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When companies don’t accept personal checks, you might have to use money orders for payments, bills, or sending money. To find the best places to get a money order, consider exploring your options before choosing a provider.
A money order is a secure form of payment, similar to a check, where a specific amount of money is prepaid and then guaranteed by the issuer. To get a money order, you can visit a bank, credit union, grocery store, convenience store, or any place that provides check cashing or money services like MoneyGram or Western Union.
Simply go to the counter, provide the desired amount, and pay a fee. The issuer then prints a document detailing the amount and recipient. This money order can be given to someone else, who can then cash or deposit it like a check.
Where to get a money order
You can buy a money order from different places such as post offices, convenience stores, banks, credit unions, and retail stores like Walmart. However, it’s important to note that each provider has its own fees, costs, and limitations associated with their money orders.
1. Banks and Credit Unions
Banks and credit unions are reliable places to obtain a money order, provided your bank offers reasonable fees. Local banks like Wells Fargo charge $5 per money order, exceeding the typical fee of around $2. In contrast, Regions Bank provides money orders for a more affordable $2.
If your bank or credit union imposes higher-than-average fees, don’t fret. Other alternatives are available. If you hold a savings or checking account with the bank, you might be able to waive the money order fees.
2. Western Union
Western Union is commonly used for money orders, which are secure forms of payment. When you get a money order from Western Union, they typically limit the amount to $1,000 per order. However, the catch is that the fees for money orders can vary. Western Union doesn’t have a fixed fee for all its branches, as it can operate within different businesses like Kroger.
The fees might range from as low as $0.50 in certain locations to higher amounts elsewhere. It’s essential to inquire about the specific fees at the particular Western Union branch where you plan to get your money order. This way, you’ll know the exact cost before you proceed with the transaction.
3. US Postal Service
The United States Postal Service (USPS) offers an economical choice for buying money orders, particularly for amounts under $500. Here’s a breakdown of the fees:
- Money orders under $500 incur a fee of $2.00.
- For money orders ranging from $500.01 to $1,000, the fee is $2.90.
- Military money orders, regardless of the amount, carry a fee of $0.65.
It’s important to note that there are limits in place. USPS restricts domestic money orders to a maximum of $1,000 and international money orders to $700.
7-Eleven provides the service of issuing money orders at many of its locations. Similar to Western Union, the fee for this service varies based on the specific 7-Eleven store you go to. Generally, the fee falls within the range of 1% to 3% of the total value of the money order. Additionally, there is a maximum limit of $500 per money order at 7-Eleven.
5. CVS Pharmacy
CVS Pharmacy provides money orders, and they typically cost around $1.25, which is one of the more affordable options available. It’s important to note that CVS doesn’t specify the exact cost on their website, so it’s recommended to check with the specific store for the most up-to-date information.
Additionally, CVS sets a maximum limit of $500 for each money order transaction. If you’re looking for a straightforward and cost-effective option for a money order, CVS is a viable choice.
Safeway is a convenient option for obtaining a money order. They usually charge $1 per money order, and there’s a maximum limit of $500, although this limit might differ depending on the specific Safeway location.
If you reside in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, or Wisconsin and have a nearby Meijer store, you’re in luck. Meijer provides money orders at a cost of only $0.65 each. What’s even more convenient is that you can buy these money orders with your debit card, avoiding any extra fees.
Kroger offers a cost-effective option for obtaining money orders. If you’re a Kroger member, each money order costs $1, and if not, it’s $1.10. Generally, Kroger sets a $1,000 limit on money orders, but exceptions may be made in specific situations. To inquire about exceeding this limit, contact your local Kroger store.
Publix is more than a grocery store; it provides various financial services, such as money orders. Similar to Meijer, Publix is known for offering affordable money orders, charging between $0.89 and $0.99 per order, with a maximum value of $500.
At Walmart, the cost of a money order is $1 or less. The specific fee may vary by location but will never exceed $1. Additionally, Walmart places a limit on the value of money orders, capping them at $1,000, which is consistent with the standard practice at most places.
MoneyGram money orders are available for purchase at 26,000 locations, primarily found in convenience or grocery stores. Lisa White, the head of go-to-market strategy at MoneyGram, recommends these locations for acquiring a MoneyGram money order.
Keep in mind that processing fees and face value limits may differ at each location, so it’s advisable to contact the specific store beforehand to gather accurate information.
Additionally, MoneyGram provides online support for their money orders. This means you can request various services, such as obtaining a copy of your money order for proof of payment or initiating a replacement or refund process if the money order hasn’t been cashed.
12. Your local check cashing company
Check cashing companies, in addition to cashing checks, often offer money orders for purchase. To find a nearby location that sells money orders, simply search for “buy money orders near me,” and you’ll likely see multiple search results.
It’s crucial to compare the fees charged by these companies, as they can differ significantly. Keep in mind that check cashing companies typically have higher fees, so inquire about their charges beforehand to prevent any unexpected and expensive surprises.
Why use a money order?
Money orders offer several advantages, making them a preferred choice for certain transactions. Here’s why you might consider using a money order:
- Privacy: When making payments to individuals or businesses you’re not fully comfortable sharing personal information with, money orders provide a solution. Unlike checks that include personal details, money orders don’t, ensuring your privacy is maintained.
