retailers. Search online for “places to cash a money order near me.”
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How to Identify a Fake Postal Money Order
You’ll want to examine your money order before attempting to deposit it, to ensure it’s authentic. Here are a few ways to spot a fraudulent postal money order:
• Look closely at the paper. Valid postal money orders have special markings and designs to prevent fraud. Visit USPS.com to view a sample money order.
• Review sum amount. If the dollar amount is faded, too large, or not printed twice on the paper, it could be fraudulent. All postal money orders must be under $1,000 and have the sum printed twice on the paper. International postal money orders cannot exceed $700, or $500 for El Salvador and Guyana.
If you think your postal money order is fake, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455.
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Cashing a USPS money order is a straightforward process. Your local post office can cash a postal money order at no cost to you. You may also be able to cash a postal money order at a bank branch if you have an account there, or at your local supermarket.
Can you mobile deposit a USPS money order?
Unfortunately, you cannot use mobile deposit for USPS money orders. Instead, you must deposit it in person with a valid ID.
Where can I cash a money order for free?
You can cash a postal money order for free at your local post office. You may also be able to cash it at your local bank branch.
Can you cash a money order online?
Since you need proof of ID to deposit a postal money order, you usually can’t deposit it online.
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