US Postal Money Order

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US Postal Money Orders (USPMO) are one of the most private payment methods on Bisq, currently only available for use on Bisq within the United States.

This article covers tips and tricks on using this payment method for buying and selling bitcoin on Bisq.

Setting up a payment account in Bisq

To buy and sell bitcoin using US Postal Money orders, you will need to set up a corresponding payment account in Bisq.

Things to keep in mind:

  • It is okay to use a fake name and address in a USPMO account on Bisq only if using the account will be used to buy bitcoin. This is because a USPMO is a bearer instrument—as long as the money order itself is valid, it doesn't matter who sent it or what the sender's address is.
    • Consider using an online name generator (search "random name generator" on your favorite search engine) for a more bias-free suggestion for the sender's name.
    • For the sender's address, you may want to be more careful, because if your envelope is returned, you'll want to be able to retrieve it.
      • Option 1 - Use an actual fake address (search internet for "random address generator"). If your envelope is returned for any reason, you'll probably lose it for good.
      • Option 2 - Use another address: that of a neighbor, a friend, or a nearby building (e.g., apartment leasing office, local mom-and-pop shop, etc). This way, you'll have a higher chance of retrieving a returned envelope, but you'll reveal a bit of information about your location.
  • If selling, name and address must be correct (address must be correct in order to receive the envelope, and name must match photo ID to cash it).
  • To maximize privacy, consider setting up 2 separate payment accounts: one with fake information for buying bitcoin and one with real information for selling bitcoin.

Again, please note that incorrect information in Bisq payment accounts is generally against Bisq trade protocol. Buying bitcoin with USPMO is a rare exception.

Buying the money order

It is highly recommended to use cash to buy the USPMO. Using any other electronic form of payment adds a form of tracking to the transaction, which can defeat the purpose of using the USPMO in the first place.

If you're not buying more than $3,000 of money orders in a single day, the USPS does not require photo ID. If asked for ID, kindly remind your cashier that ID isn't required (perhaps you left it at home?).

Also consider:

  • asking for a printed receipt, in case of a dispute on Bisq
  • wearing sunglasses and/or a mask
  • placing the USPMO out of sight upon receiving it, and filling it out elsewhere (away from cameras)

Sending a money order in the mail

Figure 1. Extra paper for extra privacy in the envelope.

Address the envelope as appropriate.

When putting the money order in the envelope, consider adding a blank sheet of paper for an additional layer of privacy. Fold a blank sheet of paper in half twice (to form a “V” shape). Place the folded sheet in the envelope with the opening facing up. In between the “V” opening, place the USPMO (see Figure 1). This extra layer of paper makes it harder to see the envelope's contents from the outside.

After dropping your money order in the mail, don't forget to mark your payment as sent in Bisq!

Redeeming a money order

For cash

In order to redeem a money order for cash, you'll need to present photo identification that matches the name on the USPMO.

Keep in mind that the cash you can receive may be limited to the amount of cash the cashier has in their drawer—to receive larger quantities of cash, you may need to go to different locations or go back at different times.

One user has reported a workaround involving spreading the transaction to other counters at the post office:

The first time I visited the Post Office to "cash out" my money order someone sent me in Bisq, I think it was for the amount of $1,000 USD. The Teller told me she doesn't have that much money to help me redeem it. But then, instead of sending me away to my bank to deposit it there, she called out to her co-workers down the line, asking each of them how much each currently had in their drawer. Whereas she had (I forget the exact amounts now) maybe $200 in her drawer, the neighboring teller said she had $300 and the next Teller over said he had about $700. So, my Teller took my $1,000 money order, gave me the $200 in her drawer, printed me a new money order for the difference of $800, and sent me to see the next Teller. Then, that 2nd Teller accepted my $800 money order, gave me her $300 in her drawer, and printed me the difference of $500 as a new money order. Finally, the 3rd Teller used the $700 in his drawer to fully redeem my $500 money order. I had to hop three Tellers, one after another, paying the fee for each money order printed along the way, but I walked out of the Post Office with $1,000 cash in that one visit.

For new USPMOs

Another option is to redeem the USPMO you receive for another USPMO. Some cashiers will claim this isn't possible, but it is. Gently call a manager or colleague to help in case your cashier doesn't cooperate.

Why redeem a USPMO for another USPMO? Because a USPMO is almost as good as cash—you can mail USPMO to billers to pay bills (without banks!), for example.