Where Can You Get a Money Order?

Post offices, retail businesses, and financial organizations such as banks and credit unions all accept money orders. In most cities and towns, you ought to have multiple sources available nearby. Here’s a fast overview of your options and some tips for making payments.

Places to shop for Money Orders

When you’re deciding where to urge a money order, give some thought to fees, service, and site. Each option will involve compromises; your decision will be based on whatever considerations are most important to you.

Retail Stores

Money orders are often accessible at supermarkets, big-box retailers, pharmacies, and convenience stores. While out and about, look for a MoneyGram or Western Union emblem at places like CVS, Kmart, Safeway, Publix, Kroger, Meijer, and 7-Eleven. The cost of obtaining a money order varies by the retailer; at Walmart, the maximum price is $1, although rates may vary at various locations. When you buy money orders from other retail establishments that provide this service, you should anticipate spending $1 to $2 (or even less) per money order. Note: If convenience or affordability is the most important factor to you, you should probably urge a money order at a retail business.

Banks and Credit Unions

Your bank is also a good choice for money orders. Banks often charge their account users a fee for each money order, which ranges between $5 and $10. However, if you have a top-tier account, they will waive the price for you. Buying a postal order at a bank may cost a few dollars more than buying at the store, but if you simply buy money orders occasionally, the difference won’t amount to much. For more frequent purchases, you’ll likely want to find an alternative. The key advantage of a bank or credit union money order is customer service—they can help you trace the money order. Note: Some banks may only offer cashier’s checks rather than money orders, but your payee won’t care which one you use. Make certain to check with them before you buy them.

U.S. mail 

U.S. mail (USPS) money orders are another good option. They need a reputation around the world for being safe. However, getting a USPS postal order can be hard—not all post offices issue money orders, so call ahead to verify. Whether or whether yours does, you may find yourself standing in line. Money orders from the US Postal Service cost $1.45 for sums up to $500 and $1.95 for amounts between $500.01 and $1,000. As of August 30, 2019, USPS does not issue or accept money orders between the U.S. and Canada.

Money Stores

Money orders may be sold by establishments that cater to money (other than banks and credit unions). Western Union agencies, payday lending stores, and other money transfer services are frequently nearby as well. Some websites promise that you can get money orders online, but it is often difficult and even risky. It’s important to figure out with a business that both you and your payee trust—you don’t want to get scammed, pay an excessive amount, or have your payee worry about whether or not the cash order is legitimate.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of a money order varies according to location. Banks often charge higher fees than retail establishments. Confirm that issue limits might mean you have to buy multiple money orders, paying the fee for everyone. For instance, if you would like to send someone $3,000—and the utmost money order issue amount is $1,000—you’ll have to pay three fees to get three money orders.

How to Buy

Before you purchase, ensure you know whom you’ll be paying and how much money you’ll need.

Payment Options

You sometimes need to pay with cash or a debit card to purchase a money order. You can’t usually just write a private check or use a credit card to buy a money order since issuers don’t know if your check will bounce or if you’ll submit a chargeback with your card issuer. As a result, money orders are only issued when guaranteed monies are paid. Some issuers claim that you simply can use a credit card to buy a money order, but you’re probably just getting an advance from your card. Cash advances are typically an upscale way to borrow because they come with hefty fees, and MasterCard companies charge high-interest rates on those balances.

Filling Out the Form

To complete a postal order, you would like to know who it’s payable to. Provide a selected name for the person or organization you’re paying, and avoid making money orders payable to cash. The method of filling out the form is similar to writing a check.

Consider Alternatives

There could also be better tools than a money order for making payments in your situation. Money orders frequently accomplish the job, but they are expensive to acquire and are generally inconvenient to obtain in person. You have little choice if a vendor or receiver forces you to use a postal order, but if you have the option to pay in another manner, it’s worth exploring. Note: You’ll have greater options if you’re utilizing money orders as a substitute for a private checking account.

Checking Accounts

Consider whether it is worthwhile to create a bank account. Many banks and credit unions provide free checking, so you won’t have to pay any fees. Whether you wind up paying small fees or not, a checking account can save you a lot of time and money if you’re already paying fees (and standing in line) to buy money orders.  

Prepaid Cards

If employing a bank isn’t an option for you (or if you prefer not to work with banks), prepaid cards offer a variety of the same features as checking accounts—without the need to pay bank fees or get approved. You’ll be using these accounts mostly to pay bills, which may imply fewer money orders in the future. Some even provide check writing services or cash back.

Keep That Receipt

Keep your receipt until you’re positive you won’t require a refund, no matter where you purchase a money order. If the cash order goes missing or your plans change, you’ll probably need that receipt to have the money order canceled. Without it, you’ll be out of luck or face additional delays and costs to urge you for a refund.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the purpose of a money order?

Money orders are a kind of guaranteed payment. You give a bank or other issuing institution the money order number plus a charge to generate a check made out to your recipient that the issuer insures. This provides the payee more assurance that your payment will not bounce than a personal check.

How do I keep track of a money order?

Contact the bank or corporation that issued it to find out whether a money order has been cashed. You must visit in person or call over the phone, and you must have the money order number and amount with you. You should expect to pay the price for this service.

What is the procedure for canceling a money order?

In some circumstances, such as when a postal order goes missing, you must cancel the payment and receive a refund. Contact the issuer and submit the money order number and amount to cancel a money order. You may also be required to present a receipt, in which case the issuer will levy a cancellation fee.

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