Last Updated on August 17, 2021 by pf team
If you don’t have a checking account or if you need to make a payment with guaranteed funds you need a money order.
If you wonder, what is a money order? how to get a money order? or where to get a money order near me? then keep reading to find out the answers.
Fortunately, there are plenty of good places to get a money order and you’ll probably find several nearby.
What is a money order
A money order is a paper document you can use to make payments or send money to someone, similar to how you would use a check.
One big difference, however, is that money orders represent guaranteed funds for the recipient.
The provider guarantees the funds because you make the money order purchase in cash, in most cases, or by direct bank debit.
For people who don’t have a checking account, money orders can become a necessity, but money orders can be valuable in several other situations as well.
6 Reasons to use a money order
- Money orders are safer than sending cash. If a money order becomes lost, you may have some recourse. With cash, you have no protection.
- A money order creates a paper trail. If needed, you can find out when a money order was cashed and who cashed it. Money orders provide a record of payment.
- Money orders also protect your bank account number. A check lists your name, routing number, and account number, which are tools someone can use for fraudulent activity. Money orders keep your bank information private.
- You make the payment with guaranteed funds. Sometimes, you can’t use a standard check to make payment. For example, some landlords require you to pay the initial rental security deposit in guaranteed funds, like a money order or certified check. Money orders are usually less expensive than certified checks which makes them a good option.
- You don’t have a checking account. Some people don’t have a checking account at all. Money orders provide an affordable alternative when you need to send money to someone else. Money orders are widely accepted. Even the IRS accepts money orders.
- You’re sending money to another country. If you’re sending money to someone outside the US, a money order is among the safest and least expensive ways to send money to another country.
How to get a money order
- Choose a trusted provider. In the next section, you’ll find a full rundown of some of the best places to get a money order.
- Choose your payment method. Most providers accept cash or debit transactions. Some may accept credit cards but there may be a catch. The transaction might be treated as a cash advance, which usually has a different interest rate and rarely has a grace period. A cash advance fee may also apply. Unintentional cash advances can be difficult to pay off and are costly over time. You may also have lower borrowing limits for cash advance transactions.
- Tell the clerk how the amount you need for your money order. Expect to pay a fee for the money order, although the fees are usually inexpensive. For example, if you need to send $200, you might pay an extra dollar or two, depending on where you purchase your money order.
- Fill out the money order completely. Money orders may use different fields, but you should fill out all the fields intended for the purchaser. For example, a USPS money order has fields for the payee as well as their address. It also has fields for your name and address. In the memo field, indicate what the money order is for, like July rent, for example.
- Save your receipt. If there’s a problem with the money order or if the money order becomes lost, your receipt will prove invaluable if you need to cancel the money order or get a replacement.
Where to get a money order
From money service stores to pharmacies and supermarkets, you’ll probably find several good places to buy a money order within a short distance from home.
As one of the largest money order providers in the US, MoneyGram boasts thousands of locations and offers reasonable fees.
For a small cost of 70 cents, you can purchase a money order of up to $1,000. MoneyGram accepts cash or debit cards for money order purchases.
2. Western Union
The company famous for sending money to other cities or countries around the world also sells money orders — and the pricing is reasonable.
In most cases, you can expect to pay about $1 for a money order of up to $1,000. Western Union recommends using cash or debit cards to avoid credit card cash advance charges.
3. US Postal Service (USPS)
The USPS is the largest single source for money orders largely because of trust but also due to convenience. If there’s a gold standard for money orders it’s the USPS money order.
Having locations everywhere in the country is also helpful. Fees vary depending on the amount of the money order. You’ll pay $1.25 for a money order of up to $500.
Money orders between $500.01 and $1,000 cost $1.70. The USPS doesn’t accept credit cards for money order purchases.
Many banks and credit unions are moving toward electronic payment options but some still sell money orders. However, some banks only sell money orders if you have an account with that bank. Think of bank money orders as a convenience rather than their primary focus.
While pricier than some other options, Wells Fargo offers money orders for up to $1,000 at its locations. You’ll pay $5.00 for the money order and Wells Fargo accepts cash. You can also use your account funds to buy the money order.
With a Citi Priority Account or a Citigold Account, you won’t pay fees for money orders, although there may be transaction limits. With other types of accounts, money orders will set you back $5.00 each. Like other options, the limit for a single money order is $1,000.
If you have a Premier Plus Checking account or Sapphire account with Chase, you won’t pay a fee for money orders of up to $1,000. For other account types, the fee is $5.00, $3.00 less than a cashier’s check.
5. Credit Unions
Still the largest credit union in the US, Navy Federal Credit Union offers a wealth of services including money orders. However, money order fees are on the high side, with fees of up to $14.50. Service is provided through Western Union.
