For anyone who has ever needed an alternative to paying by check or cash, there are money orders. Think of a money order as a secure and safe method of payment that delivers guaranteed funds to the recipient. The only downsides to them are that it is more difficult than it was in the past to find a money order, and some of the places selling them exorbitantly charge customers for the convenience of buying them. As we will explore in this article, there are still enough reputable places out there from which to purchase a money order.
Several of these are likely within easy driving distance of your house. Most grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, big box retailers (like Walmart and Kmart), convenience stores, and post offices in the state and country still sell them. It is very likely that you will find one of these convenient locations near your home when you are looking to buy a money order.
What is the Cost of Money Orders?
One thing that is inconsistent from one money order to the next is how much the providers charge for them. Every firm which issues them has its own price. Some of these will assess a flat fee while others will collect some percentage of the dollar amount in the money order itself. There are a few banks that provide their customers with free money orders, but in most cases today, expect to pay some kind of a fee to acquire one.
How Do I Pay for a Money Order?
The majority of locations and outlets that sell these money orders will only take cash or debit cards as accepted forms of payment. You should ask your local store to obtain information particular to their branch.
Money orders are a good means of paying money you owe to individuals or for bills. It is often a better way to go than simply using cash as money orders can be tracked and traced. They are safer too, since the majority of venders will want to see some form of ID before they sell you one.
How To Get A Money Order
There are several important steps to acquiring a money order besides picking out a provider. These are as follows:
- Select a provider who you trust. The following section is full of companies from which to choose.
- Select a method of payment. The majority of providing companies will take either debit cards or cash. Credit cards will likely incur a cash advance transfer fee at a higher interest rate. Beware running up accidental cash advance fees that can cost major interest payments over the years.
- Let the clerk know the amount of this money order. There will probably be a fee associated with the convenience of getting one, though these fees should not be high. As one example, if you purchase a $300 money order, the fee might be from one to three dollars. This depends on from which company and provider you obtain your money order.
- Fill in the money order in its entirety. They may have various fields that you feel do not apply, but it is still a good idea to fill them all in if they are meant for the purchaser party. United States Post Office money orders have fields for the person whom you are paying, including their address. They also provide fields to include your own name and address. A memo field will allow you to list what the money order is to be used for, such as a rent payment.
- Be Sure to Save Your Receipt. In case you suffer any problems with this money order, or worse still it gets lost, the receipt will be critical and necessary in order to cancel out this particular money order and receive a replacement one.
Where To Get Money Orders Near You
The good news is that there are still an enormous range of places from which you can obtain a money order today even if these are fewer than they once were. Several of them will likely be only a little distance from home by car. We look at an extensive list of reputable places from which to purchase them here next.
US Postal Service (USPS)
The United States Post Office remains the biggest source of money orders thanks to the trust that people place in them and the convenience their thousands of different locations offer (in literally every single city and town across the nation). The USPS is the undeniable gold standard in the money order industry, which is why we list it first here.
The charges vary per the dollar amount in your particular money order. The sliding scale is $1.25 for one as much as $500. For money orders that range from $500 to $1,000, the cost rises to $1.70. The Post Office will not take credit cards for money orders.
Western Union has a long, historic, stored tradition of sending money to other nations or cities across the globe. They also sell money orders at reasonable prices. Anticipate paying around $1 for a money order valued as much as $1,000. They recommend that customers pay with debit cards or cash to save on expensive credit card cash advance fees.
MoneyGram remains among the biggest providers of money order anywhere in the United States today. They offer literally thousands of individual locations and provide fees that are imminently reasonable. The price is only seventy cents to obtain a money order that ranges up to $1,000 in face value. MoneyGram is convenient in accepting both debit cards and cash for these purchases.
A great number of banking institutions as well as credit unions have made a transition over towards all electronic payments, yet a few are still offering money orders to customers. With many banks, they will only sell money orders to customers with accounts at the bank though. This makes the money order a customer convenience. We look at the three largest banks’ money order policies next.
Wells Fargo – Wells Fargo provides money orders as high as $1,000 at every location of the bank. The cost is a heftier $5 per money order in cash. You can have the fees directly debited from your in-house bank accounts as well.
Citi – Holders of either Citigold Accounts or Citi Priority Accounts can receive free money orders. Other account holders pay $5 per money order. Limitations on individual money orders are for $1,000 maximum.
Chase – The Premier Plus Checking account and Sapphire accounts provide free money orders for as much as $1,000. Other account holders pay $5, which is still $3 less expensive than their proprietary cashier’s checks.
Navy Federal Credit Union – is the biggest individual credit union in the country. As one might expect, they provide many different customer services like money order purchases. Their money order costs are pricey though, ranging as high as $14.50 per money order. The service comes in the form of a Western Union money order.
PenFed – offers a similar service to previously mentioned Navy Federal Credit Union. Pen Fed delivers Western Union-backed money orders at a higher end of $12 for each one.
Schools First FCU – SchoolsFirst FCU is one of the credit unions that has not walked away from money order services. The fees per money order here are only $1. For another dollar, you can receive a copy of the cashed money order.
