July 16, 2024
Learn everything you need to know about sending money to inmates, including the different options available, how to evaluate them, and the legal and logistical hurdles involved. Discover the pros and cons of each method, explore the top-rated money transfer apps, and understand your choices for inmate financial services.


If you have a loved one in prison, one of the most important ways to help them stay connected and maintain a sense of financial independence is by sending them money. Whether it’s for buying necessities, paying for medical fees, or saving up for their release, sending money to an inmate can be a lifeline in a difficult situation. In this article, we’ll explore the various options available for sending money to inmates, including money orders, online services, cash, and inmate financial services. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each method, provide tips for choosing the most efficient and reliable way, and navigate the legal and logistical hurdles involved.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Send Money to an Inmate Using a Money Order

One of the simplest and most common ways to send money to an inmate is by using a money order. A money order is a document issued by a third-party vendor, such as a post office or bank, that represents a specific amount of money payable to a recipient. Here are the steps involved in sending a money order to an inmate:

Step 1: Obtain a money order. You can purchase a money order online or at a local post office or retail store.

Step 2: Fill out the money order. Write your name and address in the “payer” section, the inmate’s name and ID number in the “pay to” section, and the amount of the money order in the “amount” section.

Step 3: Attach a note. Include a brief message for the inmate, such as your name, relationship, and reason for sending the money.

Step 4: Mail the money order. Address the envelope to the inmate’s correctional facility, making sure to include the inmate’s full name, ID number, and facility address. You can also use a service like JPay to send the money order online.

Options for Sending Money to an Inmate: A Comprehensive Review

In addition to money orders, there are several other options for sending money to an inmate. Here’s a closer look at each option, along with its pros and cons:

1. Online services. Many companies offer online money transfer services specifically for inmates, such as JPay, Western Union, and MoneyGram. These services can be convenient and fast, allowing you to send money from your computer or mobile phone. However, they may charge high fees and have limited access to some facilities or states.

2. Cash. Some correctional facilities allow visitors to give cash to inmates during visits. However, this can be risky and may not be allowed in all facilities. It’s also important to note that cash can be lost or stolen more easily than other forms of payment.

3. Debit cards. Some correctional facilities offer debit cards or release cards that allow inmates to access their funds through an ATM or by making purchases at approved locations. These cards can be convenient and secure, but may charge fees or limit where the money can be spent.

Top-Rated Apps for Sending Money to a Loved One in Prison

If you’re looking for a faster and more convenient way to send money to an inmate, a money transfer app can be a good option. Here are some of the top-rated apps for sending money to a loved in prison:

1. JPay. This app offers a range of services for inmates and their families, including money transfer, email, video visitation, and educational materials. JPay charges various fees depending on the service, but can be a fast and convenient option for sending money.

2. Western Union. This well-known money transfer company also offers services for inmates, including money transfer and payment for phone or commissary accounts. Western Union provides a secure and reliable way to send money, but may charge higher fees than other options.

3. MoneyGram. This app offers similar services to Western Union and JPay, including money transfer and payment for phone or commissary accounts. MoneyGram can be a good option for transferring large amounts or sending money to multiple recipients at once.

Inmate Financial Services: Understanding Your Choices

In addition to sending money, there are other financial services available for inmates, such as trust accounts, release cards, and other money management tools. Here’s an overview of some of the most common inmate financial services:

1. Trust accounts. Many correctional facilities offer trust accounts that allow inmates to manage their funds, pay for approved expenses, and save money. These accounts typically have restrictions on withdrawals or transfers, and may charge fees for certain transactions.

2. Release cards. Some facilities offer release cards that provide inmates with a debit card pre-loaded with their release funds. These cards can be used to pay for transportation, housing, clothing, and other expenses associated with re-entry into society. However, they may have limitations on where they can be used or how much can be withdrawn at once.

Tips for Choosing the Most Efficient Money Transfer Method for Sending Money to an Inmate

When choosing a money transfer method for sending money to an inmate, it’s important to consider several factors, such as fees, speed, convenience, and security. Here are some tips for evaluating your options:

1. Compare fees. Look for services that offer competitive fees and fewer hidden charges.

2. Read reviews. Check online reviews and ratings to see what other users have said about each service before making your decision.

3. Check for restrictions. Make sure the service is available in the inmate’s facility and state, and that there are no restrictions on how the money can be used.

4. Avoid scams. Be wary of services that ask for personal information or upfront payments, as these may be signs of a scam.

Sending Money to Inmates: Navigating the Legal and Logistical Hurdles

Sending money to inmates can be a complicated process, with various legal and logistical hurdles to overcome. Here are some strategies for navigating these difficulties:

1. Understand the rules. Study the guidelines and regulations of the inmate’s facility and state to make sure you’re following all the necessary procedures.

2. Seek assistance. Get in touch with the inmate’s case manager, social worker, or other support staff to clarify any questions or concerns you may have.

3. Plan ahead. Allow sufficient time for processing and delivery, especially during holidays or busy periods when there may be delays.


Sending money to an inmate can be an essential way to support a loved one during a challenging time. By understanding the different options available, evaluating each method based on your needs and preferences, and navigating the legal and logistical hurdles involved, you can make the process smoother and more efficient. Take advantage of the various resources and tools available, and help your loved one maintain their financial stability and sense of hope for the future.

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