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Adulting 101: Money Orders

Adulting 101

Money orders may seem outdated with the popular use of debit cards, credit cards and online money transfers and payments, but money orders are still very useful for many transactions and can be purchased at many convenient locations. 

What is a money order? 

A money order is a printed certificate issued in a specific amount. It is backed by the cash amount specified on the order itself, similar to a check.  

Money orders come with a receipt for proof of purchase so if they should become lost they can be replaced. They also have tracking numbers so they can be traced to ensure they get to the correct recipient. 

When should I use a money order? 

  • You want to send a more secure payment that does not include the personal information contained in a check, such as your bank account information. 
  • You don’t have a bank account and need to pay a bill. 
  • You’re worried about bouncing a check. Because money orders are prepaid, they can’t be rejected for insufficient funds. 
  • A money order can only be cashed by the person named on the money order therefore unlike cash, not just anyone can take it and cash it. 
  • You’re sending money internationally. For this type of event it is best to use a money order issued by the U.S. Post Office as those are accepted in about 30 countries worldwide. 
  • Money orders can be tracked and replaced, unlike cash. 

Below you will find links to some very good articles online which describe the use of money orders in great detail. 

For someone just starting out on their own, money orders can be an efficient way to keep track of bills and other expenses when a computer or internet isn’t available for electronic payments. 

U.S. News: How Do Money Orders Work? 

Investopedia : Money Orders: When, Where, and How 

Nerd Wallet: How Money Orders Work: What You Should Know