How to fill out a money order in Canada

by Mark Cluett
7 min read

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • You can send a money order from the bank or post office up to a limit of $1000 CAD per money order
  • It’s essential to fill in all the details on a money order correctly since you cannot cancel or correct one once it’s completed.
  • Money orders protect the sender’s personal financial information

Are you looking for a safe yet efficient way of sending and receiving money that doesn’t involve digital transfers? Money orders provide an alternative non-electronic payment method that is safer than sending cash or cheques in one key regard.

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What is a money order?

A money order is a paper document akin to a cheque that one can use as a form of payment. It provides a safe means of payment for both the buyer and the seller.

The document is certified and allows you to send or transfer funds, pay bills, or make purchases without revealing your financial information.

Domestic money orders are used for making local payments in Canadian currency. You can also use international money orders for sending money or making payments to countries outside of Canada’s borders.

Why use a money order?

While there are several ways of sending money digitally, money orders still enjoy widespread use.

For buyers, sending money orders helps lower the risk of theft or loss. If a money order is stolen, you can cancel it before it’s cashed and get a new one. You can do the same for a lost money order.

It also reduces risks on the seller’s part since the amount is prepaid, and there are no chances of a money order bouncing. Additionally, one can not cash out a money order until they produce valid identification.

Where can you get a money order in Canada?

You may be wondering where to go for a money order. Most banks and Canada Post offer money order services.

To make out a money order, you will be required to pay by cash or debit card. Most institutions will not accept credit cards, and if they do, they’ll penalize you through higher charges for assuming that risk.

Typically, the bank or post office will charge you a fee between $4 and $8, depending on the size of the transaction and their own rates. A money order cannot exceed $999.99 CAD, meaning if you are sending larger amounts, you will have to make out multiple money orders.

When would you use a money order?

Electronic transfers can be easier, but money orders still have a role to play in certain circumstances.

When buying large items from a private merchant

If you want to pay large amounts of money to a private source, you may consider using a money order. Using a money order helps to avoid disclosing personal information. If you pay by cheque, you unwittingly disclose your financial information like account details to the seller. Electronic payments expose your contact details to thieves and are more susceptible to phishing scams.

When dealing with a private source, it’s best not to reveal too much personal information to protect your privacy. A money order does not require you to include your financial details. Therefore,it  helps protect you from identity theft and scammers.

When you are selling online

Selling some household items on Facebook or Kijiji is a helpful way to raise extra cash. However, there is a risk that the buyer may send you an unfunded cheque. It’s nearly impossible to track someone you don’t know and can’t physically locate. A money order helps in this regard since there is no risk of the payment bouncing. While many in this situation use electronic money transfers, money orders can be a useful alternative.

Repaying debt

If you’ve run into debt issues and have to repay through a collection agency, a money order may be safer. It lets you make your payment without exposing your bank details to the debt collector. Concealing your accounts helps mitigate the risk of unscrupulous agents draining your funds.

If you don’t have a bank account

If, for any reason, you don’t have or can’t access a bank account, money orders provide a good option for sending or receiving funds when you don’t want to deal in cash.

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How to fill out a money order

You need to fill in the following information:

Payees details

On the pay to section, indicate the receiver’s name as it appears on their government-issued ID.

Your details

You will also need to fill out the sender’s information, including your name and your address.

Amount

You will also need to include the full amount that you intend to send.

It’s important to remember that you can’t edit, cancel or change any information on a money order once you’ve made it out. If you make any alterations, however small, your recipient will not be able to access the funds.

When filling out the money order, remember to ensure that you correctly put in all details about the sender’s identity. The recipient can only cash in a money order upon confirmation of ID; if you make any mistakes on their name, the receiver can’t access the cash.

Who accepts money orders?

You can use money orders to pay for goods and services from private individuals. For example, some landlords will accept money orders for rental payments.

Additionally, you can pay for bills such as your insurance premiums. Check with your service provider if they accept money orders before sending.

When it comes to cashing a money order, most major financial institutions have no problem cashing equivalent money orders from other banks.

Where to get a US dollar money order in Canada

Getting a money order denominated in US dollars is possible, especially with the big five banks and Canada Post. If you need to make a USD money order, it may be best to contact your bank branch and ask for their specific requirements.

For example, BMO offers a US dollar money order service for free if you have a USD account with the bank. If you are not an account holder, you will have to pay a fee.

Final word

Money orders provide a useful payment method, especially when you want your financial information to stay private. You can use them for local payments or send money internationally. Remember to fill in the details correctly and don’t make any alterations to prevent yourself from voiding the money order.

The information provided herein is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal or financial advice.

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