Banking Checking Accounts How and Where To Cash a Money Order What To Do With a Money Order By Justin Pritchard Justin Pritchard Facebook Twitter Website Justin Pritchard, CFP, is a fee-only advisor and an expert on personal finance. He covers banking, loans, investing, mortgages, and more for The Balance. He has an MBA from the University of Colorado, and has worked for credit unions and large financial firms, in addition to writing about personal finance for more than two decades. learn about our editorial policies Updated on May 28, 2022 Reviewed by Michael J Boyle Reviewed by Michael J Boyle Michael Boyle is an experienced financial professional with more than 10 years working with financial planning, derivatives, equities, fixed income, project management, and analytics. learn about our financial review board Fact checked by Ariana Chávez Fact checked by Ariana Chávez Ariana Chávez has over a decade of professional experience in research, editing, and writing. She has spent time working in academia and digital publishing, specifically with content related to U.S. socioeconomic history and personal finance among other topics. She leverages this background as a fact checker for The Balance to ensure that facts cited in articles are accurate and appropriately sourced. learn about our editorial policies Share Tweet Pin Email In This Article View All In This Article How To Cash a Money Order The Best Ways To Cash a Money Order How To Deposit Money Orders Fees for Cashing Money Orders Money Order Scams The Best Places To Buy a Money Order Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: The Balance / Ashley DeLeon A money order is similar to a check in appearance as well as function. You can treat one just as you would a check that's made out to you. You can cash a money order or you can deposit it into a bank account to get access to the money. It's just a piece of paper until you do so. You can cash money orders at numerous locations, including banks and convenience stores. Key Takeaways The process for cashing a money order is much the same as cashing a check. You can cash a money order at your bank, or at many retail outlets. You can also take it to the money order issuer.You’ll probably have to pay a fee if you don’t deposit the money order into your bank or credit union account, but it can be nominal depending on the size of the money order.Money orders can be canceled, so it’s important to cash and deposit it as soon as possible, particularly if you don’t know the individual or entity who paid you with one. How To Cash a Money Order Converting any money order to cash is a relatively easy process: Take the payment to a location that cashes checks or money orders: Common options include banks, credit unions, grocery stores, and check-cashing stores. Endorse the money order as you would a check: Sign your name on the back. Wait until you're indoors and ready to hand the money order over to a teller or customer service agent before you do so. Show valid identification: You'll have to verify that you're authorized to cash the money order. A government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or military ID, is the best option. Pay any fees for the service: These costs will reduce the total amount of cash you receive. Get your cash. Place it securely in a pocket, purse, or wallet before leaving the customer service counter. The Best Ways To Cash a Money Order You can cash money orders at a variety of locations. But your best option is usually a bank or credit union where you already have an account. Your Bank or Credit Union Your bank or credit union probably provides this service for free, just as when you cash a check. But you might not be able to get the full amount of the money order right away. Your bank's funds availability policy will explain how much money, if any, you can take immediately. The balance will be deposited into your account and should be available within the next business day. Note The first $5,000 must be available within the next business day if you're depositing a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) money order. You may have a better option if you're not close to a branch of your financial institution. If you belong to a credit union, you can likely go to a closer branch of a different credit union that uses the same shared branching network. The Money Order Issuer Try visiting a location of the money order issuer if you don’t have a bank account or you can’t get to a branch. The issuer is the organization that prints and backs the money order. You might visit a post office to cash a USPS money order, or a Western Union office to cash a Western Union money order. Working directly with the issuer can help you minimize fees as well, and it will increase your chances of getting 100% of the cash quickly. But some offices won't cash your money order even if they sell them. Some Other Options You can also try to cash money orders at retail outlets like check-cashing stores, convenience stores, and grocery stores. Some larger retail stores, especially grocery stores, have Western Union or MoneyGram services available at the customer service desk, so you might be able to cash your money order there for free. Otherwise, a customer service representative should be able to review your options with you. How To Deposit Money Orders It's probably a better idea to deposit the money order into your bank account rather than cash it if you don't need 100% of the money in cash right away. You can get cash later if necessary and your funds will be safe in the bank in the meantime. You can use your existing checking or savings account and transfer the money elsewhere if you have other uses for it. You can use the money order for your initial account opening deposit if you don't yet have an account at a bank or credit union. Note Having a bank account can potentially save you money and time over the long term. Depositing a money order is the same as depositing a check. Simply endorse the back of the money order and list it separately as a check on your deposit slip. Use caution when using your mobile device to deposit money orders. Banks may require you to deliver the original money order for processing, and many don’t allow mobile money order deposits at all. Make sure your bank accepts mobile deposits of money orders before you attempt to make one. Fees for Cashing Money Orders Expect to pay a fee when you cash a money order anywhere other than your bank. You'll typically have to pay several dollars in transaction fees or a percentage of the total proceeds. These fees can add up, especially at check-cashing stores and convenience stores, which often have higher fees. And they don't always make it clear how much they charge. At most Walmart stores, you can cash a money order issued by MoneyGram for a maximum fee of $4 if the value is $1,000 or less, or a maximum fee of $8 if the value is $1,001 to $5,000. It’s probably worthwhile to open an account at a bank or credit union if you receive more than one or two money orders per month, even if they charge monthly maintenance fees. You can go to your bank and cash money orders or checks anytime you want without additional charges once you're a customer. Money Order Scams There are plenty of scams out there involving invalid money orders. Verify that the money order is legitimate before accepting it if you want to make sure you'll be paid. You can do that by locating and calling the phone number for the supposed issuer. Note Never accept a money order for a greater amount than what you've asked for, then cash it and send the excess funds back to your “customer.” This is almost always a scam, and you'll ultimately be responsible for the full amount of the fraudulent money order. After you verify that a money order is legitimate, cash it or deposit it as soon as possible if you're concerned about fraud. It's possible for the buyer of the money order to cancel it after sending it to you. The Best Places To Buy a Money Order You can usually get a money order directly from your bank if you want to issue one because you don't want to use your bank account for some reason. You can also purchase them at any USPS office. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) How do I cash a money order made out to someone else? The original payee must sign the money order over to you before you can cash a money order that's made out to someone else. The process is the same as signing over a check. The payee must sign their name and write "Pay to the order of [your first and last name]" on the endorsement line on the back of the money order. Where can I cash a money order for free? Go to the local bank or credit union where you already have an account. Retailers or banks where you don't have an account will usually charge you a few dollars to cash a money order. Where can I cash a money order on a Sunday? Banks aren't usually open on Sundays, but you can cash money orders at some retailers and grocery stores. Walmart is open on Sundays and cashes MoneyGram money orders. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. PNC Bank. "Consumer Funds Availability Policy," Pages 1-2. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "I Deposited a USPS Money Order, Cashier’s Check, Certified Check, or Teller’s Check. When Can I Access This Money?" Western Union. "Where Can I Cash a Money Order?" Capital One. "What Is Mobile Deposit?" Walmart. "Check & Card Cashing," Select "Options & Price." Experian. "Can You Cancel a Money Order?"