Most money orders are sold by the United States Postal Service, Western Union and banks. A money order is a safe and inexpensive way to send money, and it can be replaced if it is lost, stolen or damaged. The business or person you send a money order to also has the assurance that the money order is good, because it is paid for in full when you buy it. You can purchase and send a money order anywhere in the United States and to most foreign countries using Western Union or the USPS.
Decide on the best place to buy a money order. Your bank may be the most convenient, but generally the payee will have to either cash the money order at another branch of the same bank or deposit it in his bank account. USPS money orders can be cashed at any U.S. post office or sent to more than 30 foreign countries (mostly in Latin America). Western Union money orders can be bought at convenience stores, supermarkets, check cashing stores and many other locations in most countries.
Go in person to buy and send a money order. You will need to pay for the money order and fee using cash, a debit card or a traveler's check. The USPS requires that the money order be at least 50 percent of the value of the traveler's check used as payment. You may be required to show a valid photo ID (driver's license, military ID or state-issued ID) if you are purchasing more than $1,000 in money orders in a single day. Fees vary, but USPS prices are typical. As of 2009, a USPS money order for less than $500 costs $1.05 and $1.50 for one from $501 to $1,000 (the maximum size for a USPS money order). USPS international money orders have a $700 limit and cost $3.85.
Fill out the money order. Make sure you have both your name and address and that of the payee on both the money order and on the receipt. Make sure this information is correct, because it's used to track the money order in the event of any problems.
Use a self-addressed, stamped envelope to send a money order through the mail. Keep your receipt.
USPS money orders are available at military facilities for a nominal cost (30 cents). Don’t confuse a Western Union money order with other forms of money-transfer services the company offers. Transferring money by “Quick Collect” and other options might be faster, but they are considerably more expensive than buying a money order.
Things You'll Need
Cash, travelers check(s) or ATM/debit card
Photo ID (for larger transactions)