International money orders: Complete guide [2024]


There are several ways to send money abroad, including an international money order.

This is a pre-paid certificate you mail to your recipient, which they can then be cashed similarly to a check. You can receive and cash them in the US too, just in case someone in another country wants to send you a money order.

In this complete guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about sending global money orders. We’ll even show you a more convenient alternative – Wise – which is much quicker and easier than a money order, as you can do everything online – but more on that later.


What is an international money order?

An international money order is a paper document. You buy it for the amount you want to send, then mail it to your recipient in another country. They can then exchange the certificate for cash once it arrives.

There are pros and cons to consider with money orders. They are safer than mailing cash, and you don’t need to have a bank account to send or receive one. However, this method of sending money overseas can also be slow and expensive.

1 international money transfer fees

Does the US accept international money orders?

You can buy and cash in international money orders in banks, post offices, retail stores and even gas stations all over the world. This includes the US, where you can buy money orders from the US Postal Service (USPS), Western Union and MoneyGram.

Do banks do international money orders?

Some US banks do offer money orders, including Wells Fargo¹, Chase² and US Bank³. If you bank elsewhere, you’ll need to check with your bank whether they offer international money orders as a service.

pros and cons

How much does an international money order cost?

The cost of international money orders can vary, but you can expect to pay at least $10 - although it’ll likely be more. For example, USPS charges an issuing fee of $49.95 for money orders, and then there may be destination-specific processing fees on top of that⁴.

There’s also the exchange rate to consider. When the money order is cashed, whichever bank or provider processes it will apply their own exchange rate. This is likely to include a margin on top of the mid-market rate, so your recipient would receive less than you initially send.

3 transferwise as an alternative

Save a lot of hassle and money with a Wise account

Not sure about the cost or inconvenience of money orders? Wise offers a fast, cheap and easy way to make international payments.

Open a Wise account online, and you can start sending money all over the world. It takes just minutes to set up an account, and you can do it all online.

When you send money with Wise, you’ll only pay a small transparent fee⁵, and there’s no markup on the exchange rate.

Learn more about Wise

How do I get an international money order? (Step-by-step)

If you’re wondering ‘where can I buy an international money order?’, here’s the quick answer:

  • USPS Post Offices
  • Western Union branches (domestic orders only)
  • MoneyGram locations
  • Some banks and other authorized third-party providers such as Amscot.

Now, let’s look at how to fill out an international money order, in a few easy steps:

  1. First, double check that money orders are accepted in your recipient’s country. USPS has a handy list of countries that accept its international money orders.
  2. Choose where to buy an international money order, making sure you’ve compared fees and other costs.
  3. Gather the recipient’s details - you’ll need their name and address.
  4. Fill out the money order form with the amount you want to send, next to ‘pay to’ or ‘pay to the order of’. It has to be the dollar amount, as you can’t buy a money order in euros or other currency.
  5. Sign the form.
  6. Mail it to your recipient.

You should get tracking information from the issuer, so you can track your money order and make sure it arrives safely.

How do I deposit an international money order?

If you’re lucky enough to have received money from abroad, you’ll need to know how to cash an international money order. The good news is that it’s pretty much the same as cashing a check.

You’ll need to find a location that accepts it, sign the back and provide some ID. You may also need to pay any associated fees that the sender hasn’t already paid.

It’s also worth counting your cash before you leave, just in case there’s been a mistake.

Where can I cash an international money order?

You can cash international money orders at your local Post Office, as well as MoneyGram locations. It may also be worth asking your bank if they accept them, especially if it’s more convenient for you.

Which banks sell international money orders?

Some but not all US banks sell international money orders. Banks such as Wells Fargo, Chase and US Bank definitely do them, but you’ll need to check whether they’re limited to domestic (within the US) only. Other banks tend to offer international wire transfers as an alternative.

Does the Post Office cash international money orders?

Yes, you can cash international money orders at your local USPS-managed Post Office. Find your local branch here.

Does Walmart cash international money orders?

Surprisingly, Walmart will accept and cash international money orders, although some extra fees may apply⁶. You can find your local Walmart store here.

Are Western Union money orders international?

Western Union currently only lets you send domestic money orders. So, you can send them within the US but not to someone in another country.

Bottom line

International money orders are handy if you don’t have a bank account, and would prefer not to send cash in the mail. If you happen to have a Post Office nearby, you may even find it convenient.

However, they’re far from the cheapest way to send money overseas. There may be lots of extra fees involved, not to mention exchange rate markups. Money orders can also be slow, and there’s the extra hassle of having to buy, fill in and mail them in person.

If you’d like an easy, cheap and quick way to send money internationally, Wise could be the ideal alternative - especially as you can do everything online in just a few clicks.

Sources used for this article:

  1. Wells Fargo - Checking and Savings Help
  2. Chase - Additional Banking Services
  3. US Bank - Money Orders
  4. Money Transfers - Money Orders
  5. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing: Only Pay for What You Use for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.
  6. Walmart - Money Orders

Sources checked on 19 October 2022

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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