Online money orders, in person money orders, bank money orders: The options are almost endless. So are the fees. Expect to pay for the act of having a money order issued then sometimes pay again for getting the money order shipped to the recipient. You'd also need to pay fees to replace or refund a lost or stolen money order -- if you can get it back at all.
When you're calculating the pricing and costs of money orders, look out for fees and charges that you might not initially expect. Be sure to keep in mind that:
1. Money order fees may vary widely from institution to institution as well as according to the money order amount.
2. If money order distributors are willing to refund or replace lost or stolen money orders, they're going to charge you a fee.
3. You can buy a money order online, but watch out for high fees.
Calculate fees carefully when you buy money order servicesUnited States Postal Service (USPS) money orders are some of the most easily available and the least expensive as well, with fees typically ranging between $1 and $2. Banks often charge more, anywhere up to about $5, and may include extra fees for issuing money orders to non-members. Keep in mind that there's often a maximum amount for which a money order can be issued. The USPS, for instance, will not issue money orders over $1,000.
Beware of fees associated with the refund of a postal, private or bank money orderMoney orders are an attractive form of payment because, unlike a personal check, they must be prepaid in full before being issued. The downside of this is that, if you lose a money order, it's almost the same as losing a wad of cash. You may have some protection -- for a fee -- with large money transfer institutions like Western Union or the United States Postal Service, where money order replacement fees range from $5 to $30. But you may be out of luck with smaller organizations.
Find the most expensive money orders onlineAs with many other products, you pay a premium for the convenience of being able to buy money orders online. Expect online money order fees to be $10 or higher. You may also pay extra fees for shipping the money order.
- If you're concerned about cashing money orders, insist that you be paid with a United States Postal Service money order and then cash it at the post office, not a bank. This way the authenticity of the money order will be determined immediately instead of after a delay, and you'll know right away whether it is valid.