What is a Money Order? How does a money order work and Where to Buy One Advertiser disclosure: You’re our top priority. Each every single time. We believe that every person should be able make financial decisions with confidence. While our website doesn’t feature every company or financial product in the marketplace We’re pleased of the advice we provide and the information we offer as well as the tools we design are impartial, independent, straightforward — and cost-free. How do we earn money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we write about (and where those products appear on our website) however it doesn’t affect our recommendations or advice that are based on thousands of hours of study. Our partners are not able to be paid to ensure positive reviews of their products or services. . What is a Money Order? What is a Money Order Works and Where to Get One A money order is a sure payment you can buy at places like Walmart Post Office as well as your bank. By Margarette Burnette Savings accounts, money market accounts, bank accounts Margarette Burnette is a savings expert who has been writing about bank accounts from before when she was writing about the Great Recession. Her work has been featured in , and other major newspapers. Before joining NerdWallet, Margarette was a freelance journalist with bylines in magazines like Good Housekeeping, and Parenting. She is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Nov 23, 2022 Edited By Yuliya Goldshteyn Assistant Editor Yuliya Goldshteyn is a banking editor for NerdWallet. She previously worked as an editor or writer, as well as research analyst across a range of industries from healthcare and market research. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s in sociology from the University of Chicago. She can be reached at
. Review by Kathleen Burns Kingsbury Wealth psychology expert and coach Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, founder of KBK Wealth Connection and host of the Breaking Money Silence podcast, is an internationally published author and speaker. As an expert in finance psychology Kathleen was featured on TV, and her work has been highlighted on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, “PBS NewsHour,” Money magazine, Today Money, Forbes and CNBC. Kathleen worked as an adjunct faculty instructor at the McCallum Graduate School at Bentley University between 2009 and 2019 and currently teaches in the college of Champlain College. At NerdWallet the content we publish goes through an extensive . We are so confident about our accurate and useful content that we have external experts review our work. Many or all of the products we feature are provided by our partners that pay us. This affects the products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, it does not affect our opinions. Our views are our own. Here is a list of and . Table of Contents. Show More Table of Contents Important takeaways about money orders A cash advance is an reliable alternative to cash or a personal check It functions like the check and you can cash it or deposit it into the bank account. When using personal checks or cash puts your security at risk or isn’t acceptable for payment, you can choose to use a money-order instead. It is possible to use cash or debit cards to purchase money orders at the post office, Walmart, Western Union and many other locations. How do money orders work? A money order is a small piece of paper, which is a safe alternative to personal checks or cash. You specify who will receive the money order, and both you and the person need to sign it in order in order to make it valid which reduces theft. You can also prepay for money orders when you purchase it. You can purchase them in U.S. post offices, Walmart, Western Union and other places. A lot of them have a limit of $1000 and include those that you buy at banks. Generallyspeaking, you need to pay for money orders using cash or a debit card. Nerdy Tip A money order is an excellent option for sending money if you do not have a bank account or you don’t wish to share your banking details with the recipient. Money orders: pros as well as cons pros and disadvantages of making use of a money order. Consider these pros and cons before you decide to use one. Benefits: There is no bank account required to make or receive a money order. Money orders are readily accessible. Cons: Once a money order is accepted (or lost) and then lost, it could be difficult if not impossible to retrieve your money even if it’s because of fraud or a scam. The cash advance fee is subject to change and interest if bought with credit card. (Read more about .) What can I do to purchase an order for money? Be aware of how and with whom you’ll pay with cash or a credit card as well as names of your person who will be paying and the amount you want to transfer. Credit card payments could be possible, but typically, it will cost more. Fill it out in addition to the name of the person who is paying it is necessary to add your name (and possibly an address) and also sign the payment. (For detailed instructions on how to do this read NerdWallet’s advice on .) Make sure that everything is accurate since you’ll not be able to change the information afterward. Keep the receipt: The receipt will be an exact carbon copy of the money order or a paper slip recording the information you entered into the cashier’s note. It could be necessary to track your money order or contact the place where you got it. Follow your money order The receipt should also include an tracking number which you can utilize to confirm that the money order was delivered to the person you wanted it to. If any problems arise you should contact the location that you purchased the money order for help. How do I find a money order? What is the cost of the cost of a money order? It is possible to purchase an order for money at a post office, Walmart, Western Union and many other locations. Domestic money orders come in various costs that range from less than a dollar up to $5 depending on the location you purchase them. It’s cheaper at Walmart or an upscale supermarket or convenience store however, you’ll usually pay more at a bank. Not all providers have international money orders available; some post offices do, but they’re more expensive than domestic money orders. Whatever you decide to purchase them, it’s better to purchase money orders in person. The seller Cost Walmart Up to $1. Transfer agents for cash (convenience stores supermarkets, convenience stores, etc.) Depends on the provider. For instance, certain San Francisco-based Western Union providers charge $1. U.S. Postal Service up to $500: $1.65. $501-$1000: $2.20. Military money orders 55 cents. international (up up to $750): $49.65. Banks and credit unions Depends upon the institution that they work with. Often around $5. If you are looking for additional options for sending fund s ? Here are our . What does a money order cost at the biggest U.S. banks? Here is an infographic that outlines the price of a money order and available at a few popular banks. Be aware that some banks only sell money orders to accountholders. + Click here to find out the price of money orders and availability at some popular banks Bank Money Order Details Not offered. Members of the FDIC Not available. Not offered. $5 for up to $1,000 and free to premium account holders. You must purchase the account at a