A money order is a pre-paid check-like instrument you can use to pay bills or cover an expense. You may need one if the company or person you want to pay doesn’t accept credit cards or personal checks. You may also want to use one if you’d like to keep your checking account information private.
Fortunately, purchasing a money order is a simple process. We’ll show you where to get a money order, so you don’t need to hunt one down.
Where to get a money order: 7 places to grab one
Believe it or not, a simple “money orders near me” web search will likely reveal multiple money order vendors within a short distance from home. From there, all you have to decide is where to get a money order that fits your needs and compare costs.
1. The post office
If you need to mail your money order, getting one from the post office is super convenient. Plus, with over 30,000 locations nationwide, there’s likely a branch near you.
You can buy post office money orders for up to $1,000 each. You’ll pay a $2 processing fee for money orders up to $500. The charge increases to $2.90 for money orders over $500.
2. Convenience stores
You may be surprised to hear that you can buy a money order at the same place you fill your gas tank and grab a quick snack. Well-known convenience store chain 7-Eleven offers several financial services, including money orders, across 13,000 locations.
However, you can only buy money orders for up to $500 each. In addition, pricing varies by store. We called multiple locations and were quoted a fee ranging from $1.39 to $2.99.
3. Check-cashing stores
Check-cashing stores often offer more services than exchanging checks for dollars. They may also be able to help you pay a bill, get a loan, or purchase a money order.
For example, ACE Cash Express sells money orders and has over 850 locations across 23 states. However, the company doesn’t publish its fees online, and representatives won’t provide that information over the phone, citing the firm’s policy.
If you live in Florida, consider visiting Amscot, a check-cashing store that issues money orders for free.
4. Western Union
Western Union has roughly 45,000 agents in the United States and Canada offering money orders. You can find Western Union agents in supermarkets, pharmacies, and check-cashing stores, including Walmart, Kroger, and Safeway.
You can purchase Western Union money orders for up to $1,000. The fee can vary, depending on where you buy them.
If you have any trouble completing your money order, Kammi Cavalieri, leader of product management at Western Union, says, “Our agents are trained. They’re always willing to help you fill out the money order.”
5. MoneyGram locations
You can buy a MoneyGram money order at 26,000 locations. Lisa White, head of go-to-market (GTM) strategy at MoneyGram, says, “We found that the best places to purchase a [MoneyGram] money order are at either a convenience or a grocery store.”
Processing fees and face value limits can vary by location. It’s wise to contact the store you plan to visit to obtain this information.
MoneyGram offers online support for its money orders. For example, you can request a copy of your money order if you need proof of payment. You can also request a replacement or refund if it hasn’t been cashed.
6. Your bank or credit union
Your bank or credit union may sell money orders. However, you can generally expect to pay more at one of these institutions than at other locations. For example, Wells Fargo and Chase charge $5 per money order.
Denise Toussaint, senior vice president and regional relationship banking manager at Sunrise Bank, believes the benefit of buying a money order at a bank is the opportunity for financial education. She says you’ll “have the opportunity to speak with someone, to build a relationship, to learn about other avenues [besides money orders] that can be of value.”
Every Walmart Supercenter or Neighborhood Market sells money orders, which means you can buy one at the same time you pick up milk, toilet paper, dog food, or a new sweater. Just visit the customer service desk or money services center to make the purchase on your way in or out of the store.
Walmart money order fees vary by location. However, you’ll never pay more than a $1 processing charge.
Alternatives to money orders
A money order can help you send money to another person or a company. However, it may not always be your best option. A few alternatives to money orders to consider include:
- Personal check. Writing a check is quick and easy if you have a checking account.
- Cashier’s or certified check. If the payee (recipient of the funds) needs a guaranteed form of payment, you could get a cashier’s check or certified check. With a cashier’s check, you pay the bank, and the bank issues the check from the institution’s account. The money comes from your account with a certified check, but the bank certifies that the check will clear when the recipient goes to cash it.
- Electronic transfer. Our society is steadily going from paper to digital. You can move money from one bank to another electronically in several ways, including mobile apps or wire transfers.
The next (or first) time you need a money order, you have several options. Deciding where to get a money order ultimately comes down to convenience and price. Going to the closest seller may make sense if you’re in a time crunch.
However, you may want to shop around for the best deal if you’re on a tight budget. White says that money order pricing is “probably going to be lowest in areas where there’s a lot of competition.”