A complete guide to international money orders

Money transfer

In a world of digital transactions, money orders may seem somewhat outdated. With the ability to transfer payments via apps or pay remotely with debit or credit cards, postal money orders seem like a thing of the past. As a result, their processing has decreased by 7.5% in the last quarter of 2020.

However, money orders aren't dead just yet. They have a significant function that other forms of payment cannot easily duplicate.

When you sell or buy items online, send money to loved ones overseas, put down your new apartment's security deposit, the sanctity of your transaction and your money is at stake. As convenient as it is to use cash while making payments, you need a practical and secure method to send your money to the recipients, no matter where they may be. And that is where money orders come in.

Offering various benefits when sending money abroad, international money orders are private, safe, and easy to send. Also, they won't bounce like a check or put the recipient in jeopardy. Additionally, money orders are a cost-effective way to send money across borders from one person to another.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the basics of an international money order with some significant providers, how it works, where you can find them, and the process of sending and receiving money orders.

What is an international money order?

A money order is a document used to make payments internally, similar to a check. International money orders work precisely the same way as domestic ones, allowing you to prepay amounts. Moreover, it is a secured alternative to cash and personal checks. A money order specifies the details of the recipient.

Also, both the beneficiary and the payer have to sign the money order to be valid. You can purchase a money order by paying the amount on it.

By offering accessible and secure checks and cash, money orders enable you to transfer funds to somebody else via a pre-purchased printed document.

Money orders are flexible and value privacy when transferring cash overseas, especially if your recipient doesn't own a bank account. However, countries like Japan don't accept them. This is why it is essential to ensure that your recipient's country approves them.

Like most things, money order also has its pros and cons that you should know before leveraging one.


A money order is a relatively convenient method of payment. You don't require a bank account, and you can quickly pay for it via debit card, cash, or even traveler's checks.
International money orders are relatively safer and more secure than cash if you have to send money abroad. Even if your order gets stolen or lost, you can get it reissued so that you don't have to fret about anybody stealing your funds. Additionally, it usually requires the sender and recipient's signature, adding a layer of security.
Unlike a check, your money order can't bounce as you already pay for it before sending it. So, your payment and fund transfers are guaranteed whenever the recipient collects the cash.


Senders have to pay a certain amount to purchase international money orders, and there are sometimes recipient fees also associated with it. This makes an international money order a comparatively expensive way to send money overseas.
Poor exchange rates
With international money orders, you can end up getting poor exchange rates, affecting the amount of money you can transfer.
An international money order is often posted to the recipient. This process can be time-consuming based on the specific countries involved and is usually slower than digital transfers.
Scams and fraud
Since money orders are comparatively less regulated than bank transfers or transferring money via other financial services, scams and fraud are commonplace and have become more rampant.

Where can I get an international money order near me?

You can purchase international money orders with various banks and third-party providers across the world. These include credit union offices, banks, post offices, gas stations, and brick and mortar retailers, all of which are accepted by a few currency exchange providers like MoneyGram, Western Union, and the US Postal Service (USPS).

If you require a secure payment option, purchasing international money orders from the following establishments or institutions can help.


Sending funds overseas securely with U.S. Postal Service (USPS) international money order service is easy and straightforward. You can transfer funds to businesses and individuals in countries that specifically have an agreement with USPS. There are certain fixed costs to send money internationally, maximum amounts, and other requirements.

With USPS, these money orders can cost you around $10.25 ($700), and you can cash it in 28 countries.

USPS might not help you if your money order amount exceeds $1,000. Someone who wants to cash an international money order more than a certain amount needs to visit a bank.

Western Union

Western Union’s international money orders offer a convenient, reliable alternative to a check or cash. You can use them to send a gift, pay a bill or make a purchase. Additionally, Publix sells money orders to Western Union for around 60 cents but doesn't cash them. It cashes payroll and personal checks for $3 - $6.

The cash advance charges and associated interest may apply. You can avoid these charges when you use a debit card. Furthermore, you can also get an estimated fee for your international money order transaction.

Additionally, they have a limit of $1,000, and the fees typically range anywhere between 50 cents - $1.50 and more.


MoneyGram’s international money orders are convenient as they do not require a checking account. You can get these money orders from different locations.

You can find a suitable and convenient location that MoneyGram offers, pay for the money order amount and fill out the required fields, including purchaser and payee information. And finally, you can deliver your money orders in person or by mail.

Money order fees vary depending on the sender and recipient's respective countries. With MoneyGram, you have to pay a non-refundable fee of $18.


You can also buy a money order with a debit or credit card from Neighborhood Market or Walmart Supercenter at the Money Services Center or Customer Service Desk.

