How do I Cash a Money Order?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
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  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2019
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While the purchasing and sending of a money order is a relatively straightforward process, some recipients may find it difficult to cash a money order, especially if they do not have bank accounts of their own. Trying to cash a money order from a foreign country can be even more problematic and expensive. There are several accepted ways to cash a money order, although each outlet has the right to charge its own fees or place other restrictions for the privilege.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) can issue official postal money orders at most of its local branches. The sender requests a specific cash amount for the face value of the money order, pays a nominal fee, and then enters a recipient's name before mailing it. The recipient can cash a money order issued by the USPS at his or her local post office branch. Sometimes a trip to a larger post office or another city may be in order, however. Especially large money orders may be difficult to cash at the beginning or end of the workday, since the postal clerks may have a limited amount of cash in their tills at those times.


If the money order is from Western Union or other non-postal money order service, it can still be cashed or deposited at the recipient's personal bank. This is assuming the recipient has an established bank account, however. Since many money orders are not issued by banks themselves, they are not obligated to cash a money order from non-customers or those without proper identification. A money order which specifically mentions a bank's name may be cashed at a local branch of that bank, provided the recipient has proper identification.

Another place to cash a money order is a local check cashing service. These companies may be willing to cash a money order for anyone who can provide proper personal identification, but they can and often do charge a substantial fee for the privilege. For some recipients, the fee may be nominal compared to the amount of cash they receive, but for others with smaller amounts the fee could be excessive. It may be a good idea to shop around for the best conditions before cashing a money order at a commercial check cashing company.

A number of grocery stores, convenience stores and beverage stores will also cash a money order, possibly for a nominal fee or no charge at all. Grocery stores deal with significant amounts of cash during the day, so they are often willing to cash money orders as a way to reduce their vulnerable cash supplies. Many grocery and convenience stores also sell money orders, so they can process cashed money orders themselves. Be prepared to present proper identification when attempting to cash a money order at a local grocery store.

Money orders from foreign countries are often issued in their native currency, not US dollars, so many domestic banks are reluctant to cash them. The money order might have to be cashed in the country of origin first, then the cash would have to be converted to US currency and deposited in a US bank. This is a long and expensive process, so the limited number of banks willing to go through it can charge a substantial fee. If you have a 50 dollar Canadian money order, for example, the US bank can charge 15 US dollars to cash it, and you would still only receive the US dollar equivalent of the remainder.

In short, the best way to cash a money order is to present it to the post office if it is USPS-backed, or to a friendly local grocery store or check cashing service if you do not have an established bank account. Otherwise, it may be easiest to deposit the money order into your checking account and withdraw the cash once it has been credited.


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Discuss this Article

Post 18

Western Union is a crock of crap. There are numerous places in my area that sell Western Union money orders, but will not cash them. So I know have a $450 piece of paper sitting here because I cannot cash it.

Post 16

Why can't you take the western union money order to a western union?

Post 15

i have some western union money orders, but it seems very hard to cash them in vietnam. Can anyone help me to cash them? i need some money right away.

Post 14

I was recently given a money order and had some trouble cashing it. I took it to Walmart and was told that they only cash money orders that were dispensed by them.

I then took it to a local grocery store, and was told that due to the high number of counterfeit money orders in circulation, they refused to cash it. I even took it to the store that dispensed it and was told that they would not cash it. Finally, I was forced to deposit it in bank. The bank would not cash it, only let me deposit it.

Post 13

Why can you buy a western union money order anywhere, any time. But you can't cash it any time. i want an answer. I might not ever deal with western union again.

Post 11

is there a way to electronically deposit a money order over the phone?

Post 10

how old do you have to be to cash a money order?

Post 9

if she has the receipt she can mail 15 dollars to the company who issued the money order and it will take about three weeks but they will return it. i have had to do this before because i lost a money order for rent. call the 1800 number on the back of the receipt of the money order and it will explain what to do.

Post 8

If a US money order is sent to Malaysia,

how can the malaysia receipient cash out the money? Thanks

Post 7

you can probably take the money order back to where you purchased it for a refund (minus the fees of course).

Post 6

- hwosborne! "I am going to cancel their lease". Most places won't allow you to just "cancel their lease". I hope you take a good look around and see that the country is hurting and therefore so are the citizens. Give people a break. Also, money orders can be tracked. If she has the receipt, there is a number on it that she can track it with. Lighten up, you are talking about someone's life here!

Post 5

I bought a money order and is already filled out but i changed my mind. Can i still change it for cash and where can i change it?

Post 4

i am out of the state for now...i heard from my little daughter there is another way of money order now...please is it true?

Post 3

I bought a money order and is already fill out but i change my mind. Can i still change it for cash and where can i change it?

Post 2

a tenant sent me a money order for her rent. it was never received and never cashed. what should she do? i am going to have her lease canceled.

Post 1

This information is totally accurate! I had great difficulty cashing a US postal order at a canadian postal office because they did not carry enough cash to cover the 500$ US amount. The best time to try is at about 2:00 pm and always try a post office located in a busy, high-traffic upscale area as they will receive more cash during the day. The US verification system closes at 5:00 pm mountain time, so the window of opportunity may be slim. it took me 2 full days before i finally had success but ended up losing $20 because the Canadian dollar got stronger by the time of exchange. Good luck and have patience. I do not suggest using postal orders if the amount exceeds $300 as it is truly a pain in the neck driving around, wasting time, gas and patience trying to find a postal outlet that is not stuck in the monetary dark ages!

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