Can You Buy a Money Order With a Debit Card? Credit Card? Answered

Short Answer: You can buy a money order with a debit card at select issuers, including the U.S. Postal Service and some grocery stores and banks. Some locations also allow you to pay for a money order with a credit card, though the transaction will likely be processed as a cash advance, which will come with high fees and interest. You cannot pay for money orders with things like checks or PayPal transfers. For more details on buying a money order with a debit or credit card, see below.

Can You Buy a Money Order With a Debit Card?

The most widely accepted payment method for a money order is cash. However, many places all allow you to use a debit card to buy a money order, including:

See more places that accept debit cards for money orders in our research on how to pay for a money order. Acceptance varies by location, so it’s best to call ahead to where you’d like to buy your money order to make sure that the location accepts debit cards.

Can You Buy a Money Order With a Credit Card?

There are fewer places that let you buy a money order with a credit card, but it is possible. Some banks accept credit cards for money order purchases, as do many grocery stores, including Albertsons, King Soopers, and Fred Meyer.

Before buying a money order with a credit card, there is one important caveat to note: since money orders require guaranteed, upfront cash, most credit card issuers process money order purchases as cash advances.

Cash advances carry hefty added costs. Credit card companies typically charge a cash advance fee of a percentage of the transaction or a flat dollar amount, whichever is greater. For example, if you have a 5% transaction fee on $1,000, you will need to pay $50. That will be on top of whatever fees the money order comes with. A cash advance also results in a much higher APR on the transaction — as high as 27% — for which interest begins accruing immediately. While most money orders are limited to $1,000 or less, buying one with a credit card will also increase the amount you owe on your next credit card statement.

Other Ways to Buy a Money Order

As noted above, cash is the most widely accepted way to purchase a money order, and it is the only payment method accepted by every issuer and agent location. Some places will also allow you to pay with a prepaid, PIN-based reloadable Visa or Mastercard (as previously reported).

Since money orders must be prepaid and guaranteed, there are virtually no places that allow you to pay for a money order with a personal check, which can bounce. In the course of our research, the only place we found that appears to accept personal checks as payment for money orders is the check-cashing store Advance America. You also cannot buy a money order online or using a PayPal transfer.

We provide more information about where you can cash a money order, the security features and risks associated with money orders, and how long it takes money orders to send, clear, and expire. Also, find more about how money orders work in our money order FAQ.

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.

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      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.

    • William Lipovsky says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Jennifer,

      Bank money orders typically expire within 90 days but most banks will let you get a refund at any time if you don’t get around to using one before it expires.