The maximum fee for a money order is $1. Accurate costs vary by location. Also, you can pay with a debit card or cash. Walmart has a money order limit of $1,000.

Banks with international connections

Various financial institutions offer international money orders and set a predetermined amount for purchasing them. You can determine the local bank charges by visiting your nearest branch.

However, it is imperative for banks to have international ties and connections to offer funds transfer services overseas. Typically, most of the banks charge around $5 or $10, or 10% of the total worth of the money order.

Here are some of the popular banks that offer international money order services.

  • Wells Fargo

    Wells Fargo provides international money orders at $5 and doesn't have a limit. Those that are up to $1,000 can be purchased at any banking location of Wells Fargo.

    The bank waives the fees if you own a qualified business or consumer account, offering zero-fee money orders as an advantage of your account.

  • U.S. Bank

    U.S. Bank's international money orders are for $5 with no limits. Also, it waives the charges if you have a platinum checking account.

  • Chase

    Chase money orders cost you around $5 with a limit of $1,000. It is free of cost for premium accounts, and you must purchase it from a branch. Moreover, if you have a premiere or private account, Chase will waive your fee.

How to fill out a money order?

Now that you know how to get an international money order, it's time to learn about filling out one. Writing out money orders is a straightforward process. However, it is essential to get it right and fill it out appropriately. These documents enable you to securely receive and send payments, which is an excellent alternative to credit cards, checks, and cash.

You need to fulfill specific requirements when filling out your money orders. These specifications vary from institution to institution, whether it's the United States Postal Service (USPS) or the Western Union. Also, each financial institution's money order differs to some extent in appearance. Typically, you need the following information:

  • Payee's address
  • Name of payee or beneficiary – the person who will receive the money
  • Payment amount
  • The billing account number and the reason for payment
  • Sender's name and address

Additionally, you'll need a payment form to get the money order (debit card, check, cash). Some issuers also limit the options for payments.

Once you have purchased your international money order, make sure you carefully fill it out so that it goes to the right person and they can easily cash it.

Here are the steps that you need to follow to fill out your money order:

Step 1. Fill in the recipient's name

Start by writing your recipient's name on the money order in the field "pay to the order of" or "pay to." This could be either a business's name or an individual's name. Make sure you spell everything right and that your writing is in ink and legible.

It is imperative to fill out the name section the instant you buy the money order as then they will become the only person verified to deposit or cash. (If you lose or misplace a money order before you write in the payee's name, otherwise anybody can fill out their details and cash your money order.

If your money order has an option, then fill the labeled field "from," "sender," or "purchaser."

Step 2. Include sender's address in the purchaser field

Fill out your complete address in the section where the money order requires the Purchaser's address details. There might be two address fields where you can either fill out the address of the specific business or the person you are sending or paying money to.

Step 3. Write the order or account number in the memo section

A memo line lets you note the reason for issuing the money order. For instance, you can specify that you need to pay off a debt or buy a particular item. If you have an order or account number from the beneficiary, this is where you need to include it. This field can also be titled "account number" or "payment for."

Step 4. Add your signature in the "purchaser's signature" field

Signing the front of your money order, specifically the section asking for your signature. This field is usually titled "Purchaser," Purchaser's signature," Drawer," "From," or "Signer." Don't sign the back of your money order as it's where the business or person you are sending funds endorses your money order before they receive cash.

Last but not least, ensure that you keep your receipt. It comprises a tracking number that allows you to track if the authorized person cashed the money order. And in case your money order gets stolen or lost, you can leverage the tracking number that can help you with its replacement. There might be a processing fee to replace your money orders.

Tracking the transaction

Once you send money, it is unequivocally vital to keep an eye on your money order status and secure delivery to the entitled individual.

Many financial institutions offer online tools and features on their site to track your money transfer process until it reaches the right person safely. Suppose you are leveraging a bank's services to transfer money. In that case, you can monitor your transaction status by entering data such as the beneficiary's account number and tracking number on their website.

Similarly, when you send a money order via providers, you can easily track your money transfer status by signing into your account on their site. The advanced tracking tools of these services help you keep you updated.

Furthermore, the recipients can track the status simultaneously of the online transfers. Some of these financial institutions also provide updates via SMS and emails where the receiver and sender can closely check the status.

Keeping track of your money order transactions is not challenging if your chosen financial institution is reliable. But your institution's credibility shouldn't make you negligent in keeping a tab on the money you sent.

How do I cash a money order?

Cashing a money order is a simple task. Similarly, you can cash international money orders as checks, but cashing locations may be confined based on where you live.

Here is how you can successfully cash it.

