Today, pretty much all of our financial transactions are done online – you pay your bills directly from your bank account using an app, send money to friends using Venmo and use Apple Pay to pay with your phone in stores. And yet sometimes you need to send someone money and the only way you can do it is through the mail.
Can you send money through the mail?
The short answer is yes, you can send money in the mail. But should you do it? The answer is more complicated, as there are some better and worse ways to mail money. First of all, you should never mail cash – the envelope with the money will have to pass by through many hands before it gets to the recipient and if the money is stolen at any point, you will have no way to recover it or prove that it was there in the first place. Secondly, don’t mail a regular check – if it falls into the wrong hands, the person can ‘wash’ the check to change the amount and steal a lot of money from you and they can even transfer your signature and banking information to a different check.
Best ways to send money in the mail
We’ve discussed the two methods you should never use to send money. But how to you actually mail money safely?
Send money in the mail by using a money order
Using a money order is one of the best and safest ways to send money in the mail. You can either get a money order at the post office, paying a fee of a little over or below $1.50 or you can get a money order at Walmart for less than $1. Mailing money using a money order is extremely safe, as it doesn’t have your personal information on it and it can only be cashed by the recipient at the post office or Walmart after they show their ID. Plus, money orders from USPS can be tracked online, so you can know when the recipient has cashed it.
Mail money by using a cashier’s check
Another safe way to mail money is to use a cashier’s check, which is a check you can get from the cashier at a bank. The best part about this check is that it’s guaranteed by the bank, so you only pay for the check when you buy it and when the recipient cashes it, the bank pays out the amount from its own assets. Plus, cashier’s checks usually have security features to protect them from being washed.
Use indelible ink if you have to send a check in the mail
If you absolutely have to send a personal check in the mail, make sure to write the amount using indelible ink, which can’t be washed. This way nobody can change the amount on the check and steal money from your bank account.
Disguise your check when mailing it
You should never send any type of a check in a plain white envelope – this way anyone can hold the envelope to the light and read the information on the check. Instead, buy a security envelope or put your check into a bubble mailer to protect it from prying eyes and from accidental damage.