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How to Send an International Money Order: A Complete Guide 

How to Send an International Money Order: A Complete Guide 

March 19, 2024 7 min read

International money order being filled out.

While international money orders may seem archaic compared to instant transfers via apps or online banking, they continue to serve as a reliable means of transferring funds across borders, especially for individuals without access to digital financial services.

What is an International Money Order?

An international money order is a payment instrument issued by a financial institution, typically a bank or a post office, that enables individuals to send money internationally.

It functions similarly to a regular check but is designed for transactions across different countries.

Key Components of an International Money Order

  • Issuer: The financial institution that issues the money order.
  • Purchaser: The individual buying the international money order. This could be a person sending money to a family member abroad or a business paying an overseas supplier.
  • Sender’s Information: Depending on the institution’s requirements, the sender may need to provide their name, address, and contact information when purchasing the money order.
  • Recipient: The person designated to receive the funds. This could be an individual, a company, or even a charity organization.
  • Amount: The sum of money specified in the money order.
  • Currency: The currency may differ between the sender’s and recipient’s countries, and exchange rates will apply.
  • Issuance Fee: The fee charged by the issuing institution for issuing the money order.

International money orders are generally considered a secure and reliable method of sending money overseas. However, they do have limitations and considerations that users should be aware of, which we’ll explore further in subsequent sections.

How International Money Orders Differ from Other Payment Methods

International money orders differ from other payment methods in several key ways, each with its advantages and limitations:

  • Security and Reliability
    • Unlike personal checks, international money orders are prepaid, reducing the risk of insufficient funds or bounced payments.
  • Accessibility
    • International money orders are accessible to individuals who may not have access to digital banking services or credit/debit cards.
  • Speed of Transaction
    • International money orders typically take longer to process compared to digital payment methods like bank transfers or online money transfer services.
  • Cost and Fees
    • International money orders often involve fees for both purchasing and cashing the money order. These fees can vary depending on the issuing institution, the amount of money being sent, and the destination country.
  • Limitations on Amounts
    • International money orders limit the maximum amount that can be sent per transaction to no more than $700. For larger transactions, alternative payment methods like money transfer companies may be more suitable. Send money with Ria now.
  • Exchange Rates
    • When sending an international money order, the exchange rate applied may not be as favorable as those offered by currency exchange services or digital remittance platforms.

Overall, while international money orders offer a secure and accessible means of transferring funds internationally, they may not be the most convenient or cost-effective option for every situation.

Which countries accept international money orders?

The availability and acceptance of international money orders may vary depending on the policies of individual financial institutions and postal services in each country.

Generally, most countries with established banking and postal systems accept international money orders.

According to the United States Postal Service (USPS), the USPS’ international money orders are accepted in these countries. The money order costs $10.25, but additional processing fees and exchange rate margins exist, depending on the destination country and currency.

Where Can I Buy an International Money Order?

To obtain an international money order, you typically have several options, including:

Banks: Most banks offer international money order services to their customers. Banks may charge a fee for issuing international money orders, and the process may vary depending on the bank’s policies and procedures.

Post Offices: Postal services in many countries provide international money order services. Postal money orders are often considered a secure and reliable payment method for international transactions.

Money Transfer Companies: Some specialized money transfer companies and remittance services offer international money order services. These companies may have physical locations, online platforms, or mobile apps where you can purchase international money orders. They may also offer competitive exchange rates and lower fees compared to traditional banks.

Retailers and Convenience Stores: In some regions, retailers and convenience stores offer international money order services through partnerships with financial institutions or money transfer companies. You may be able to purchase international money orders at the customer service desk or through self-service kiosks.