branch. $5; no cost for premium customers who use a checking account. $5 For premium customers with a checking account. $5 For premium checking customers. $5; no cost for members of the military. $5 up to $1,000. Must be purchased in a branch. To the top of the page When should I make use of a money order? There are occasions that using personal or cash checks can be risky, or they aren’t accepted for payments. Here are four instances why money orders are the most secure payment method: You need to send money securely. Unlike checks, money orders don’t contain your bank account number, and they help ensure that only the person who is receiving it is able to use them, not unlike mailing cash. You’re concerned about the possibility of bouncing a check. Since the money orders can be prepaid and are therefore able to pay, they cannot be rejected due to insufficient funds. Another option is a certified check or a cashier’s cheque, both of which are guaranteed to be paid but don’t need to have the limit of $1,000 like many money orders. ( as well .) If you’re sending money overseas. Not all money orders work abroad, but U.S. Postal Service money orders can be sent to up to 25 countries. Another option: a wire transfer (see ) for a wire transfer if you need money quicker and can pay more. You can also check out our . You don’t have an account with a bank. Since cash advances require you for payment in advance, this means you don’t need an account with a bank and are able to pay for bills without risk. Nerdy Tip If you don’t have a bank account, another option for paying for your regular purchases and bills is to use the . Return to top Savings Cash Management CD Checking Money Market Savings accounts are the perfect place to save money in a safe manner while earning interest. Savings accounts are an account where you can store money securely and earn interest. Member FDIC SoFi Checking and Savings APR 3.75 Percent SoFi Members who have direct deposit can earn up to 3.75 percent annual percentage yield (APY) in savings account balances (including vaults) and 2.50 percent APY on their checking balances. The minimum direct deposit amount that is required to be eligible for 3.75 percent APY on savings and 2.50% APY for checking balances. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% interest on balances of savings and checking (including vaults). The rates of interest are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 01/04/2023. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet Min. balance for APY: $0 Member FDIC Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Bank with APY 3.50 percent 3.50% Annual Percentage Yield (annual percentage yield) with a balance of zero to earn the APY stated. Accounts must be in healthy balance to continue to operate. APY current as of 02/07/2023. Min. balance for APY The cash accounts offer a variety of services and features comparable to checking, savings and/or investment accounts into one. Cash management accounts are usually provided by non-bank financial institutions. These cash accounts combine features and services similar to savings, checking and/or investment accounts in one account. The cash management account is usually offered by non-bank financial establishments. On the website of Wealthfront, you can find Wealthfront Cash Account APY 4.05% min. balance of APY $1 on Betterment’s site Betterment Cash Reserve Paid non-client promotion APY 4.00 percent annually percent rate (variable) is as of 02/06/2023. Min. balance for APY CDs of $0 (certificates of deposit) are a kind of savings account that comes with a fixed rate and term, and usually have higher rates of interest than regular savings accounts. CDs (certificates of deposit) are a type of savings account with an unchanging rate and term which usually come with higher rates of interest than regular savings accounts. CIT Bank CD APY 4.60% 1.5 years Term 1.5 years FDIC Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield CD APY 4.6 FDIC Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield CD APY 4.40% 4.40% APY (annual percent yield) at 01/25/2023. 1 year FDIC SoFi Checking and Savings APY 2.50% FDIC SoFi Checking and Savings APY 2.50% SoFi members with direct deposit are eligible to receive up 3.75% annual percentage yield (APY) in savings account balances (including Vaults) and 2.50% APY on checking balances. There is no minimum amount of direct deposit required to qualify for the 3.75% APY for savings and 2.50% APY for checking balances. Customers who do not deposit direct deposits are eligible to receive 1.20% interest on balances of savings and checking (including Vaults). Rates of interest are subject to change and subject to change at any point. These rates are current as of 01/04/2023. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet Monthly fee $0 Upgrade Rewards Checking APY N/A Monthly fee $0 Deposits are FDIC Insured Current Account APY N/A Monthly fee $0 Deposits are FDIC Insured Chime Checking Account APY N/A Monthly fee $0 Member FDIC Axos Bank(r) Rewards Checking APY 1.25% Receive monthly direct deposits totaling $1,500 or more to earn 0.40% APY. Utilize your Axos Visa(r) Debit Card for a total of 10 transactions per monthly (min 3 cents per transaction) or sign up for Account Aggregation/Personal Financial Manager (PFM) in Online Banking to earn 0.30 percent APY. Maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 on an Axos Managed Portfolios Invest Account to earn 0.20% APY. Maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 with An Axos Self-Directed Trading Investment Account for 0.20% APR. Utilize your Rewards Checking account to pay your full month’s Axos customer loan payment to earn 0.15 percent annual percentage yield. Monthly fee of $0. Money market accounts pay rates that are similar to savings accounts and have some checking features. Market accounts pay rates comparable to savings accounts and have certain features for checking. FDIC UFB Best Money Market Member FDIC UFB’s best Money Market Rate APY 4.21% Min. balance for APY $0 Member FDIC Discover Bank Money Market Account APY 3.20% Min. amount for APY $1 Money order tracking It’s fairly easy to figure out where a money order is as long as you’ve kept your receipt. The process is different by issuer. The U.S. Postal Service and MoneyGram allow you to track online with details like the serial number that appears on your receipt as well as the amount of your purchase. Banks should be in a position to give you the same information. If you don’t have the receipt, you’ll have to file a research request to locate the serial number on your money order as well as that’s costly and lengthy. For MoneyGram for instance the fee is $40, and could take up to 60 days to complete. Be sure to keep track of the money order through the actual provider which could have been Western Union or MoneyGram even when you bought it from the convenience store. The money order must clearly indicate the name of the service provider. Then, back to the top about The author Margarette Burnette, a savings account expert at NerdWallet. The work she has done for NerdWallet was featured on USA Today and The Associated Press. In a similar vein… Get the best savings account. See NerdWallet’s picks for the best high-yield savings accounts online. Dive even deeper in Banking Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox. 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