You have a money order, but you don’t have time to take it into a bank, grocery store, or check cashing place during normal business hours. What next? Don’t worry — instead of taking a money order to a bank teller, you can deposit your money order at an ATM. In this article, we’ll cover how to use this method to cash a money order, what types of money orders can be deposited at an ATM, the fees associated with this practice, and everything else you need to know about money order ATM deposits.
In This Article:
How Do Money Orders Work? Is There a Way to Get an Electronic Money Order That’s Easy to Send and Receive? Can You Deposit a Money Order Online?
Can You Deposit a Money Order at an ATM?
If So, Which ATM’s Can Be Used?
Which Types of Money Orders (MoneyGram, Western Union, USPS, Etc.) Can Be Deposited at ATM’s?
Which ATM’s Accept Money Order’s?
Alternative Methods of Depositing Money Orders
How Do Money Orders Work? Is There a Way to Get an Electronic Money Order That’s Easy to Send and Receive?
In this day and age of electronic payments and online banking, money orders are not as common as they used to be, so you may not know how to use one, or really what it is.
A money order, for the purposes of this article, is a piece of paper, similar to a check, which is made out to a particular person or business for a specific amount of money. Unlike a check however, the person sending the money order has pre-paid for it, whereas with a traditional check the funds are withdrawn from an account when the check is cashed or deposited.
Money orders are used instead of cash or a check for a variety of reasons. For instance the sender may simply not have a checking account and does not want to send cash through the mail. Another instance is when the sender has a checking account but does not want to use a check and risk disclosing their bank account information to the recipient. You yourself may ask to be paid by money order if you are selling something costly, like a car, and do not want to worry about the purchaser’s check bouncing, especially if that person is a stranger to you.
Money orders can be purchased at the Post Office, at a bank, or at many supermarkets, convenience stores, liquor stores and big box retailers. The ones sold through retail sites are usually MoneyGram or Western Union, the two largest providers of retail money orders in the US. For more information on the different types of paper money orders and where to purchase them check out this FQF article.
Some countries offer a type of digital money order. Australia Post, for instance, allows senders to purchase money orders online. They can opt to have a traditional money order printed and mailed to the recipient, or have a voucher emailed to the recipient who can then print it out at home and bring it to the post office to redeem for cash. You can read more about digital money orders here.
There is currently no similar system in the United States. Various private companies such as Payko and EMO Corporation (both of which have since closed) have attempted to provide this type of digital money order but have been unsuccessful due to trust and reliability issues. Even with the successful Australian system the printed voucher is only redeemable at participating post offices. Per the Australia Post, banks and financial institutions will not accept vouchers printed from an email.
The focus of this article then is on traditional paper money orders. For whatever the reason, there may come a day when you receive a money order. If you do, you may cash it at any of the locations where money orders are purchased. But what if you want to deposit the funds into your own account?
Can I deposit a money order into an ATM?
A search of the websites for the USPS, MoneyGram and Western Union does not reveal any information about depositing money orders into ATM’s. However, calls to several banks’ customer service departments reveals that yes, many banks allow money orders to be deposited this way. As long as you have an ATM card you’ll be able to deposit your money order. To do this you should treat the money order as you would a check, by signing it in the appropriate spot and following the ATM’s instructions for making the deposit.
Which ATM’s can I use to deposit a money order?
There are a couple of things to know regarding which ATM’s. First, the ATM you use must be one capable of receiving deposits. Many only dispense cash and can’t receive deposits. Secondly, you can only make deposits into your own bank’s ATM. Unlike a withdrawal for which you can use any ATM (usually for a fee if it is not yours), deposits of any kind, including money orders, can only be made through your own bank’s ATM. Wondering why you can withdraw but not deposit to another bank’s ATM? It is because eventually deposits made into a machine are sent to the bank’s processing center. The processing center will not recognize the account number from a different bank or have any way of accessing that account to make the credit!
Can I deposit any type of money order or just certain ones?
Any of the paper money orders we have discussed can be deposited into an ATM. This includes USPS money orders, money orders issued by banks, and the ones purchased through retail outlets, which include Money Gram and Western Union money orders.
Which banks allow ATM deposits of money orders?
As stated above, many banks surveyed for this article accept money order deposits into their ATM’s. There are some notable exceptions. The following banks do not accept money order deposits through the ATM (or mobile app) due to scanning difficulties:
- Ally Bank. Because Ally features only on-line banking and has no brick and mortar locations you will only be able to deposit your money order into Ally by sending it through the US mail. (Ally Bank customer service 1-877-247-2559)
- PNC Bank (PNC Bank customer service 1-888-PNC-BANK)
- Regions Bank (Regions Bank customer service 1-800-734-4667)
- Bank of America (Bank of America customer service 1-800-432-1000)
But the banks on the following longer list will accept your money order through the ATM. Keep in mind that your funds may not be available right away. Most banks treat money orders the same as checks as far as wait times before the funds become available to you. Some banks however will have only a minimum wait time or will allow you to access a portion of the funds right away. I’ve included the bank’s policy on fund availability with each entry:
- Citizens Bank normally reserves funds from ATM deposited checks for 24 -72 hours, but can reserve up to 10 days. However, because a money order is pre-paid its funds are usually available at the lowest end of this range. (Citizens Bank customer service. 1-800-922-9999)
- Wells Fargo will reserve funds generally for 24 to 48 hours. (Wells Fargo customer service 1-800-869-3557)
- TD Bank will allow you access to the first $100 of your deposit right away. The remainder will generally be available in 2 days. (TD Bank customer service. 1-888-751-9000)
- Santander Bank will allow you access to the first $100 dollars right away, the next $200 dollars the next day and the remainder in 2 business days. (Santander Bank customer service, 1-877-768-2265)
- Chase Bank may offer you provisional credit of $100 – $200 dollars on a money order deposit right away at their discretion and depending on your personal relationship with the bank (no history of overdrafts, etc.) (Chase Bank customer service 1-800-935-9935)
- Capital One may also allow you to access $100 to $200 right away at their discretion with the rest of the funds available the next business day. (Capital One customer service 1-877-383-4802)
- Cap One 360, which is Capital One’s online branch, does not make funds available right away, but will send you an email informing you of the exact break down of availability after you make a deposit. (Cap 360 customer service 1-888-464-0727)
- SunTrust Bank may allow access of up to $200 right away at their discretion. Funds are generally available in 3 to 5 business days. (SunTrust customer service 1-800-SUNTRUST)
Are there any costs associated with depositing money orders at an ATM?
No, there are no costs to you for depositing your money order into an ATM from any of the banks surveyed.
What if I can’t get to an ATM? Are there other ways of depositing money orders into my account?
Yes, you have alternatives to make your deposit besides the ATM. Most banks have down-loadable mobile apps which can be used to deposit checks, and some of these also allow you to deposit money orders. With this option you simply take a picture of the money order with your mobile device and follow the app’s instructions to deposit, just as you would with a regular check. Unfortunately, this option is not too widely available for money orders. Of the banks surveyed only the following could accept money orders by mobile app:
- Wells Fargo
- TD Bank
- Santander Bank (except for USPS money orders which will not scan)
- Chase Bank
The rest claimed that a money order would not be readable with a mobile device.
Alternative Methods of Depositing Money Orders
Finally, you can deposit your money order the old-fashioned way, by taking a trip to your closest bank branch and depositing it with a real live teller. You will need to have your account number handy for this method because you will be required to fill out s deposit slip to hand to the teller along with the signed money order.
Overall, many banks will treat your money order just like a traditional check and will allow you to deposit it using many of their usual check-depositing methods.