Money orders cannot bounce because each money order is guaranteed and backed by a third-party institution, such as a bank, credit union, or money-transfer company. Also, since money orders are prepaid, they are not linked to a bank account and cannot be “floated,” or sent without sufficient funds.
You can get a money order at a U.S. Post Office or your bank or credit union, as well as several grocery stores, convenience stores, and retail locations like Walmart. Regardless of where you purchase the money order, the issuer will guarantee it. Our related research lists places you can get money orders from each issuer, including MoneyGram and Western Union.
Exception for Fraudulent Money Orders
Although money orders should function exactly like cash once purchased, they can be subject to fraud and scams, especially internationally. The credit reporting company Experian explains that the cash-like nature of money orders makes them a favorite tool of con artists and forgers.
A money order may not clear if the place where you deposit or cash it suspects or confirms that it is fraudulent. You may be able to initially cash or deposit it, but once the institution realizes it is fake, it will either request that you pay back the cash or take the funds directly from your account (as previously reported).
To help you avoid this situation, we also explain how to verify that a money order is authentic.
More Information About Money Orders
For more details about how money orders work, see our money order FAQ.