  • Find a verified location. Before you receive your money order, confirm a post office, local bank, or convenience store that can help you cash it.
  • Endorse your money order. You need to sign the backside of your money order before you can cash it, but sign it when you are about to give it to the cashier.
  • Provide proof of identity. You need to provide a valid ID that should match the recipient's name on the money order. The particular document should be government-issued, like a passport, military card, or a driver's license.
  • Pay associated charges. You have to pay the required fees and also agree to lower exchange rates to cash your money order.
  • Count your money. Validate the sum of money that you receive and check if it's correct before leaving the counter.

Getting your money order refunded

Once you give the required information to your respective financial institution, your money order refund process begins. Some money order companies, such as USPS, don't allow you to cancel your international money order flat-out; however, you can still ask for a refund.

Typically to process your refund request, you need to have the receipt. Also, ensure that you bring the money order, the receipt, and an identification form to your post office.

Some providers don't have the receipt requirement to process the money order refund, but it can take relatively more time that prolongs up to 8 weeks. So it is imperative to keep your money order receipt safe just in case!

You can complete and sign a tracing-refund request. You can separately fill out the form and then send the receipt, money order, and form. To process the refund request, you need to add your contact information, purchase location, and the money order number. You need to wait 30 days for its processing.

How can I protect myself from money orders scams?

Here are some practical ways to avoid money order scams.

  • Verify your funds. Before you deposit a money order, visit the website or call the phone number listed on the document and use the provided serial number to verify its authenticity. While this isn't an ideal solution, it will help you rule out bogus money orders.
  • Look for apparent forgery signs. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) provides the anti-counterfeiting features of its international money orders. MoneyGram and Western Union use heat-sensitive inlays and watermarks to safeguard the money transfer transactions. So if you are suspicious of or unfamiliar with your money order's design features, take it to the respective outlet and ask their representative to inspect it.
  • Maintain records. Always maintain a copy of your money order that you deposit and receipts for transferring funds. If you are or have been a money order scam victim, it is imperative to share your information with law enforcement for corrective actions.

Payments as alternatives

Various alternate payment channels are efficient, safe, and easy to use. Processing and usage costs for these alternative methods are often cost-effective and have enhanced security.

Digital bank payments 
A digital bank payment moves your money electronically from one bank to another. You can log into your bank account and pay the amount via the institution's online transaction portal. This is a highly secured method because you don't have to exchange your account number or other confidential data.
Electronic Funds Transfer
An electronic funds transfer (EFT) is a transaction that you process via a computerized network. It can be either among the duplicate bank accounts or different accounts at different financial institutions. A business or person both can initiate it, and it doesn't require more than an account in good standing.
Mobile Wallets
A mobile wallet is primarily a consumer-facing payment system. They enable you to make contactless payments leveraging Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. You can use these digital wallets for online purchases right from a website or an app. The checkout process is preset and requires you to verify your Touch ID or PIN to complete the transaction.
Stored-Value Wallets
A stored value wallet allows you to 'top up your mobile money accounts. Such services are increasing in popularity across the board because they enable you to connect wallets to app ecosystems, perk programs, and well-known e-commerce platforms.
E-commerce Wallets
Typically, you can use e-commerce wallets for B2C transactions, where it helps your customers store their debit or credit card information and then sign in to pay for the purchased items online. When checking out, they can opt for MasterPass or Visa Checkout and sign into their account. To complete the transaction, they are then sent back to the merchant's site.

Wrapping up

The bottom line is that there are several ways to send and receive money internationally. If you're considering leveraging international money orders, it may be a secure and convenient means of payment and a better alternative to personal checks and cash.

Furthermore, money orders are a guaranteed and low-cost payment method widely available at various locations across the United States. While money orders also have some drawbacks, their practicality as a safe means of payment makes them savvy for transactions.

Although money orders are an excellent way t

o transfer cash, paying via an app is a more secure, safer, and faster way. Transferring via a trustworthy app promises guaranteed payment while ensuring cost-effectiveness.

A money transfer app like BOSS Revolution can help you navigate the intricacies of sending cash overseas. Also, this app offers a low-cost transferring option while allowing you to send cash to various locations worldwide. All in all, BOSS Revolution is a reliable and fast money transfer app that gives you power right at your fingertips.

Sources: all third party information obtained from applicable website as of July 18, 2021

This article is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to address every aspect of the matters discussed herein. The information in this article is not intended as specific personal advice. The information in this article does not constitute legal, tax, regulatory or other professional advice from IDT Payment Services, Inc. and its affiliates (collectively, “IDT”), and should not be taken or used as such by any individual. IDT makes no representation, warranty or guaranty, whether express or implied, that the content in this article is current, accurate, or complete. You should obtain professional or other substantive advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the information in this article.

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