What you need to get a money order will vary slightly depending on the issuer you choose. We contacted representatives for MoneyGram, Western Union, the United States Postal Service (USPS), Amscot, and several banks to find out more about their requirements.
All of the representatives we spoke with said that there is no need to explain the purpose of your money order to the agent or cashier. However, you may need to present a photo ID. When required, acceptable forms of ID include:
- Driver’s license
- State-issued ID card
- Military ID
- Permanent resident card
There are portions of the money order that you must fill out yourself (as previously reported), but the clerk will enter the amount electronically and print it onto the money order.
While it is not a requirement, you may want to write down the money order amount and hand it to the clerk to help avoid possible keying mistakes as they enter the amount into the machine. If you or the clerk make a mistake, our related research explains how to correct a mistake on a money order.
Below, we provide more specific information about what you will need to get your money order at each issuer:
MoneyGram and Western Union
At a MoneyGram or Western Union retailer, let the clerk know you want to purchase a money order and have your payment ready; our related research lists the acceptable payment types at over 50 money order agents. Most (but not all) agent locations require you to present your government-issued photo ID.
USPS follows a similar process to MoneyGram and Western Union; tell the associate the amount you need, and provide acceptable payment. Representatives did not state that an ID is required, and it is not listed in the USPS money order requirements online. The clerk may, however, ask you to fill out the money order in front of them at the counter.
Amscot offers free money orders, so you will only need to pay the exact amount of the money order at the time of purchase. The cashier may request that you present a photo ID. You may also be asked to provide your Social Security number when purchasing a money order, customer service representatives said.
Many banks will require money order purchasers to have an account at the issuing bank; we found that the following banks require an account:
- Chase Bank
- Fifth Third Bank
- TD Bank
- U.S. Bank
- Wells Fargo
The following banks sell money orders to non-account holders:
- Bank of America
- Bank of the West
- Citizens Bank
- M&T Bank
- Regions Bank
Typically, banks also ask for a current photo ID to complete a transaction. Bank identification requirements will vary, so it’s best to check with your local branch for specifics.
For more details about money orders and how they work, see our money order FAQ.