Sending money to an individual living in a different country can be done online through the terrific resources that permits highly secured transactions. We look at the best known versions of these companies next.
WorldRemit – You can not buy a literal physical hard money order from WorldRemit, but you are able to send an individual a money order to another country. The fees for this service run from $3.99 on dollar amounts up to $5,000. WorldRemit also delivers other forms of payments like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and debit cards or credit cards.
Xoom – Xoom is much like WorldRemit in its capacity as a money transfer service company, yet it also offers a few differing options for the delivery of funds. They can direct deposit the money into the bank account of the recipient. They will also make available other delivery and pick up choices. Xoom is a service of powerful platform PayPal, allowing you to utilize your PayPal balances besides bank account transfers and credit cards to dispatch as much as $10,000. Their fees are reasonable too, beginning at only $2.99 per transfer.
Big Box Retail Stores
It should not come as much of a surprise that companies such as Walmart which bill themselves as all things to all people everywhere would be in the business of selling money orders as a convenience to their shoppers.
Walmart – The behemoth counts around 5,000 individual outlets around the United States. Their convenient money order service never costs more than 88 cents to obtain one of their Money Gram partner money orders. They accept payments from either debit cards or by cash and allow you to buy as high as $1,000 money orders in their stores or online.
Kmart – the one-time monster-sized big-box retailer may be in terminal decline, but it still counts 70 remaining stores, one of which could be in your hometown. They sell Western Union-backed money orders which means that you can count on practically every place taking them. You can only buy $500 or lower the amount of money orders, which is a disadvantage over most other money order sellers. The fees will range from one location to another, but they are generally under $1.25 for one order. You can pay with a debit card or cash in hand.
Pharmacies are also offering convenience for their shoppers at their customer service counter. For most of the major pharmacy chains, this includes the sale of money orders. We look at these options next.
CVS Pharmacy – For money orders under $500, your neighborhood CVS is a great choice. They only charge .99 for individual money orders and allow multiple purchases of them. MoneyGram is their provider ensuring that the money order will be taken everywhere. They will accept cash alone for payment here.
Walgreens – Walgreens will not sell customers money orders. Yet they do provide money transfer services in-store through their partner Western Union. The money transfer could work equally well as a money order depending on your particular needs. The fees are hefty at $11 for as much as $6,000 in a single transaction.
Rite Aid – Much like their arch-competitor CVS, Rite Aid also sells MoneyGram-based money orders. Ironically, they charge exactly the same amount as their competitor too. At only 99 cents, you can buy as much as $500 per money order with purchases of many money orders permitted. They do have a one-day limit of $2,999. Rite Aid is strict in only accepting cash for these purchases.
A number of major grocery store chains got into the convenience services business for their shoppers in a real effort to compete with other one-stop shops like Walmart. We look at these next.
Publix – your neighborhood Publix is happy to sell Western Union-backed money orders. This rapidly expanding chain does have a limit on their individual money orders amounting to $500, with a fee of 85 cents each money order. The company counts more than 1,200 individual Publix stores around the southeastern United States.
Kroger – Kroger is yet another famous grocery store that delivers Western Union-backed money orders to shoppers. They only charge $1 for their as much as $1,000 money orders. If you use a Kroger’s Shopper’s card you can get them for less. They set themselves apart from the competition in this field by taking credit cards alongside debit cards and cash here.
Vons – Vons has stores in fully 35 states. They make it convenient and easy to get your local money orders for tens of millions of Americans. The chain is also somewhat unique in offering rival company money orders from Western Union and MoneyGram. Their fees are cheap at as little as only 89 cents. While the Western Union money order offer as much as $1,000 per piece, the MoneyGram ones max out at $500 limit. Vons will only allow customers to pay cash for their money orders in store.
Safeway – Your hometown Safeway is also happy to sell you a Western Union-backed money order. Their prices are so cheap at 59 cents apiece, though this price may be higher at some of their store locations. The majority of Safeways will only take cash in lieu of payment for the money orders, but some of them also take payment in the form of debit cards.
Giant Food Stores – The Giant supermarkets provide Western Union branded money orders. They are limited in maximum amount and have varying fees per store location. You should anticipate paying around $1 per order and be able to purchase them as high as only $500. The store only accepts cash for these guaranteed payment instruments.
Meijer – Online Resource: meijer.com – For residents of Michigan and surrounding states, Meijer stores are generally close by. These outlets issue Western Union branded money orders with cheap fees starting at 65 cents per order that can range up to $500 in face value. You can pay with either a debit card or cash in hand.
The largest chain of convenience stores 7-Eleven offers money orders, but so do some of their smaller rivals around the country. Read on to learn what their terms and conditions are for money order purchases at a convenient location near you.
7-Eleven – It is no exaggeration to claim that wherever you live, there is likely to be a 7-Eleven close by. This national chain will sell you either a MoneyGram or a Western Union based money order, though this may vary by location. Their fees come from the dollar amount that you purchase as a percentage of the amount. The minimum cost is a reasonable 65 cents only for one money order. You could pay as much as three percent of the face value though. Single money orders are limited up to $500 and cash payments are required.
