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

Short Answer: You can buy a money order with a debit card at some places that sell them, including the U.S. Postal Service, grocery stores, and banks. Some issuers (including select Western Union locations) also allow you to pay for a money order with a credit card. However, the transaction will likely process as a cash advance, meaning you’ll pay fees and interest.

Buying a Money Order With a Debit Card

The most widely accepted payment method for a money order is cash. However, several places will allow you to use a debit card to buy a money order, including the following (ordered by nationwide availability):

Note that debit card acceptance varies by location; it’s best to call ahead to the store or branch you plan to visit to make sure that it accepts debit cards. You can find out more about the above options (including their limits and purchase fees) in our list of places that sell money orders.

Buying a Money Order With a Credit Card

There are very few places that let you buy a money order with a credit card, but it is possible at the following issuers:

Fees

Before buying a money order with a credit card, know that since money orders require guaranteed, upfront payment, most credit card issuers process them as cash advances, which carry added costs. You’ll pay the credit card’s cash advance fees and APR on top of the money order issuer’s purchase fees.

Credit card companies typically charge a cash advance fee of a percentage of the transaction or a flat dollar amount, whichever is greater.[14][15][16][17] For example, if you have a 5% transaction fee and buy a money order for $1,000, your cash advance fee will be $50. Cash advances also have high APRs, for which interest begins accruing immediately — usually at around 22% to 27%.[14][15][16][17]

Other Payment Options

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 accepts personal checks as payment for money orders is the check-cashing store Advance America.[18] You also cannot buy a money order online or using a PayPal transfer.

More Information

See our related research for the security features and risks associated with money orders, plus how long it takes money orders to send, clear, and expire, and our complete money order FAQ.

  1. https://www.usps.com/shop/money-orders.htm[]
  2. Bank of America customer service (800) 432-1000[]
  3. U.S. Bank customer service (855) 977-2704[]
  4. Citibank customer service (800) 374-9700[]
  5. Bank of the West customer service (800) 488-2265[]
  6. Meijer customer service (877) 363-4537[]
  7. Family Fare customer service (844) 251-3999[]
  8. Shoppers customer service (888) 907-7467[]
  9. Weis Markets customer service (866) 999-9347[]
  10. https://www.payomatic.com/store-services/money-orders/[]
  11. Western Union customer service (800) 325-6000[]
  12. https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/money-order.html[]
  13. 7-Eleven customer service (800) 255-0711[]
  14. https://www.bankofamerica.com/content/documents/creditcard/visa-mastercard-platinum-visa-signature-world-mastercard-en.pdf[][]
  15. https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/assets/pdf/Credit-Card-Agreement-for-Consumer-Cards-in-Capital-One-Bank-USA-N.A..pdf[][]
  16. https://www.chase.com/content/feed/public/creditcards/cma/Chase/COL00055.pdf[][]
  17. https://www.americanexpress.com/content/dam/amex/en-us/company/legal/cardmember-agreements/public-site-2020-08-01-pdf-cmas/cps-charge-cmas/american-express-gold-card-08-01-2020.pdf[][]
  18. https://www.advanceamerica.net/services/moneygram/how-to-fill-out-a-moneygram-money-order[]

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.