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Where to buy International Money Order in UK?

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Oct 11th, 2009, 04:39 AM
  #1
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Where to buy International Money Order in UK?

Hi, we live in the UK and want to rent a cottage (through www.vrbo.com) in the USA. They have asked for a money order but after searching our bank website and the Post Office as well, I can't find anywhere that sells them. Is it possible to buy them in the UK?

Thanks for any help.
Kay
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Oct 11th, 2009, 05:08 AM
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I found the Moneygram service at the UK Postoffice - I don't know if that is of use? http://tinyurl.com/yhwoyne
Normal postal orders are not accepted in the US.
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Oct 11th, 2009, 05:09 AM
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The alternatives are Western Union, a bank transfer by IBAN/Swift or Paypal.
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Oct 11th, 2009, 05:22 AM
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Thanks hetismij,
I saw the MoneyGram idea but that sounds like it's an online transfer, which isn't what the cottage owners want. I have already suggested other options but this is their preferred method. Hope I don't lose the cottage, after so much searching.

What do you mean that 'normal postal orders are not accepted in the US'? Do you mean postal orders issued from another country are not accepted?
Kay
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Oct 11th, 2009, 06:14 AM
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You can do this very easily via the Western Union website.

I too live in England and have done this, though I tend to find it quite expensive.

If you don't want to do it online, there are several travel agents who offer the service - there's a First Choice next to where I work and they do money transfers via W U

Finally, your own bank will be able to arrange a money transfer as well using the IBAN system. I've done that too, though again the fees are quite high.

Best system is PayPal, but this won't work unless the other party has a PayPal account.

Good luck!
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Oct 11th, 2009, 06:21 AM
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Thanks but I'm not asking how to make the payment online. I know how to do that but the cottage owners in America want a money order. A money order is a piece of paper, like a cheque.

Are international money orders, in US$, available in the UK? And where do I get one?

Thanks, Kay
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Oct 11th, 2009, 06:26 AM
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Yes, they are, look up the Western Union office nearest to you.
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Oct 11th, 2009, 06:48 AM
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I've checked the Western Union website and they do not seem to offer money orders, only online transfers.

Anyone else?

Kay
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Oct 11th, 2009, 08:16 AM
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Ask your bank for an international DRAFT. It's the same as a cahsier's check in a foreign currency. Here in the USA, they cost about $5.00.
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Oct 11th, 2009, 08:33 AM
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While Western Union might not call it a money order it's essentially the same thing. You can do it either online or in person (in the US there WU is available at many grocery stores), but you have to get the other person's info as where they want to pick up their money. The charge in the US to send a money order via WU is $15 plus they ramp up the exchange rate about 5-7%.

11. How do I send money from an Agent location?
The sender initiates the transaction by completing a "To Send Money" form and paying the Agent cash to cover the transfer amount plus applicable fees. The Agent immediately processes the transaction.

To pick up the money, the receiver completes a "To Receive Money" form at any Western Union Agent location and provides proper identification. The agent then pays the transfer amount to the receiver.
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Oct 11th, 2009, 10:06 AM
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You're on the receiving end of typical American confusion.

USPS sells Money Orders, which are similar to British Postal Orders, but a bit more flexible. As far as I remember, they work more or less only in the US. Canada Post also sells Money Orders, which also work only in Canada, but they also sell International Money Orders which - depending on the currency you buy them in - can be redeemed in the UK or US.

So some Americans know about a thing called an International Money Order, and like those "International Unions" which are US unions with two affiliated members in Toronto, assume they're some kind of global system. They're not: in particular you can't buy them in Britain. British Postal Orders can be redeemed in branches of a few Commonwealth postal services - but not in the US

So your choice really lies in getting your bank to send them a wire (which for £500-£1000 rarely costs more than £15 or so: IMOs used to cost far more) or Western Union/Moneygram

I don't understand your point about Moneygram being "online". Though you CAN do it onlinhe, more often customers go to almost any Thomas Cook or larger post office (disgracefully , there's been a strong bias under this government to restricting services like this to government-run post offices, but input Moneygram onto the Post Office site and it'll give you your nearest branch with the technology), give them the cash and five minutes later it'll be available for your payee at a nominated outlet (which doesn't have to be a post office).

Moneygram and Western Union operate virtually identically (WU operates in the UK mostly through convenience stores). They're costlier and clunkier than a bank, but faster and leave no audit trail a tax inspector might investigate. All are cheaper and faster than IMOs used to be.

It's probably easier and cheaper for you to wire through a bank - even if you pay the payees's costs. But the reason they want an IMO is probably to hide the transaction from the taxman, so they'll probably insist on WU/Moneygram.

If you agree to that, be aware that under UK money laundering laws you need to take ID, with your address, to the WU/Moneygram office to send the money.
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Oct 11th, 2009, 10:38 AM
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Lots of clearing banks sell international money order in a number of currencies. Typically it will be a cheque drawn on a partner bank, in your case, in US, and can be paid in by cottage owner just like an ordinary check. I bought one from HSBC, for around £15 - you don't need to be an account holder.
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Oct 11th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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And you just post/mail it to cottage owner in US.
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Oct 11th, 2009, 10:48 AM
  #14
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Thanks all, this is interesting. Flanneruk, your explanation is particularly enlightening.

On reflection, it seems an old-fashioned way to do business and we are not entirely comfortable with it. When it comes time to get our damage deposit back, does the owner have to get a money order in British pounds and then mail it to us. Very cumbersome when online banking exists.

I have emailed the cottage owner and asked if we could pay by another method and am waiting to hear.

Kay
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Oct 11th, 2009, 11:20 AM
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The owner should give your deposit back when you are departing the apartment and it will be in USD. It's very common for owners in the US and Europe to handle payments through services such as WU.
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Oct 11th, 2009, 11:41 AM
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Using WU for fraud is common on-line and so I personally wouldn't trust anything like Western Union unless I was sending money to people I PERSONALLY know as there's no comeback if the goods or services that are to be provided don't happen.

Google "western union fraud" to see how easy it is to use WU to commit fraud
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