QuikTrip – Western Union money orders can be had from QuickTrip locations for $1.50. The downside is that they only allow up to $300 amounts with a daily limit of $950 total for multiple money order purchases. The company only takes cash payments for these money orders.
National Check Cashing Outfits
Many of the national check cashing outfits can help you to get a money order set up (or cashed for that matter). See below to learn which ones in your town can assist in this regard.
ACE Cash Express – ACE vends MoneyGram-branded money orders for as much as $1,000. Fees for these money orders start as little as 89 cents apiece. The company insists on all payments being made in cash only.
Speedy Cash – Sells both Western Union and MoneyGram branded money orders. The costs differ from one market to the next.
Advance America – Neighborhood Advance America locations will sell MoneyGram types of money orders at their more than 1,900 national locations. Fees start at $1.49 apiece. You are only able to pay with cash in hand here.
Check Into Cash – The majority of their stores across the country deal in Western Union services such as money orders and money transfers. Limits are up to $1,000 per individual money order. Lower limits can apply at the discretion of the local outlet. Fees range from $1 to $2 apiece. Check Into Cash only takes cash in hand for these money order purchases.
Check’n Go – You can purchase a money order for under a dollar here. The company offers clients around 900 national locations throughout the country.
Does A Money Order Have An Expiration Date Or Time Limit?
Fortunately, money orders do not come with expiration dates. There are money order providers though who will charge a fee for money orders that do not get cashed in a pre-determined amount of time. The fee would be taken out of the money order disbursement and grows larger over time, so it is critical to cash in money orders as soon as possible. The penalty fee would be on top of the charge for purchasing and/or cashing the money order.
How Can You Correct a Mistake Made on a Money Order?
It is common to make spelling mistakes on money orders. You could also inadvertently fill in the wrong payee or the improper amount. The problem is that once money orders are completed, they can not be altered in any way.
The good news is that it is possible to have a replacement money order issued with the money order receipt. A person should never attempt to self-correct a mistaken money order. It is likely that the receiving or cashing financial institution would refuse to honor an altered money order for security purposes.
Can Lost Money Orders Be Replaced?
It is easy enough to lose a purchase money order. The majority of outlets that sell them have replacement systems set up so that they can re-issue lost money orders. There will be a second fee in order to get the money order replaced though. It is helpful to check in with the individual issuer in order to learn about procedures and fees for replacing lost money orders.
Stopping Payments On Money Orders
Thanks to the arrangements of major money order issuers like Western Union and the money order gold standard provider the United States Postal Service, you are able to do a stop payment on one of these money orders, but only if they have not yet been cashed. The process requires a time-consuming from 30 to 60 days to complete. In many cases, they will then provide you with a full refund minus the stop payment procedure fee, assuming that your request can be completed before the money order has been cashed.
Other issuers may only refund the purchase in the form of another replacement money order that is payable to you. This is the same thing effectively. In any case, there will be some form of cost to get a reissued money order or refund. Cashed money orders can never be cancelled after the fact.
Canceling A Money Order
It is essentially the same thing to cancel a money order as it is to stop payment on one. Canceling a money order that did not get cashed is usually possible, though there are also going to be some cancellation fees associated with this procedure. Anticipate a delay in getting the money order canceled in the event that you do not physically have it in your possession. This could amount to even 60 days before the cancellation has been deemed successful and the request for a refund or reissue is accepted by the issuer.
It is another story altogether though if you have the money order physically in your possession. With this and the original receipt, it is typically easy to replace or get refunded on the money order. They will generally have no problem with reissuing the money order payable to you as a refund even as they cancel the original order.
Is It Possible to Return Money Orders That Are Not Filled In?
The simple answer is that usually it is easy to do. This will always depend on the terms and conditions of the issuer of course, and there may be questions regarding the circumstances involved with wanting to return the money order too. The process could be quick and easy or might need as long as up to( or even over) 60 days.
The best and most efficient way to do this is to go with your receipt and money order in hand to the store or location at which you bought the money order in the first place. The original issuer will go through the particulars of their return process with you. Taking it down to your bank or other financial institution is not going to help you.
It is both safe and convenient to send money via a money order. Cash is easily stolen in the mail but money orders will not usually be. Checks do not deliver guaranteed funds to payees and can also reveal sensitive personal bank account information to the recipients.
Thanks to these downsides of mailing checks or cash to individuals or companies, many people find that there is still a useful place in the world when money orders are appropriate and highly practical from a safety standpoint. It is usually a sensible idea to purchase your money order from a brand that is either the gold standard like the USPS, or from another of the most widely trusted and respected issuers, such as Western Union or MoneyGram.
In the event that you encounter problems and need to cancel or replace a lost money order, these three institutions in the money order industry have tested and well-proven methods in place for handling problems with stolen or lost money orders. This is made all the easier thanks to the fact that the majority of money order sales are made in one of these three branded money orders today.