Can you buy money orders with a gift card in 2024

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Using money orders as a payment method is a good option and they are often considered preferable and more secure than checks. If you possess a gift card, you might be curious if it can be used to purchase a money order.

As gift cards are essentially equivalent to cash, you might wonder if it’s possible to buy a money order using a gift card. In this article, I will address whether you can do so and provide some advice on how to do so.

What’s a Money Order?

A money order is a similar payment method to a check. One key difference is that money orders are prepaid, which means they are only issued once the buyer pays for them upfront. Because of this, money orders are often considered more trustworthy than checks.

When purchasing a money order, specify the amount of money you want the order to be worth. This amount can be paid to the recipient named on the money order. Overall, money orders can be a secure and convenient way to make payments, particularly for transactions where checks or cash may not be feasible options.

Why get a Money Order?

Here are some reasons why buying a money order can be a smart choice:

  • Safe payment without a checking account: If you don’t have a checking account but need to make a significant purchase, carrying a large amount of cash isn’t safe. Money orders offer a secure alternative.
  • Receipt confirmation: You receive a receipt as proof of payment, ensuring you’ve paid the correct amount.
  • Non-bouncing payments: Unlike checks, money orders are prepaid, so there’s no risk of bouncing when you cash them.
  • Enhanced privacy: Money orders provide more privacy than personal checks because they don’t contain personal information, making them a better option when you want to protect your privacy while paying someone or a company.
  • Theft protection: Money orders are a secure payment method. Because you specify the recipient’s name, it’s difficult for someone to steal your money. You can also mail them safely if needed.

Drawbacks of buying money orders with gift cards

You can purchase a money order using a gift card, but there are drawbacks to keep in mind.

1. Additional fees

Purchasing money orders with gift cards can come with added fees, which is a significant downside. Besides the regular money order fee, certain stores might tack on an extra fee for using a gift card as payment.

These fees differ depending on the store and the gift card issuer. It’s crucial to ask about any extra fees upfront to avoid unexpected costs.

2. Limited acceptance

Before buying a money order, check if the store accepts gift cards as payment. Not all stores offering money orders allow payment with gift cards.

Some may only accept certain brands of gift cards. It’s a good idea to check the store’s policy or contact customer service to see which gift card brands they accept. This ensures your chosen store can take your gift card as payment.

3. Partial payment and split transactions

If the value of your money order is more than the value of your gift card, you might need another way to pay for the extra amount. Splitting the payment could be inconvenient and incur extra fees. It’s crucial to plan ahead and have another payment method ready to finish your transaction without any issues.

4. Gift card limitations

Certain gift cards have usage restrictions like expiration dates or limited acceptance locations.

Before getting a money order with a gift card, carefully review the gift card’s terms and conditions to confirm its suitability for this transaction.

It would be disheartening to discover after initiating the process that your gift card cannot be used for a money order.

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How much does a Money Order cost?

The cost of a money order varies depending on where you buy it. Typically, you can get one for $1.50 or less.

Some stores offer money orders for a fixed fee, while others charge a percentage of the amount. Some places may charge higher fees for money orders over a certain amount. Some banks provide free money orders, but usually, there’s a fee involved.

Can you buy a Money Order with a gift card?

Many places don’t let you buy money orders with gift cards, but some do with certain restrictions.

You can’t use store-specific gift cards (like CVS or Rite Aid) to buy money orders.

However, you can use pin-based prepaid cards with MasterCard or VISA logos. Examples include:

Money order issuers may process them as debit transactions.

To get a money order, go to a place that sells them, indicate who will receive the funds, and fill in the recipient’s name.

Money orders typically have limits between $500 and $1,000. If you need more, explore other payment options or buy multiple money orders.

Some places may ask for ID when buying a money order.

You can buy money orders in many places, but not all accept gift cards for payment. Most places only take regular cards.

However, a few places allow you to use a gift card to purchase a money order.

Here’s a list of places that accept gift cards for buying money orders.

Walmart

Walmart is a convenient option for purchasing money orders due to its widespread presence nationwide. Nearly 90% of the population resides within a 10-mile radius of a Walmart store.

Money orders can be bought from the Customer Service Desk or Money Services Center at any Walmart Supercenter or Neighborhood Market.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Fee: Maximum fee of $0.88, although exact fees may differ depending on location.
  • Limit: Maximum of $1,000 per money order.
  • Provider: MoneyGram.

USPS

The USPS is a convenient option for getting a money order, with approximately 31,322 retail Post Offices across the US. You’re likely to find one nearby.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Fee: $1.45 for money orders up to $500 and $1.95 for money orders between $500.01 and $1,000.
  • Limit: $1,000
  • Provider: They offer their own money order brand.

Western Union

Western Union offers more than just international money transfers. You can also get money orders at many agent locations. Use the tool on their website to find nearby places that sell money orders.

Enter your zip code, search, and filter the results by clicking “Money Order”. The map will then update to display Western Union agent locations where you can purchase money orders.

Please keep in mind that you can only use a gift card at certain Western Union agents that allow pin-based debit transactions.

Fees and limits may differ depending on the location, so it’s wise to call ahead and inquire about these details and whether they accept gift cards as payment.

  • Locate a Western Union branch here.

Places that don’t accept gift cards for Money Orders

There are several stores where you can’t purchase a money order with a gift card. These stores include:

  • 7-Eleven
  • Albertsons
  • CVS
  • Family Fare
  • Fred Meyer
  • Kmart
  • Kroger
  • Meijer
  • Publix
  • Rite Aid
  • Smith’s
  • Vons
  • Walgreens
  • Winn-Dixie

Are there any limitations on using a gift card to purchase a money order?

Certain stores restrict the maximum amount you can pay with a gift card. If the cost of a money order exceeds the balance on your gift card, you might have to use another payment method for the remaining sum.

How can I make the most of my gift card when purchasing a money order?

To maximize the value of your gift card, use it to pay as much of the money order amount as you can and then cover the remaining balance with another payment method. This way, you get the most out of your gift card.

The bottom line

If you own a prepaid gift card like Visa or Mastercard, you can buy a money order with it. This can help you convert gift cards into cash.

Before heading out, it’s wise to call Walmart, USPS, or your preferred Western Union branch to confirm if they allow purchasing money orders with gift cards at their location.