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What is a money order?

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Money orders may not be used as commonly as they once were, but they are still an important payment method. It’s a certificate of guaranteed payment and a safer alternative to using cash or checks. This guide will detail what a money order is, how they work, and when you may decide to use one.

Money order definition

A money order is a paper payment. It’s an alternative payment option to a cash or check and is issued by a government or financial institution. Money orders are safer than sending cash in the mail and can be voided if necessary.

A money order is prepaid using cash or a debit card, this means the recipient will receive funds that you have already paid for. This can make it easier to budget as you can instantly see how much money you have left, and it also means that the check cannot bounce.

Money orders can be a good option when either the sender or receiver doesn’t have a bank account. They can be used to send money as gifts, pay for a private purchase, and even cover the cost of bills.

How to get a money order

One of the advantages of money orders is that you don’t need to head to a bank to purchase one. Head to your nearest Money Services, in our Kroger Family of Stores, to purchase your money order. You can also purchase money orders from US Post Offices and credit unions.

Purchasing a money order won’t change by state, but the maximum amount can vary. Usually, it’s around $1,000. Once you’ve completed the money order, you’ll be given a receipt, which helps you track the funds if there are any issues.

How does a money order work?

A money order works similarly to a check, you can cash it or deposit it into a bank account. When you buy a money order you need to enter the name of the recipient and the amount you are sending. Be careful when filling out the information as it’s a one-off payment and you should keep records of it.

When you pay for the money order, you’ll receive a receipt with the serial number of the money order. Keep this safe until you are sure it has cleared. If you don’t have a receipt, it can be difficult to track the order.

Why use a money order?
There are a few key reasons why you might use a money order. These include:

  • Security – the purpose of a money order is to securely send money through the mail. Cash can get stolen and personal checks include information, such as your bank account number, that you wouldn’t want to get into the wrong hands. A money order doesn’t include any private banking information.
  • Great for unbanked individuals – a money order also allows people without banking accounts access to other payment options.
  • Preferred payment method in some scenarios – sometimes a money order is the requested payment method. Online person-to-person sales or private car sales may request money orders for peace of mind that the check will not bounce.

How to fill out money orders

The two essential pieces of information you must include when filling out your money order form are:

  • The recipient’s name
  • Your name or signature.

Purchasing a money order is simple, our in-store team will assist you at your nearest Money Services location. Find out more about how to fill out a money order.

How much does a money order cost?
When sending a money order, you need to factor in any extra fees to purchase it. This cost differs based on where you purchase it from. USPS charges $1.45 for orders up to $500 and $1.95 for orders up to $1000. Retail banks may charge up to $5, but it’s worth remembering that some banks only sell money orders to account holders.

Banks and post offices often charge more than Money Services, but our fees vary depending on which state you’re in. To work out the exact cost of sending a money order, you can ask at your local Money Services or use our online tool here.

Where can I get a money order?

Use our store locator to find your nearest Money Services location to get a money order. These can be found in the Kroger Family of Stores, with weekend and evening hours, it’s easy and convenient. Read on to find out more about money orders.


What is the difference between a check and a money order?

While a check and money order are similar, a money order is a safer alternative. A money order is prepaid, so it cannot bounce like a check can. It also contains no banking information so it poses less risk of theft if it were to get into the wrong hands.


Is a money order just cash?
No, a money order is a safer alternative to sending someone cash. It has a lower risk of theft, as both the sender and recipient must sign for the order to be valid. Also, the paper order itself contains no personal bank details.

Why would someone want a money order?
A money order is a good way to send money to someone if you don’t have a bank account and is a secure method to send money through the mail. Money orders are safer than cash and more reliable than checks – because they are prepaid the money order cannot bounce.

What is the difference between a money order and a money transfer?
Both money transfers and orders are useful means of payment. A money transfer directs the funds electronically to another bank or person. A money order is a pre-paid paper payment, that can be cashed or deposited into a bank account.

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