When cash, personal checks and credit/debit cards aren't your preferred (or accepted) method of payment, there's another option that guarantees certified funds for your recipient. Paying with a W<st1:place w:st="on">estern Union money order doesn't even require you to have a bank account, and it allows you to make payment in person or to mail your payment. But before you present or send payment, you'll want to make sure that you've properly filled out the money order for a seamless transaction.
How Money Orders Work
You can think of a money order as an alternative to writing a check. But unlike a check that you present with only your guarantee that the funds are available, a money order is guaranteed by the agency or corporation that issues it. You have to prepay for a money order, which offers a higher measure of security to the recipient – a money order can't "bounce" like a check can, because it's already prepaid. But it also offers a higher measure of security for you, particularly if you're mailing a payment.
Types of Money Orders
Many agencies issue money orders. You can purchase a money order at some drug stores, such as a CVS money order, and you can also purchase a U.S. Post Office money order. If you purchase a Western Union money order, you'll be able to choose from more than 56,000 <st1:country-region w:st="on">U.S. agent locations to make your purchase, including the <st1:state w:st="on">District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands and Armed Forces locations in the <st1:country-region w:st="on">Americas, <st1:place w:st="on">Europe and the Pacific.
Purchasing Western Union Money Order
You can't purchase a Western Union money order online, so you'll need to find a <st1:place w:st="on">Western Union agent location. Visit WesternUnion.com and click the menu button at the top right-hand side of this web page, represented by three horizontal lines. Click "Find locations" from the drop-down menu, and follow the prompts to find an agent nearest you. Present cash to the agent to purchase your <st1:place w:st="on">Western Union money order.
Western Union Money Order Fees
The cost to purchase a <st1:place w:st="on">Western Union money order varies among locations, so you'll need to contact each location separately to compare rates. Even in the same general area, different agent locations charge different fees. Typically, however, you'll pay fees from $0.50 to $1.50 for most money orders.
Filling Out Your Money Order
Before you begin filling out your money order, check it to make sure the amount that's printed on the money order is the amount you paid (minus your fee). <st1:place w:st="on">Western Union recommends using a pen and filling out your money order with big, dark letters to make it more difficult for someone to change your writing.
Follow these four steps to fill out your money order:
- Provide the payee's name. The payee is the person or business to whom you're paying money. On the line that's to the right of "Pay to the order of," clearly write the payee's name, making sure there are no misspellings.
- Provide your information in the purchaser fields. You're the purchaser of the money order, so you'll write your name and address information in the space that's labeled "From," "Sender," "Remitter" or "Purchaser." Be sure to write your full legal name and your current address.
- Sign the money order. You'll sign the front of the money order, on the signature line. Don't sign the back, because this is where your recipient must sign.
- Fill in the note or memo field. This is an optional field, which may not be included on all money orders. It gives purchasers a place to note the money order's purpose.