Do money orders expire? Here’s what to know.

image : Young charwoman at home using laptop to look up if money orders expire Worried that an old money rate has expired ? Rules can vary depending on the issuer and the department of state where you purchased the money order, but in most cases, you ’ ll still be able to cash it. Though it may no long be worth the full expression value. editorial note : Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn ’ thymine affect our editors ’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It ’ randomness accurate to the best of our cognition when posted .Advertiser Disclosure

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You may already know that cashing an old check can be difficult, but what about money orders?

In most cases, you don ’ t have to worry about having one die on you, but there are factors that might affect the value of the money order over time. Let ’ s look at how money orders work, who issues them and what to do if you have an honest-to-god one .
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Money orders 101

You can use money orders in a kind of fiscal transactions. In some ways, they work similarly to personal checks, but there are some clear-cut differences that make them a safe option in certain situations .

What is a money order?

Like a check, a money regulate is a form of payment you can use to pay an individual or company. The recipient role can cash it or deposit it into a bank explanation .
Unlike a personal check, a money order is prepaid, so there ’ second less risk of having one leap. besides, money orders aren ’ t tied to your trust account, so using one doesn ’ triiodothyronine expose your account information to the hazard of falling into the improper hands .

How do money orders work?

You can normally purchase a money order worth up to $ 1,000, though that come may vary depending on where you buy the money arrange. There ’ s typically a small fee involved, which can besides deviate depending on where you purchase the money regulate .
You can purchase a money order with cash, a debit calling card or sometimes a traveler ’ s check. You can ’ t typically use a citation calling card to purchase a money club, but it may be an option with some merchants — though credibly at a higher tip .
once you purchase the money order, you ’ ll fill it out and give or send it to the recipient, who can cash or deposition it .

How much do money orders cost?

The price of purchasing a money order can vary based on the express of leverage and the issuer. In most cases, the tip is round $ 1 to $ 2, but if you purchase one from a bank, it can cost more. Be indisputable to shop around and compare fees to limit your costs, specially if you use money orders regularly.

Where can I get a money order?

You can buy a U.S. Postal money order at any post office. Pharmacies, convenience stores, grocery store stores, check-cashing stores and retailers may besides sell money orders from major issuers like MoneyGram or Western Union. Banks and citation unions besides tend to sell money orders .

What are some pros and cons of money orders?

money orders are traceable, so you ’ ll know when a money holy order is cashed. And they ’ re safer than cash, because they ’ re normally made out to person specific so that only they can cash the money order. You besides don ’ t need a bank report to get one and the funds are guaranteed .
But there ’ s a limit on the grimace total of a money order, and you have to purchase it in person. even if fees are low, they can add up over time if you use a bunch of money orders .

Do money orders expire?

generally, money orders don ’ t have exhalation dates. This means you should be able to cash a money order no matter how old it is .
But issuers may begin applying fees if a money order goes uncashed for a year or more. The fee can vary. For example, on money orders more than a year old, WesternUnion charges a $ 2-per-month avail tip for each calendar month after the inaugural 12 — up to a utmost of $ 144 .
U.S. Postal money orders are an exception — they never expire and never lose rate. The post agency will honor its money orders for the claim come printed on the document careless of how old the money ordering is .
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Some money order issuers to consider

here are some of the top money order issuers and the fees they charge .

Issuer Purchase fee Unpaid service fee
U.S. Postal Service Up to $1.75 None
Western Union May vary by location Listed on the back of the money order; kicks in after 1–3 years
MoneyGram May vary by location Listed on the back of the money order; kicks in after 1 year
Amscot None $2 per month, up to $144; kicks in after 1 year

What can I do if I have an old money order?

If you have an older money order and are concerned that fees may reduce the principal amount of the money order, you may be able to find out what service fees, if any, apply by looking on the money order itself. For case, MoneyGram puts service charge conditions and data on the back of its money orders. You may besides try contacting the publish party for more information about its policies and fees .
If you have an previous money rate and expect a big service fee, consider asking the person who gave you the money arrange to request a refund and send you a new one. A refund request may require a receipt and a work fee. But if the refund tip is less than the service fees you would face if you tried to cash the money ordain, it may be worth it to work something out with the sender .

Alternatives to money orders

If you want to avoid the electric potential drawbacks of a money order, including fees for waiting excessively long to cash it, there are some alternatives you could consider.

  • Peer-to-peer payment app — If you’re sending money to somebody and they have an account with PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, Cash App or any other peer-to-peer payment app, consider sending the money electronically. But this option may not work if your recipient doesn’t have an app or you’re sending payment to a company.
  • Cashier’s check — A cashier’s check is similar to a money order because it’s a prepaid financial instrument. The difference is that a cashier’s check is issued by a bank, which means you may need to have a bank account to get one. They’re also a bit more expensive. But cashier’s checks can have much higher limits than money orders, making them a better choice for larger transactions.
  • Wire transfer — If you’re sending money abroad, consider using a wire transfer. It’s typically more expensive but can get the money to the recipient faster than if you were to send a money order in the mail.

You have many ways to make payments, including money orders. As with any fiscal decisiveness, it pays to understand all your options before choosing how to make a requital .
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About the author: Ben Luthi is a personal finance freelance writer and credit cards expert. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and finance from Brigham Young University. In addition to Credit Karma, you can find his wo… Ben Luthi is a personal finance freelance writer and credit cards adept. He holds a bachelor ’ s degree in business management and finance from Brigham Young University. In accession to Credit Karma, you can find his wo… Read more.

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