Similar to Navy Federal Credit Union, PenFed provides money orders through Western Union. Expect to pay $12.00 for a money order.
Many credit unions shy away from money orders or discourage purchase with high fees. Not so for SchoolsFirst FCU. You can purchase a money order with a low $1 fee and you can get a copy of a cashed money order for $2.
If you need to send money to someone in another country, there are some great online services that allow secure transactions.
While you can’t purchase physical money orders from WorldRemit, you can send money in several other ways and the money will get to where it’s needed much faster than through the mail. Fees start at $3.99 for amounts of up to $5,000, which is higher than some other services. However, WorldRemit offers more payment options, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and credit or debit cards.
Similar to WorldRemit, Xoom is a money transfer service but has several delivery options. Xoom can deposit the money directly into the recipient’s bank account. They also provide pick-up and delivery options. Xoom is a PayPal service, so you can use your PayPal balance in addition to bank transfers or credit cards to send up to $10,000. Xoom’s fees start at $2.99.
7. Department Stores
With nearly 5,000 stores throughout the US, Walmart offers a convenient solution when you need a money order fast. Fees vary by location but the most you’ll pay is 88 cents for a MoneyGram money order through Walmart. Payment methods include cash or debit card and you can purchase money orders of up to $1,000.
Money orders purchased at Kmart are Western Union money orders so you can be assured that they’ll be accepted nearly everywhere. Kmart allows money order purchases of up to $500. Fees vary but range from $1.25 or lower for a single money order. Bring cash or a debit card make your purchase.
If you need a money order for less than $500, your local CVS can be a great resource. You’ll pay 99 cents for a single money order and if you need to send more than $500, CVS allows multiple money order purchases. As with many money order providers, cash is king with CVS. Money orders are provided through MoneyGram, a trusted name in the business.
Similar to CVS, Rite Aid sells MoneyGram money orders. The price is even the same at both pharmacy chains. For 99 cents you can purchase up to $500 on a single money order and multiple money orders are allowed, with a daily limit of $2,999. Rite Aid only accepts cash for money order purchases.
If CVS and Rite Aid offer money orders, you might be wondering about Walgreens as well. Walgreens doesn’t sell money orders but they do offer money transfers through Western Union. In some cases, a money transfer might work just as well. Fees can be high, however. You can send up to $6,000 and fees begin at $11.00 per transaction.
9. Grocery Stores
If you live in Michigan or its neighboring states, you may have a Meijer store nearby. Meijer stores issue money orders through Western Union and fees are low at 65 cents for up to $500. Bring cash or a debit card.
Another well-known grocery store with Western Union money orders, Kroger stores charge $1 for a money order of up to $1,000. However, you can get a discount if you have a shoppers card. Kroger accepts cash, debit, or credit cards.
You can also buy Western Union money orders at Publix. The chain limits single money order amounts to $500 and your cost is 85 cents per money order. Publix has over 1,200 stores throughout the southeast.
With locations in 35 states, Vons offers another convenient source for money orders. The chain sells both MoneyGram and Western Union money orders and fees start at 89 cents. MoneyGram money orders have a limit of $500 while Western Union money orders are available for up to $1,000. Vons only accepts cash for money orders.
You can also buy Western Union money orders at your local Safeway supermarket. Rates begin at 59 cents per money order but costs can vary by location. Most Safeway Stores only accept cash for money orders, although some may accept debit cards as well.
Giant Food Stores
Giant supermarkets offer Western Union money orders but limits and fees can vary by location. Generally, you can expect to pay about $1 for money orders of up to $500. You have to pay cash for your money order at Giant.
10. Convenience Stores
Wherever you are, there’s usually a 7-Eleven nearby. The nationwide chain sells both Western Union and MoneyGram money orders, depending on the store’s location. Fees are based on the dollar amount and are also percentage based. You’ll pay a minimum of 65 cents for a money order but in some cases, you may pay up to 3% of the face value. 7-Eleven requires cash payment and limits single money orders to $500.
If you have a QuikTrip store nearby, you can buy a Western Union money order for $1.50. Limits are lower at $300 but a daily limit of $950 allows you to cover larger amounts with multiple money orders. QuikTrip accepts cash for payment.
11. National check cashing companies
ACE Cash Express
ACE sells MoneyGram money orders in amounts of up to $1,000, although limits may vary by state. Fees start at 89 cents per money order. ACE requires cash payment for money order purchases.
You can also purchase MoneyGram money orders at your local Advance America. With over 1,900 locations and fees beginning at $1.49 Advance America may be a good option. Advance America only offers cash as a payment option.
