A money order is purchased for the amount desired from postal services; in this way, it is similar to a certified check. In Sunnyvale, money orders consist of two portions; one is the negotiable check for remittance to the payee, and a receipt or stub, that the customer retains for records. The amount is printed by machine or check writer on both portions, and similar documentation, either as a third hard copy or in electronic form, is retained with the issuer and agent locations in Sunnyvale.
It is commonly used for transferring funds to a payee who is in a remote, rural area, where many people may not use a bank account at all. Money orders are the most economical way of sending money for small amounts.