Even though they’re not as popular as they were in the past, money orders are a great alternative to cash and checks. Whether you use them to make a purchase, pay bills, or transfer funds, they’re fast and easy to get. But where can you get a money order? Here’s our list of the best places to get money orders in 2023.
What is a money order?
A money order works a lot like a check in that it’s a document you can use for making payments. But a money order is prepaid while a check is not. You won’t be able to use a money order until you’ve actually paid for it with cash or debit cards.
In most cases, you’ll pay a fee for producing the money order as well as the issued amount. Money orders are usually available at any participating Western Union location or MoneyGram location.
Benefits of Money Orders
Money orders come with a variety of benefits that make them a suitable option in certain situations. For example, buying a used vehicle from a private party or sending money to a loved one abroad via mail. The most noteworthy advantages of money orders include:
- Guaranteed funds: When a money order gets issued by a retail store or other company, you’ll need to use cash or have the money taken out of your bank account directly. This ensures the funds are guaranteed.
- Convenient: You can purchase a money order at grocery stores, even if you don’t have a bank account. There are many companies that offer them so you should have no issues getting one in your neighborhood market.
- Traceable: As soon as you buy a money order, you’ll receive a receipt. In the event it’s lost or stolen, you can easily cancel or replace it.
- Privacy: Sometimes, you may have to pay someone you don’t really know or trust. With a money order, you can maintain your privacy as there are minimal personal details and no bank account information on it.
- Reduced risk of theft: It can be risky to send money to others via cash. Money orders, however, are safe alternatives as you’ll need to specify the recipient’s names on them.
How to Buy a Money Order
Fortunately, it is easy to buy a money order. Before you go through the process, however, make sure you know who you’re paying and how much you’d like to pay them. Once you step foot into a store that offers money order, be prepared to complete a short form.
Then, you’ll pay for your money order with cash or a debit card. Note that you probably won’t be able to use a credit card or check due to the risk of bouncing or a chargeback with your credit card issuer.
Places To Get Money Orders in 2023
Now that you know what money orders are, how they work, and why they’re beneficial, here’s a list of the top places to get money orders.
Since there are over 8,500 locations across the U.S. 7-Eleven is a popular place to get a money order from MoneyGram and Western Union. While fees are based on location, you can expect to pay anywhere from 1% to 3% of the total money order amount. There’s a minimum fee of 65 cents and maximum money order amount of $500.
2. Rite Aid
Rite Aid operates 2,400 drugstores in 18 states, making it a great place to buy a money order. Its money orders are through Western Union and cap out at $500. Keep in mind that at this time, Rite Aid will not cash money orders, so your recipient will have to go elsewhere to do so.
There are 4,742 Walmart stores throughout the U.S. so you’re sure to find one that’s conveniently located near you. Walmart sells MoneyGram money orders in the kiosk or check cashing locations.
While you can expect to pay a small fee of 70 cents per money order, you may enjoy a maximum limit as high as $1,000. This is one of the highest limits so if you’d like to pay or send a large sum of cash, Walmart money orders are your best bet.
CVS, which has 9,675 locations, also issues money orders via MoneyGram. The pharmacy store charges $1.25 per money order and imposes a maximum amount of $500. Compared to other locations we mentioned, CVS offers excellent customer service so it’s a viable option if you believe you’ll need some assistance from a customer service desk.
Meijer is one example of a grocery store that sells money orders. There are more than 240 Meijer locations in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois and Wisconsin so it can be a solid pick if you live in the Midwest.
For each of its Western Union money orders, you’ll pay 65 centers. Just like many other stores, Meijer’s maximum money order amount is $500. Note that Meijer will not cash money orders.
While Kmart isn’t as popular as it used to be, you can still visit some of its locations to buy a money order. Since only select Kmarts sell money orders, be sure to call ahead to make sure your local store does.
Kmart’s money orders are through Western Union and vary in price from 69 cents to $1.25. The limit is $500 and you can only pay in cash.
Publix is a leading grocery chain with 1,342 stores across Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. It does sell Western Union money orders of up to $500 but charges 85 cents to 99 cents per each one, making it an expensive place to go for these products. In addition, Publix will not cash money orders.
Kroger has almost 3,000 stores across the U.S. which operate under various brand names, like Smith’s, Fred Meyer, Dillon’s, and King Soopers. Some of its stores offer Western Union money orders for about $1 to $1.10 a pop.