- Guaranteed Funds: Money orders are prepaid, eliminating concerns about a check bouncing due to insufficient funds. This guarantee provides a secure way to make payments without the risk of financial complications.
- Theft Protection: Money orders serve as a secure method for sending money to friends or family, even by mail. Specifying the recipient’s name on the money order makes it highly challenging for anyone to steal your funds, offering an extra layer of protection.
- Safety: If you don’t have a checking account but need to make a substantial purchase, carrying a large sum of cash is not advisable. Using a money order provides a safer alternative, allowing you to make significant transactions without the risks associated with carrying cash.
How do you get a money order?
To get a money order, first, choose the company where you want to buy it. Then, fill out a brief form with your contact information and the necessary details about the money order. After completing the form, pay the face value of the money order along with any applicable fees. The company will then print the money order for you.
Can you buy a money order with a credit card?
When you buy a money order with a credit card, it’s generally allowed by most credit card providers. However, it’s crucial to be aware that the transaction is typically treated as a cash advance. This means you may incur additional fees and interest, similar to withdrawing cash from an ATM using your credit card.
Where is the easiest place to get a money order?
One of the simplest places to obtain a money order is Walmart. Additionally, Kroger and the U.S. Postal Service are also convenient locations where you can easily get a money order.
What’s the difference between a money order and a check?
Here are some key differences between the two:
- Payment Method:
- Check: When you write a personal check, you are essentially instructing your bank to transfer funds from your account to the recipient’s account when they deposit or cash the check. The money is not immediately withdrawn from your account.
- Money Order: Money orders are prepaid instruments. When you purchase a money order, you pay the issuing entity (such as a bank or post office) the face value of the money order plus a fee. The funds are immediately taken from your account or paid in cash.
- Guarantee and Security:
- Check: The payment relies on the issuer having sufficient funds in their account. There is a risk of a bounced check if the funds are not available.
- Money Order: Money orders are generally considered more secure because they are prepaid. They are backed by the issuer’s guarantee that the funds are available.
- Check: Acceptance of a personal check depends on the recipient’s trust in the issuer and the issuer’s bank. Some people or businesses may be cautious about accepting personal checks due to the risk of insufficient funds.
- Money Order: Money orders are often seen as more secure, and they are widely accepted. They are often preferred for transactions where the recipient wants a guaranteed form of payment.
- Check: Writing personal checks is usually free, although some banks may charge fees for certain types of accounts.
- Money Order: Money orders typically have a fee associated with their purchase. The fee varies depending on where you buy the money order.
- Speed of Transaction:
- Check: The processing time for a check can vary. It depends on when the recipient deposits or cashes the check and the bank’s processing time.
- Money Order: Money orders provide a more immediate form of payment since the funds are already prepaid.
In summary, while both money orders and checks are used for transferring money, money orders are generally considered more secure and provide a quicker, guaranteed form of payment compared to personal checks. The choice between them often depends on the preferences of the payer and the payee, as well as the specific circumstances of the transaction.
Can I get a money order at CVS?
Yes, you can obtain a money order at any CVS store. They use MoneyGram for this service, and the maximum amount for a money order is $500. CVS charges $1.25 per money order.
Can you buy multiple money orders?
Certainly! If you require more than the maximum limit, typically $500 or $1000, for a single money order, you can buy multiple money orders. However, keep in mind that some places might ask you to complete extra paperwork before selling you several money orders.
To ensure a smooth process, it’s advisable to inquire about the specific policies of the location where you intend to make the purchase. Alternatively, for larger money transfers, you can explore the option of obtaining a cashier’s check, which is exclusively available at banks.
Alternatives to money orders
If you’re looking for alternatives to money orders, here are a few options to consider:
- Personal Check:
- A simple and convenient option if you have a checking account.
- Quick and easy to write, allowing you to send money to another person or company.
- Cashier’s or Certified Check:
- Ideal when the payee requires a guaranteed form of payment.
- With a cashier’s check, you pay the bank, and they issue the check from their account.
- Certified checks come directly from your account, but the bank certifies that the funds are available.
- Electronic Transfer:
- Reflecting the shift towards digital transactions in our society.
- Move money electronically between banks using methods such as mobile apps or wire transfers.
- Offers a quick and secure way to transfer funds without the need for physical paperwork.
Each of these alternatives provides different advantages, allowing you to choose the method that best suits your needs and preferences.
The bottom line
Money orders serve as a secure and convenient method for paying various expenses such as bills, rent, or utilities. They are also useful when you need a safe way to transfer money to family or friends, especially when you want to avoid sharing personal details with someone you’re paying.
Multiple companies offer money order services, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs. Opting for a retail store to obtain a money order can be advantageous, as it saves you the hassle of visiting a bank. You can conveniently purchase a money order while running errands like grocery shopping.
In summary, money orders are a reliable option for financial transactions, offering safety and flexibility. Choosing the right provider and obtaining a money order at a retail store can enhance your convenience and efficiency while keeping costs to a minimum.