Can you buy a money order with a debit card? Or a credit card? Answered

You can likely buy a money order with a debit card, depending on where you go. Of course, cash is the most accepted option. However, USPS, some banks, and some grocery stores accept debit cards or cash for money orders. If you’re looking to pay for a money order with a credit card, the transaction will likely be processed as a cash advance, which carries high fees and is generally not recommended. For the list of stores that sell money orders, see our article Where Can I Get a Money Order?

In This Article

What You Need to Know About Money Orders

A money order is a check backed by a bank. Even if you get a money order from a check cashing store or post office, it is still covered by a bank — meaning the bank is responsible for ensuring the check is good. There is usually a small fee to purchase a money order.

You may need a money order for a deposit on an apartment or a large purchase. A money order is a more guaranteed form of payment since it is backed by a bank instead of an individual — like a personal check. Cash is another option, but it can easily be lost or stolen. And credit cards have fees for the seller.

Western Union, MoneyGram, and the United States Post Office (USPS) are the most well-known money order issuers. To buy a Western Union or MoneyGram money order, you have to visit one of their agents — often found in grocery stores, convenience stores, and check cashing stores. At your local post office, just ask the postal worker if you can purchase a money order. It’s that easy.

Can You Buy a Money Order with a Debit Card?

Most of the time, you can use a debit card to buy a money order. USPS accepts cash, debit cards, and traveler’s checks. At banks that issue money orders — like Chase, Citibank, U.S. Bank, and more — you can usually pay with cash or a debit card, or you can have the money withdrawn directly from your account if you are an account holder. Walmart and some grocery stores — like Albertson’s, H-E-B, and more — also accept debit cards when purchasing a money order.

Can You Buy a Money Order with a Credit Card?

Yes and no. Some places — namely banks and grocery stores — will accept credit cards for money orders, but the transaction will often be processed as a cash advance, which can carry some hefty fees. A cash advance results in a much higher APR, as well as an increase in the amount of money you owe on the credit card — not to mention, there may be a transaction fee, as well. All things considered, this route is not recommended.

In Summary

You can usually purchase a money order with a debit card — and, of course, cash. USPS accepts debit cards, as well as some banks and grocery stores that sell money orders. You may be able to buy a money order with a credit card, but the transaction will often be processed as a cash advance and is not recommended. If you’re looking for another way to pay for a money order, see our article: Can You Buy a Money Order with a Gift Card?

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4 comments

  • Hi, I don’t know if you’re still monitoring comments here, but if so might you know the answer to this:

    A few years ago, all the places nearby (convenience stores, tobacco stores, etc.) that sell money orders put in a policy that they’d no longer allow customers to buy money orders with debit cards. This includes longtime customers. So to buy a money order, customer must pay extra fees to get cash from the ATM, often not in the denomination they want, and then buy the money order with cash. I can’t get a straight answer on the reason.

    • Hi CAS,

      One of the main reasons some stores stopped accepting debit cards for money order purchases was to stop “manufactured spending.” Manufactured spending is when people use a credit card to buy prepaid debit cards (like Visa Gift Cards, which run as debit) to get a bonus on their credit card, then use the prepaid debit card to buy money orders and effectively get their money back, as if they’d never spent anything. You might also see stores saying they don’t allow money order purchases with debit because of fraud. And, one last hurdle is that when buying a money order with a debit card, the card must run as a PIN based purchase. If you pay with a debit card but the machine runs your card as credit and you don’t enter a PIN, you won’t be able to buy the money order. Many debit card networks automatically run debit cards as credit.