Maximum money order amounts are $500 or $1,000, depending on location. Kroger also cashes money orders at select locations.
Safeway is another U.S. supermarket chain with money orders. Its money orders are by Western Union and fees vary by location so it’s a good idea to confirm them before you head over to your local store. Most Safeways have money order maximums of $500.
10. Circle K
Circle K has over 5,800 locations in the U.S., and at many of them, you can purchase money orders through MoneyGram. There is a small fee of $1, and the maximum amount allowed is $500.
You’ll need to have your identification ready and be prepared to pay with cash to complete the transaction.
Speedway is a convenience store and gas station chain with over 3,900 locations in the U.S., They offer money orders through MoneyGram for a fee of $1.60. There is a limit of $500 per money order.
QuikTrip is a convenience store chain with over 900 locations throughout the United States. They offer money orders through Western Union for a fee of $1.50. The limit for each money order is $950.
13. United States Postal Service (USPS)
There are over 30,800 post office locations in the U.S. so the USPS is a great place to go for a USPS money order. Its money orders are unique in that they’re not by Western Union or MoneyGram. Instead, USPS sells Postal Money Orders, which is their own brand.
A Postal Money Order at your local post office will run you $1.20 for up to $500 and $1.65 for over $500. These USPS money orders come with maximum limits of $1,000 for domestic money orders and $700 each for international money orders. USPS locations also cash them.
14. Check Cashing Companies
There are many cash checking companies that sell money orders. To find one, just search for, “buy money orders near me.”
Since fees vary significantly, it’s well worth your time to do your research and compare your options. In general, cash checking companies charge higher fees than retailers and other places with money orders.
Popular check cashing companies include: ACE Cash Express, The Check Cashing Store, Check Into Cash, Cash America, Check ‘n Go, Money Mart, and First Cash.
15. Your Local Bank
Of course, you can also get a money order at your local bank. If you already have a bank account and a relationship with a bank in your area, you might turn to them for a money order.
Visit your bank’s website, give them a call, or stop by in person to learn about the money order bank fees and regulations. Otherwise, you may face hefty charges you didn’t expect.
16. Your Local Credit Union
Credit unions, just like banks, are another place to consider for money orders. To find out how much a money order costs at your local credit union, contact them directly. Tracking your money order at your local credit union with a money order receipt will likely be easier than if you bought it at a convenience store or grocery store.
Frequently Asked Questions
These frequently asked questions are worth exploring, especially if you’re new to money orders.
How much do money orders cost?
Money order fees vary by store and business but are usually a few dollars or less. You may pay anywhere from 69 cents to a maximum fee of $1.60 or more. Typically, you’ll find better deals at retail stores than you would at banks and other places.
Can you buy a money order with a credit card?
Most credit card issuers let you buy money orders with credit cards. But the transaction will likely be a cash advance, with extra fees and interest. That’s why you’d be better off to pay in cash when you visit a money services center.
How does a money order differ from a check?
You buy a money order upfront so that the recipient can convert the funds into cash immediately. A personal check requires the recipient to actually cash it. The money won’t be withdrawn from your checking account until they do.
What are the signs of fake money orders?
Unfortunately, fake money orders do exist. If you receive a money order and the dollar amount looks fuzzy or discolored, there’s a good chance it’s fake. Other signs of fake money orders are amounts over $1,000 and a lack of watermarks on the left side.
To report a fake money order or damaged money order, call the company that issued it, which may be one of the following: Western Union: 1-800-325-6000, Money Gram: 1-800-666-3947, or USPS Verification System: 1-866-459-7822.
Can you buy multiple money orders?
Yes! In fact, you may need to buy multiple money orders since most places cap them at $500 or $1,000. Just be prepared to fill out some additional forms. Also, make sure you have enough money.
What are alternatives to money orders?
Sending money orders may not be suitable for everyone. Alternatives include opening a checking account at a bank or credit union, using prepaid cards, or utilizing digital payment apps like PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle. Alternatively, you can issue personal checks, cashier’s checks, or traveler’s checks.
Money orders might be beneficial if you want a reliable way to pay your bills or send funds to friends, family members, or people you don’t want to reveal your personal details with. Since there are numerous companies that issue money orders, shop around and compare your options. Weigh the pros and cons of each so you can make the most informed decision.