The U.S. Postal Service’s unassuming money order product actually has quite a distinguished history. The government established the United States Money Order System in 1864 as a safe way for Union soldiers to send money home to relatives.

A century and a half later, Americans still find money orders valuable. Last year, over 6 million American households purchased about 100 million of them with a face value of roughly $21 billion. Money orders – among the Postal Service’s most profitable products – generated $159 million in revenue in fiscal year 2015.

But postal money orders have been in major decline over the past 15 years, primarily because of alternatives from other providers and a broad shift toward electronic forms of payment. The total volume of postal money orders dropped 60 percent since 2000.

The Postal Service can reverse that trend, but the time to act is now. Our recently released white paper, Modernizing the Postal Money Order, offers insights on how the Postal Service might bring money orders into the digital age to boost revenues and better serve American consumers and businesses. 

Improving money order sales is certainly achievable. We found that 1,100 high-volume post offices increased money order sales by at least 10 percent in the past 3 years. Our paper identifies some retail best practices the Postal Service could implement to boost sales of money orders, particularly at these high-volume post offices. One suggestion would be to have a window dedicated to selling money orders.

Our paper also suggests the Postal Service:

  • Sell paper money orders through digital channels, such as USPS.com and the USPS mobile app.
  • Introduce an electronic version of the money order, as many foreign posts have done. Customers could use such a product to pay bills, make person-to-person payments, or make ecommerce purchases.
  • Assign a strategic manager to help modernize and stabilize this important product

Please answer our poll question, and share your thoughts below on what else the Postal Service could do to modernize and improve the money order. 

 

 

 

Comments (4)

  • anon

    It's not convenient to go to the post office every time I have to send a money order. I would love to be able to do it online, and have the recipient get a notice and redeem it at their local post office.

    Apr 12, 2017
  • anon

    How does the post office justify raising international shipping prices so high? 2011- 1oz package to international was about $1.75 2016- 1oz package international is about $13.00 This is killing made in America. Online sellers no longer have an affordable shipping service to ship their products. International purchasing has all but stopped. We used to sell about 40% of our online sales to other countries. Since the last price increase at the beginning of 2016 our international sales have dropped to about 5%. THE USPS is killing our business! All these increases are being done while fuel is at decade lows! NO REASON FOR THESE INCREASES! Congrats the Usps is killing the small business owner! What a joke America!

    Apr 10, 2016
  • anon

    I voted for ordering paper money orders online or through the app but actually I would use both of these services if they were both available I think both are great ideas

    Apr 04, 2016
  • anon

    I have recently discovered a Series of 1939 Postal Saving System. This certificate of deposit was issued July 3, 1943, in Phila. Penna. (Station C) for $5.00. The certificate serial number is C 29237 I want to redeem the certificate for the amount of $5.00 and the 2 per cent interest per annum according to the terms of the certificate. Thank You Albert G. Dewey

    Apr 04, 2016

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