Need a money order to pay someone?
Money orders can be a good payment method and are often seen as a better, more secure option than checks.
In today’s post, I’ll cover whether you can buy a money order with a gift card, and tips for doing so.
What’s a Money Order?
A money order is like a check, but it’s a more trusted payment method.
This is because money orders are prepaid meaning they’re only issued after the buyer pays for them.
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Much like a check, a money order is written for a specific amount of money.
Why Get a Money Order?
There are quite a few reasons why you might want to buy a money order.
- It’s a safe way to pay someone if you don’t have a checking account: If you don’t have a checking account and want to make a larger purchase, carrying a ton of cash with you simply isn’t a good idea. Using a money order is a much better option, allowing you to keep your money safe.
- You get a receipt: This shows that you paid the amount due.
- Money orders don’t bounce: When you go to cash a money order, you know it’s pre-paid, so it won’t bounce like checks do.
- They offer more privacy than a personal check: If you are paying a person or company and don’t want to share your personal information, then money orders are a better choice than a personal check. Checks include personal information. Money orders don’t, which means that your privacy is protected.
- You’re protected from theft: Money orders are considered a safe payment method. Because you specify the name of the recipient on the money order, it’s hard to steal your money. You can even mail them if you want to.
How Much Does a Money Order Cost?
The amount a money order costs depends on the place where you get it. Generally speaking, you can find them for $1.50 or less.
Some stores sell money orders for a set fee, and others charge you a percentage of the amount you want the money order for. Some places charge a higher amount for money orders that are above a certain denomination as well. Certain banks might offer money orders for free, but most of the time, you’ll be charged for them.
Can You Buy a Money Order with a Gift Card?
Most places don’t allow customers to buy money orders with gift cards. Thankfully, there are a few places that accept gift cards, but there are restrictions.
You can’t use a store gift card, like one for CVS or Rite Aid to buy a money order.
Instead, you can use a pin-based, prepaid card with a MasterCard, or VISA logo.
Examples of this can include:
- Vanilla Visa
- Green Dot
The money order issuer may be able to run these as debit transactions.
In order to get a money order, you’ll need to visit a place that sells them and specify who’s receiving the funds. You’ll need to fill in the name of the person or organization that you want to pay.
Generally, money orders have a limit of between $500 and $1,000, so if you need more money than that, then you will need to consider other payment options or purchase more than one money order.
Some places require you to show an ID to purchase the money order.
Now, there are tons of places where you can buy them.
Sadly, as I said earlier, not all places allow you to use a gift card to pay for them.
Most places will only accept regular cards.
That being said, there are a few that allow you to purchase a money order using a gift card.
Places that let you use a gift card to buy a money order.
Walmart is one of the best places to get a money order since it has thousands of stores across the country. In fact, 90% of the population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart store!
Money orders can be purchased at Walmart from any Walmart Supercenter or Neighborhood Market at the Customer Service Desk or Money Services Center.
Here are the details:
- Fee: $0.88 max fee, but exact fees vary by location
- Limit: $1,000 max per money order
- Provider: MoneyGram
The USPS is another good place to get a money order because there are about 31,322 Postal Service-managed retail Post Offices in the United States. So, it’s likely you have a Post Office near you.
Here are the details:
- Fee: $1.45 for money orders that are up to $500 and $1.95 for money orders between $500.01 and $1,000.
- Limit: $1,000
- Provider: It uses its own money order brand.
Western Union isn’t just a place to send money internationally. It also provides money orders at a variety of agent locations. There’s a handy tool on the Western Union website that you can use to find places that sell money orders nearby.
You can enter your zip code, search, and then filter the results for money orders. Simply click “Money Order” in the filters section. Then, the map will update to show Western Union agent locations that sell money orders.
It’s important to note that you can only use a gift card at some Western Union agents that accept pin-based debit transactions.
Now, the exact details in terms of fees and limits will vary from location to location. So, call ahead to ask about fees, limits, and whether or not that location accepts gift cards as a form of payments.
- Find a Western Union location here.
Places that Don’t Accept Gift Cards for Money Orders
There are, of course, many stores where you can’t buy a money order with a gift card. This includes:
- Family Fare
- Fred Meyer
- Rite Aid
If you have a gift card that’s a pre-paid card like Visa or MasterCard, then you may be able to use it to purchase a money order. This can be a good way to turn gift cards into cash.
It is a good idea to call ahead to Walmart, USPS, or your chosen Western Union location to make sure their location is one of those locations where you can buy a money order with a gift card.