By Stacy Garrels | April 26, 2021
Money orders don’t see much practical use in this day and age. That doesn’t mean that they’re extinct yet, though. International money orders, alongside traditional money orders, are prized for the privacy that they offer shoppers. You can use a money order to reassure a business or bank that you’re good for the money that you’re putting down on a purchase.
With online banking so common these days, though, you may not know where to get a money order, should you need or want one. There are a few different places that allow you to secure a money order and it’s up to you to determine which best suits your needs.
Why Do You Need a Money Order?
Money orders are similar in appearance to checks, but the two forms of payment are not the same. Checks and debit cards allow you to take money straight from your checking account to pay for a product or service. Money orders, comparatively, work like paper gift cards. You have to pay for a money order before you’re able to carry one with you. This means that when you pay for a money order, you cover both the cost of issuing said order and the actual amount of cash you want to put on that order.
That extra cost can make money orders seem like unnecessarily complicated versions of checks. There are benefits, though, to paying for products and services with money orders. Money orders, for example, are more private than checks and can guarantee another party payment, whereas checks can bounce and you might not have debit/credit cards at your disposal.
The Best Places to Get a Money Order
Some of the best places to secure a money order in the United States include but are not limited to:
What can you find at a Walmart location? If you’re in need of cash, you can purchase a money order from the customer service counter at Walmart.
Walmart, however, like just about every other provider that’s not directly affiliated with a bank, does put a limit on how much money you can place on one of their money orders. No one will be able to put more than $1,000 on their money orders before leaving the store. The company uses MoneyGram to ensure, however, that your $1,000 gets to you safely.
In that same vein, do expect to pay a fee for requesting a money order through Walmart. The company charges $0.70 per money order doled out. That cost may not seem substantial, but you don’t want to let it surprise you during your first purchase.
A Local Check Cashing Company
If you’ve driven down the highway recently, you’ve likely seen a sign for a business that’s willing to help you get money for your next rent payment or to help you cover the interest on a loan. These businesses are known as check cashing companies. They will enthusiastically sell you money orders in exchange for a fee. Unfortunately, these fee is rarely consistent, changing based on the location you’re shopping at.
Check cashing companies aren’t dangerous, but they can cost you more than they seem worth. If you’re concerned about what kind of fee you may face when purchasing a money order, be sure to ask the local staff or to research companies online.
If you live in an area with a local Kroger, you’re in luck. The grocery store allows you to purchase money orders through its customer service desk. You’ll have the option to do so at any and all of Kroger’s subsidiaries, too.
Unfortunately, your options, when it comes to purchasing money orders through Kroger, are somewhat limited. The grocery store operates through Western Union and will only allow you to purchase money orders in amounts of $500 or $1,000. You’ll again have to pay for your money order. The grocer, luckily, keeps the rate consistent, charging roughly $0.70 to give you your order.
If you don’t have a Kroger in your area, you may not be out of luck. Several grocers, including the Publix line, make it easy for their shoppers to bring home a money order. Take a gander online or ask someone at the customer service desk to determine what your grocer’s fees may look like and how much money you’ll be able to put on your next money order.
Some pharmacies also offer you the opportunity to purchase a money order at their customer service desks. CVS branches, for example, make use of MoneyGram to ensure that all interested parties can take home the money they need.
CVS, like a few other locations, does place a limit on how much money you can place on one of their money orders. Shoppers will be confined to a $500 limit, with an accompanying charge of $1.25. The good news is that any accompanying fees remain consistent across CVS locations, meaning that you shouldn’t ever find yourself contending with an unexpected expense post-purchase.
U.S. Postal Service
The United States Postal Services is a gift, and not just because it can get your mail across the nation in a reasonable amount of time. You also have the option of purchase money orders from your local USPS branch.
Like many other institutions, USPS puts a limit on the amount of money you’re able to put into one of their money orders. If you purchase a money order through USPS, your limit will cap at $1,000. Similarly, you will have to pay fees to ensure that you receive your money order. These fees typically cap at $1.65 but will fluctuate depending on how much money you want to sink into your order.
Luckily, USPS branches are myriad across the United States, making them easy to stop into should you ever need a quick money order. Like USPS, too, Kroger relies on Western Union to make sure your money gets to you without a problem.
A Credit Union
Credit unions and banks are similar, but they are not the same. Credit unions tend to a smaller audience than your average bank and, in turn, offer select groups higher interest rates on their accounts.
You are able to buy a money order at your local credit union, provided that you have an account with that branch. You may have the opportunity to purchase a money order even without an account, but you should expect substantial fees to accompany your purchase, if this is the case.
It’s easiest to secure a money order at your bank. Some banks are even willing to sell money orders to folks without bank accounts. If you have money available to you, and you want to keep it a little safer, head into one of the branches near you to see what kind of business they’ll offer you. Do note, though, that many banks will charge you more for a money order if you don’t have a bank account with one of their nearby locations.
Cashing In Your Money Orders
In this age of online shopping, it can be difficult to find a company that’s willing to accept your money order even after you’ve purchased. There’s good news, though! If you receive a money order as a gift or through a program like Swagbucks, you can cash that payment at many of the same places you can purchase one. You can even step into a Western Union bank to see your payment processed ASAP.
That said, do be aware of fees. You may still face fees for cashing your payment if you cash it through a grocery store, pharmacy, or check-cashing center.
Swagbucks and Your Money Orders
If you ever need a money order, don’t stress yourself out. A financial institution in your area, like a bank, credit union, or check cashing company can readily help you get the money you need. Even if you don’t have one of these institutions in your area, though, you’ll have other opportunities to purchase an order. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and even the post office can get you the money order you need. These orders help you uphold your privacy while making larger purchases and are more difficult to steal than, say, a credit card or traditional check.
That said, all money orders come with some kind of fee. If you’re looking for a way to cover that payment, a platform like Swagbucks can help.
When you make an account with Swagbucks, you can take quizzes, answer surveys, and watch videos to earn online points. As soon as you pair your account with PayPal or your bank, you can cash those points out for free cash. If you’re looking to pay off the expense of purchasing a money order, for example, Swagbucks can make sure that you have the funds to do so.
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