How to Fill Out and Send an International Money Order

Filling out a money order is a straightforward process, but it’s essential to do it accurately to ensure that your payment reaches the intended recipient. Here are the typical steps to fill out a money order:

  1. Fill in the Payee Information: Write the name of the person or business you are paying on the “Pay to the order of” or “Payee” line. Make sure to spell the name correctly to avoid any issues with processing the payment.
  2. Enter Your Information: On the “Purchaser” or “Sender” line, write your own name and contact information. This helps identify you as the purchaser of the money order in case there are any questions or issues with the transaction.
  3. Add a Memo (Optional): Some money orders have a “Memo” line where you can include a note or reference number for your own records or for the recipient’s reference. This step is optional but can be useful for tracking purposes.
  4. Sign the Money Order: Sign your name on the designated line where it says “Purchaser’s signature” or “Signature.” Your signature is required to authorize the money order and validate the payment.
  5. Submit the Money Order: Submit the completed money order along with any required payment for fees. Depending on the provider’s instructions, you may need to hand it over to a cashier or mail it to the recipient.
  6. Keep the Receipt: If you have a detachable receipt, keep it in a safe place until you confirm that the payment has been received and processed by the recipient.

How to Cash a Money Order

Here’s how you can cash a money order:

  • Endorse the Money Order: Before cashing the money order, sign the back of it in the designated endorsement area. Make sure to sign exactly as your name appears on the front of the money order.
  • Present the Money Order and Identification: Hand the unsigned money order and your identification to the cashier or teller. Acceptable forms of ID typically include a driver’s license, passport, state-issued ID card, or military ID. Some locations may also require you to fill out a form or provide additional information.
  • Pay Any Fees: Be prepared to pay any fees associated with cashing the money order. Fees vary depending on the location and may be charged as a flat rate or a percentage of the money order amount.
  • Receive Your Funds: Once the cashier or teller verifies the authenticity of the money order and your identification, they will give you the cash equivalent of the money order amount, minus any applicable fees.
  • Dispose of the Money Order Safely: After cashing the money order, it’s a good idea to safely dispose of it to prevent any potential misuse. Shred or tear up the money order and discard it securely.

Where Can I Cash a Money Order?

There are several options available depending on your preferences and convenience:

  • Banks: One of the most common places to cash a money order is at a bank. If applicable, you can visit the bank that issued the money order. Bring the unsigned money order and a valid form of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. The bank may charge a fee for cashing the money order, especially if you’re not an account holder.
  • Credit Unions: Like banks, credit unions often provide money order cashing services to their members. Some credit unions may offer lower fees compared to banks.
  • Retailers and Convenience Stores: Many retailers and convenience stores, such as grocery stores, check-cashing outlets, and big-box retailers, offer money order cashing services. Some may charge a fee, while others may require you to purchase in their store to cash the money order.
  • Check-Cashing Outlets: Check-cashing outlets specialize in cashing various financial instruments, including money orders. They typically charge a fee for their services, which may vary depending on the amount of the money order.
  • Post Offices: If the money order was issued by the postal service, you can usually cash it at a local post office. Some post offices may charge a fee for cashing money orders.

Tips for Sending International Money Orders

Double-Check Recipient Information:

  • Ensure the accuracy of the recipient’s name, address, and other relevant details before purchasing the international money order. Mistakes in recipient information can lead to delays or complications in processing the payment.

Keep Track of Exchange Rates:

  • Monitor exchange rates between currencies to maximize the value of the money being sent. Consider sending money when exchange rates are favorable to ensure the recipient receives the most funds possible.

Consider Insurance Options:

  • Some financial institutions offer insurance options for international money orders, protecting against loss or theft during transit. Evaluate the cost and coverage of insurance options to determine if it’s worth adding to your international money order transaction.

Be Aware of Fraud Risks:

  • Exercise caution and be vigilant against potential fraud schemes when sending international money orders.
  • Avoid sending money orders to unknown or unverified recipients and be wary of requests for payment from unfamiliar sources.
  • If a deal or offer seems too good to be true, it may be a scam. Trust your instincts and conduct thorough research before proceeding with any international money order transactions.

About the author

Gabriela Solis

Gabriela Solis is Ria's Senior Content Writer. Located in Querétaro, México, she focuses on telling stories that show the myriad human faces of remittances.

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