For less than $1, you can buy a money order at Check `n Go. The company boasts nearly 900 locations throughout the US.
Both MoneyGram and Western Union money orders are available through Speedy Cash. Cost varies by market.
Check Into Cash
Most stores offer Western Union services including money transfers and money orders. Expect amounts to follow Western Union agent limits of $1,000 per money order, although limits may be lower at some locations. Also, expect fees to run $1 to $2 per money order. Check into Cash accepts cash for money order purchases.
Money orders FAQ
Can I deposit a money order at an ATM?
In most cases, you can deposit a money order at an ATM just like you would deposit a check. Similar to depositing a check, you must sign the money order.
When you fill out your deposit slip, use the money order’s serial number as a check number. The serial number of each money order is unique.
How to correct a mistake on a money order?
Spelling mistakes are common on money orders. Someone might also make out a money order for the incorrect amount. Mistakes happen.
Once a money order is completed, it can’t be changed. However, you can usually get a replacement money order if you have the receipt for the incorrect money order.
Don’t try to fix the mistake yourself. The receiving bank may not honor a money order that has been altered.
Do money orders expire?
Money orders don’t have an expiration date but some providers may charge a fee if the money order isn’t cashed within a certain amount of time.
This fee reduces the value of the money order and continues to reduce the value as more time passes, so it’s important to cash a money order promptly if a fee applies.
This time-triggered fee is in addition to any fees you pay when you buy the money order but affects the recipient.
Can you buy a money order with a gift card?
You may be able to buy a money order with a gift card but a number of retailers don’t allow gift card purchases of money orders at all.
In other cases, gift cards default to credit rather than debit when you make a purchase, which can create another hurdle to buying a money order with a gift card.
Most retailers only support cash or debit card purchases for money orders because these payment methods allow the provider to guarantee the funds.
Can I use a money order to pay rent?
Many landlords happily accept money orders for rent payments. With a money order, he funds are guaranteed, so the landlord doesn’t have to worry about bounced checks or other issues that can arise when paying by check.
Be aware that some landlords may insist on US Postal Service money orders as opposed to lesser-known brands.
If your money order is lost or stolen before it reaches your landlord, you can often get a replacement, although you may pay a fee.
Can you stop payment on a money order?
With major money order providers, such as the US Postal Service or Western Union, you can stop payment on a money order that hasn’t been cashed.
Expect the process to take 30-60 days. In some cases, you’ll be issued a refund if your request is approved.
In other cases, the issuer will refund your purchase with another money order payable to you.
Expect to pay some fees either way. A money order that has been cashed can’t be cancelled. However, the issuer can often provide you with details regarding who cashed it and when.
Can a money order be canceled?
Stopping payment on a money order and cancelling a money order are really the same process.
You can usually cancel a money order that hasn’t been cashed yet but you’ll probably pay some fees.
You can also expect a delay if you’ve already mailed the money order. It may take up to 60 days or longer to get your money back if your cancellation request is approved.
However, if you just purchased a money order and still have the money order and receipt in hand, you can usually replace the money order with a new money order and cancel the old one.
Can I return a money order that has been filled out?
You can often return a money order that has already been filled out.
Depending on the refund policies of the issuer and the circumstances of the return, the process may be fast or it may take 60 days or longer.
Your bank or credit union can’t help in this case. Instead, take your receipt and the money order — if you have it — back you where you bought the money order. The issuer will walk you through their process.
Do money orders need to be signed?
The recipient must sign the back of the money order when they deposit the funds in their bank account.
Most money orders also provide a line for the sender’s signature but the sender doesn’t always have to sign the money order.
However, some banks won’t accept a money order that the sender didn’t sign. Bank policies vary. To avoid delays for the recipient, the sender should sign the money order if it provides a signature line on the front.
The back is reserved for the recipient’s signature and bank stamps.
Can you mobile deposit a money order?
While some banks allow mobile deposits of money orders, many do not and some may even charge a fee for declined deposits.
A safer option is to take the money order to your bank in person and make the deposit at the counter or at the drive-thru.
Most banks also allow ATM deposits because a person reviews the money order before crediting your account.
Final thoughts on money order near me
Buying a money order provides a safer way to send money. Cash can get lost in the mail or stolen. Checks aren’t guaranteed funds and may compromise private financial information.
These risks make money orders more attractive in some situations. However, there are some things to watch out for. Consider choosing a well-known provider, like Western Union, MoneyGram or the USPS.
These well-established providers have time-tested processes in place if your money order is lost or if there’s a mistake on your money order.
With face amounts of up to $1,000, having a way to fix a problem can be a big consideration. Fortunately, most retail locations offer money orders backed by one of these providers.