In a world of digital transactions, money orders may seem somewhat outdated.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.
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.
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’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.
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 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's international money orders are for $5 with no limits. Also, it waives the charges if you have a platinum checking account.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are some practical ways to avoid money order scams.
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.
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.
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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