Short Answer: You can buy a money order with a debit card at select locations. USPS, certain banks, and some grocery and convenience stores accept debit cards for money orders. 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. Cash advances carry high fees and are generally not recommended. For more details on buying a money order with a debit or credit card, see below.
In This Article
- What You Need to Know About Money Orders
- Can You Buy a Money Order With a Debit Card?
- Can You Buy a Money Order With a Credit Card?
What You Need to Know About Money Orders
A money order is a secure, guaranteed payment backed by a bank. Both parties — you and your payee — must sign the money order in order to complete the payment. You can get a money order from an actual bank (or credit union), a check cashing store, most grocery or convenience stores, or the post office. For a list of over 50 places where you can get a money order, see our article.
There is usually a small fee to purchase a money order and a limit to the amount you can buy per money order. This limit often ranges from a few hundred dollars to $1,000. If you need more than that, you’ll need to purchase multiple money orders. While traditional bank checks expire after six months or so, most money orders don’t. Some do, however; so see our article for details on how long money orders are good for.
Money orders are considered a safe way to send money through the mail or make payments if you’re worried about a check bouncing. They are also a good option for those who need to pay bills without a checking account.
Western Union, MoneyGram, and the United States Postal Service (USPS) are the most well-known issuers of money orders outside of banks. To buy a Western Union or MoneyGram money order, you’ll have to visit one of their agents — often found in grocery stores, convenience stores, and check cashing stores. At your local bank or post office, just ask an employee if you can purchase a money order. It’s that easy.
Can You Buy a Money Order With a Debit Card?
The most widely accepted payment method for a money order is cash. However, you can usually use a debit card to buy a money order, too. USPS accepts cash, debit cards, and traveler’s checks. At banks and credit unions, you can usually pay with cash or a debit card. You may also be able to have the money withdrawn directly from your account if you are an account holder there. Walmart and some grocery stores — like Albertson’s, Giant Eagle, and more — also accept debit cards when purchasing a money order. It’s best to call ahead to where you’d like to buy your money order and ask if debit cards are an accepted payment method.
Can You Buy a Money Order With a Credit Card?
Fewer places let you buy a money order with a credit card, but it is possible. Many banks accept a credit card for money order purchases, as do many grocery stores, including Albertson’s, King Soopers, and Fred Meyer. Before buying a money order with a credit card, there is one important caveat you must note: Since money orders require guaranteed, upfront cash, a credit card transaction will often be processed as a cash advance.
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. It will also increase the amount of money you owe on the credit card in general. It’s advised to pay for a money order with cash or a debit card whenever possible.
You can usually buy a money order with a debit card or, of course, cash. USPS accepts debit cards, as well as some banks and grocery stores that sell money orders. You may also be able to buy a money order with a credit card, but the transaction will be processed as a cash advance, which will cost you more money in the long run. If you’re looking for another way to pay for a money order, our article explains how to buy a money order with a gift card.