Sending Money Orders
When sending money by mail, use money orders as a safe alternative to cash and personal checks. U.S. Postal Service® money orders are affordable, widely accepted, and never expire. Your money order receipt will help you track your payment and show proof of value in case the money order gets lost, stolen, or damaged.
You can buy or cash postal money orders at any Post Office™ location.
How to Send Domestic Money Orders
- Decide on the money order amount. You can send up to $1,000 in a single order anywhere in the United States.
- Go to any Post Office location.
- Take cash, a debit card, or a traveler’s check. You cannot pay with a credit card.
- Fill out the money order at the counter with a retail associate.
- Pay the dollar value of the money order plus the issuing fee.
- Keep your receipt to track the money order.
Receiving Money Orders – How to Spot a Fake
Before accepting a money order, make sure it's real. There are several key things to look at to spot a counterfeit money order.
Examine the Paper
Real USPS money orders have specific marks and designs to prevent fraud. If you hold the money order up to the light you should see:
- Watermarks of Ben Franklin on the left side repeat top to bottom (circle 1 on image).
- On the right of the Franklin watermark, a vertical, multicolored thread with the letters “USPS” weaves in and out of the paper to (circle 2 on image).
Check the Dollar Amounts
- If the dollar amount is discolored, it may have been erased, indicating fraud (circle 3 on image).
- Make sure the dollar amount is imprinted twice (circle 4 on image).
- See if the dollar value is too large.
- Domestic money orders cannot be more than $1,000.
- International money orders cannot be more than $700 ($500 for El Salvador or Guyana).
Suspect a Fake?
- If you suspect fraud, call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455.
- If you think you’ve been given a fake money order, call the Money Order Verification System at 1-866-459-7822.
How to Cash Domestic Money Orders
Domestic money orders never expire and they do not accrue interest. Money orders are cashed for the exact amount on the order.
You can cash a USPS money order at a Post Office for free. You can also cash them at most banks and some stores. Rural carriers may cash money orders if they have enough money on hand.
Cashing a Money Order at the Post Office
- Do not sign the money order.
- Take a primary photo ID with the money order to any Post Office location.
- Sign the money order at the counter in front of a retail associate.
See additional requirements for money orders made out to organizations, more than one person, and minors.
Check the Status of a Money Order
You can check the status of a money order you've purchased from the U.S. Postal Service at any time by visiting the Money Orders Application.
Make sure you have the following information for the postal money order you want to check:
- Serial number
- Post Office number
- Dollar amount
Replacing Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Money Orders
Lost or Stolen Money Orders
You cannot stop payment on postal money orders, but a lost or stolen money order can be replaced.
- Money order loss or theft may take up to 30 days to confirm.
- Investigating a money order's lost or stolen status may take up to 60 days.
- There is a $6.25 processing fee to replace a lost or stolen money order.
Requesting a Refund
- Take your money order receipt to any Post Office location.
- Talk to a retail associate at the counter to start a Money Order Inquiry.
- After starting the inquiry, you will be able to check the status of your money order and inquiry progress by visiting the Money Orders Application.
- When your money order is confirmed lost or stolen, we’ll issue you a replacement money order.
Damaged Money Orders
We'll replace money orders that are defective or damaged. Take the damaged money order and your receipt to your local Post Office location to get a replacement.
Money Orders between the USPS & Japan Post
As of March 2020, the Postal Service™ no longer sells international postal money orders destined for Japan or cashes international postal money orders issued by Japan Post. If you have not yet cashed a Japan Post-issued money order, please return it to the sender.
On July 10, 2020, Japan Post stopped cashing international postal money orders issued by the Postal Service. (Japan Post stopped selling international postal money orders destined for the U.S. on December 31, 2019.)