How do I Fill out a Money Order?

N. Madison
N. Madison

When you need to fill out a money order, the process is typically very simple. You will usually need to fill out a money order with the full name of the person you will give it to as well as your full name. Some money orders have blanks for providing your address and phone number as well as the recipient’s. Once you have added the necessary information to the money order, you typically have to sign it and detach it from the carbon copy receipt that serves as proof you purchased it and addressed it to the recipient. Other money orders may have receipts that detach from the side, however.

An international money order in US Dollars (USD) issued by the United States Postal Service.
An international money order in US Dollars (USD) issued by the United States Postal Service.

One of the most important parts of filling out a money order is filling it out right away. You may consider carrying a money order you purchase home with you before you complete it, but this can be risky. If you lose a blank money order, anyone who finds it can cash it and use it. As such, a blank money order is much like cash. Taking the information you need to put on the money order with you when you buy it may help you to protect yourself in the event you lose it.

After purchasing a money order, you’ll typically have to complete the blanks on its front. The information you’ll have to provide may depend on the type of money order you purchase, however. Some money orders have detailed sections to complete on the front. To fill out a money order that has detailed sections, you will usually have to provide your full name and address. You may have to provide the same information in the recipient's section as well.

Some money orders only require you to provide a minimal amount of information to prepare them for cashing. For example, you may only have to write the name of the person to whom you are giving the money order and your own name where indicated. You will then have to sign it.

In some cases, you may want to put identifying information on a money order before you send it or give it to the recipient. For example, you may want to add an account number to help the recipient apply the payment to your account. Some money orders have special memo sections you can use to record your account numbers while others do not. If yours does not have a memo line you can use for an account number, you may write it above or beneath your name instead.

Many money orders have carbon copy receipts attached to them. As you fill out a money order, the carbon copy receipt is populated with the same information. Once you are finished filling out the money order, you can usually tear the receipt off and keep it for your records. Some may have receipts that you tear off from the side after adding your name and your recipient's to it. It is always important to avoid losing the money order receipt, as you will need it in the event the money order is lost or stolen.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


@Scrbblchick -- I do the same thing with my rent, pretty much for the same reason: my landlord would hang on to the check for three weeks. Not fun.

I save the receipt and also take a picture of the filled out money order before I take it to his office. If his secretary is there, I *always* get a receipt, because he's so scatterbrained, he's told me I didn't pay the rent when I did! I had the receipt to show him. Once, I had to show him the picture on my phone to satisfy him. It was insane.

He has to keep up with a money order, though, if he wants the rent money. I don't feel a bit bad about asking for a receipt or taking a picture of the money order if he's going to be so airheaded about my money.


I pay my rent by money order because my landlady was waiting for a couple of weeks to deposit the check, and she even lost the check once!

I started using money orders. The money leaves my account right away, so my bookkeeping stays on the straight and narrow, and if she loses the money order, tough. I still have a receipt showing I paid her. She can do without the money that month if she's going to be so careless that she can let a rent check get away from her because she didn't put it in the bank right away.

When I get money, it goes in the bank. She must not need the money if she holds the check that long.

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