Cash Order Fundamentals: Ideas for Funds

Whether or not you’re shopping for or promoting one thing, a cash order is likely to be your best choice (or your solely possibility) for fee. It is thought-about a “protected” type of fee, making it a preferred various to checks. However it’s vital to grasp the fundamental execs and cons of utilizing cash orders—and when different fee strategies are a more sensible choice.

What Is a Cash Order?

A cash order is a paper doc, much like a test, used for making funds. Cash orders are pay as you go, so they’re solely issued after a purchaser pays for the cash order with money or one other type of assured funds.

Assured Funds

As a result of issuers demand fee upfront, cash orders are thought-about comparatively protected, or “assured,” types of fee. They shouldn’t bounce—as private checks may.

Particular Payee

The identify of a payee (the recipient) and the identify of a monetary establishment that issued it seem on each cash order. Whenever you purchase a cash order, you specify who ought to obtain the funds by filling within the identify of the individual or group that you simply want to pay. That makes it tough for thieves to steal the instrument and get the cash.

Bear in mind that con artists typically use cash orders in scams. Many cash orders are professional, however you might want to use warning. We’ll element a number of frequent scams beneath.

The place and The way to Purchase Them

  • Supermarkets and comfort shops
  • Banks and credit score unions
  • Examine cashing, cash switch, and payday mortgage shops
  • United States Submit Places of work

To purchase a cash order, you might want to pay with assured funds.


At your financial institution, you possibly can switch funds out of your checking or financial savings account. At a retailer, you usually pay with money or a debit card transaction utilizing your PIN.

Quantity and Payee

It is vital to fill out a cash order appropriately. Inform the cash order issuer how a lot you’d like a cash order for, and so they print the doc for you. It’s essential write within the identify of your payee on the road that claims, “Pay to the order of.”

Hold Information

Hold your receipt and another particulars about your buy. If one thing goes mistaken, you’ll want that data to trace or cancel the cash order.


Count on to pay a small price to get a cash order. Costs are usually lowest on the Submit Workplace, supermarkets, and comfort shops—round $1 or so per cash order. Banks and credit score unions could cost $5 to $10.

Buy Quantities

Cash orders have a most restrict, usually $1,000 per cash order. This makes them appropriate for smaller purchases, however when you want greater than that, you should buy a number of cash orders (and pay a number of charges). Alternatively, you should utilize one other methodology, like a cashier’s test, which can not have most limits.

Getting the Cash

For those who obtain a cash order, you possibly can money it or deposit it identical to a test. To take action, you usually endorse the again of the cash order by signing your identify. It’s greatest to money cash orders on the similar location they had been purchased from (a Western Union or MoneyGram desk, or the financial institution or credit score union that issued them, for instance).

For those who don’t want money proper now, it’s clever to deposit the funds to a checking account. Doing so retains the cash protected, and you may earn curiosity in your financial savings.

Why Use Cash Orders?

Illustration by Ashley DeLeon. © The Stability, 2018

Cash orders are one of many many choices for making funds. So, when does it take advantage of sense to make use of a cash order?

Different to Money

A cash order will be made payable to a particular individual or group, which reduces the chance of theft. If a cash order will get misplaced or stolen, you possibly can cancel it and get a substitute.

For those who lose money, it’s gone for good. Mailing money is just too dangerous, so cash orders are an excellent possibility whenever you’re mailing a fee. What’s extra, you possibly can observe the fee and show that your recipient really bought paid.

No Financial institution Account Wanted

For those who don’t have a checking account—whether or not you don’t need one or you possibly can’t qualify for one—cash orders is likely to be a great tool for making funds. You do not want a checking account to get a cash order.

You’ll be able to pay payments like utility payments, insurance coverage premiums, and cell phone expenses with cash orders every month. Nonetheless, the price of shopping for cash orders provides up. That value, and the time it takes to purchase cash orders month after month, may inspire you to open a neighborhood checking account.

Hold Your Data Secret

Whenever you write a private test, that test incorporates delicate data. For instance, checks usually present your private home tackle, telephone quantity, checking account numbers, and the names of any joint account homeowners (akin to your partner or accomplice, if any). For those who don’t know or belief the individual you’re paying, a cash order hides that data.

Required by Vendor

Some sellers demand that you simply pay with a cash order if they like to not take the prospect of accepting a private test. A cashier’s test may supply the identical degree of safety, however cash orders appear to be extra common. That is likely to be as a result of decrease prices and quite a few places for patrons to buy cash orders.

Ship Cash Abroad

If you might want to ship funds overseas, cash orders are a protected and cheap means to take action. The recipient can simply convert a cash order to native forex, and USPS cash orders are well-regarded in quite a few nations world wide.

Alternate options to Cash Orders

Cash orders aren’t the one method to pay. Different choices supply “assured” funds, and a few are even safer than cash orders.

Cashier’s Checks

Cashier’s checks are much like cash orders. They’re additionally paper paperwork issued to a particular payee and assured by the issuer. Nonetheless, banks and credit score unions challenge cashier’s checks, not comfort shops and cash outlets (or monetary corporations they accomplice with). Additionally, cashier’s checks can be found for bigger greenback quantities, so that they’re a more sensible choice for giant funds. Be taught extra about how cashier’s checks evaluate to cash orders.

Wire Transfers

A wire switch is an digital switch of assured funds. Once more, sellers will be assured—much more assured than in the event that they obtain a cash order—that they’re getting paid. Wire transfers are costlier (about $30 to $40 in lots of circumstances) and extra cumbersome, however they’ll’t be faked or canceled like cash orders.

Digital Funds


Private checks, whereas old school, are sometimes adequate. Billers like utility firms and telephone service suppliers nonetheless settle for private checks. On-line sellers and may request a cash order for added safety.

Look ahead to Scams

Cash orders are historically thought-about protected, however they can be utilized in fraud. Actually, the notion that they’re protected is precisely what makes them good for scams.

  • By no means ship “further” a reimbursement to anyone who pays an excessive amount of with a cash order—it’s nearly actually a rip-off. Be cautious of forwarding more money to “shippers.”
  • Confirm funds on any cash order that you’ve got doubts about earlier than you are taking it to your financial institution.
  • Keep away from paying anyone with a cash order when you suppose you’ll ever must reverse the fee. You’ll be able to solely cancel cash orders earlier than they’ve been cashed.

Limitations of Cash Orders

Now that you already know the fundamentals, you possibly can respect the professionals and cons of utilizing cash orders. Among the primary drawbacks of cash orders are described beneath.

Most Limits

Cash orders are usually issued with a most of $1,000. Some cash order issuers use a good decrease restrict (for instance, worldwide USPS cash orders are restricted to $700). If the acquisition quantity is greater than $1,000, you’ll want a number of cash orders. Then issues turn into cumbersome—and simply as costly as different types of fee.


Cash orders are straightforward to get. Simply go to the customer support desk at a grocery store, go to a publish workplace, or go to a financial institution department. However different types of fee will be a lot simpler to work with. To purchase a cash order, you might must get money, wait in line, watch for a customer support consultant to finish the transaction, and get the cash order into the mail. Private checks and digital funds eradicate most (or all) of these steps.


Most individuals imagine that cash orders are protected. Sellers depend on the issuer (as an alternative of a person) to ship funds. In some circumstances, cash orders are prohibited, or they trigger further administrative work and delays. For instance, some monetary establishments (like insurance coverage firms and brokerage corporations) don’t settle for cash orders as a result of they can be utilized in cash laundering operations. Likewise, banks won’t mean you can use your cellular gadget to deposit cash orders, however checks are not any drawback.

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