What Is a Money Order? How a Money Order Works and where you can purchase one Advertiser disclosure We make you our top priority. Each time. We believe that everyone should be able make financial decisions without hesitation. And while our site does not feature every business or financial product that is available on the market however, we’re confident of the advice we provide and the information we offer as well as the tools we design are independent, objective, straightforward — and free. So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This can influence the products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site) however it does not affect our advice or suggestions that are based on many hours of research. Our partners are not able to promise us favorable review of their services or products. . What is a money order? How does a money Order Works and Where to Purchase One Money Order is a sure payment you can buy at places such as Walmart Post Office and even your bank. Written by Margarette Burnette Savings accounts, money market accounts, bank accounts Margarette Burnette is an expert financial expert who has been writing about bank accounts from before the Great Recession. Her work has been published in , and other major newspapers. Prior to becoming a part of NerdWallet, Margarette was a freelance journalist, with bylines appearing in magazines like Good Housekeeping, and Parenting. She is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Nov 23, 2022 Edited by Yuliya Goldshteyn Assistant Assigning Editor Yuliya Goldshteyn works as a banking editor at NerdWallet. She previously worked as an editor, writer and research analyst across a range of industries from healthcare to market research. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from University of California, Berkeley. University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Chicago. She can be reached by email at
. The book was reviewed 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 a widely published author and speaker. As an expert on finance psychology Kathleen has appeared on television, and her writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, “PBS NewsHour,” Money magazine, Today Money, Forbes and CNBC. Kathleen served as an adjunct faculty instructor at The McCallum Graduate School at Bentley University from 2009 until 2019. She is currently teaching for Champlain College. At NerdWallet, our content goes through an extensive . We are so confident in our accurate and useful content that we let external experts review our work. The majority of products we feature are provided by our partners, who pay us. This impacts the types of products we feature and where and how the product appears on the page. However, it does not affect our opinions. Our opinions are entirely our own. Here is a list of and . Table of Contents. Show More Table of Contents Important points to remember about money orders A Money order can be a safe alternative to cash or a personal check and functions as a check so you can either 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 make use of a money order. You can use cash or the debit card to purchase money orders at the post office, Walmart, Western Union and many other locations. What is the process for money orders? Money orders are a piece of paper that’s a safe alternative to cash or personal checks. You specify who will receive the money order, and both you and that person must sign it in order to make it valid, which cuts down on theft. You also prepay for a money order when you buy it. They’re available from U.S. post offices, Walmart, Western Union and other locations. Many have a $1,000 limit which includes those are purchased at banks. Generallyspeaking, you need to make payment for money orders by cash or debit card. The Nerdy Tip: A money order is a great alternative to send money if you don’t have a bank account or do not want to divulge your bank information to the person receiving it. Money orders: Pros as well as cons benefits and disadvantages of using a money transfer. Take a look at these pros and cons before you make a decision to use one. Pros: No bank account required to make or receive a money order. The money order is widely available. Cons If a money-order is accepted (or lost) or lost, it is difficult, if not impossible, to recover your money even if it’s because of fraud or scam. The cash advance fee is subject to change and interest if bought with credit card. (Read more about .) How can I buy money orders? Consider how and to whom you’ll pay using cash or a debit card as well as your name, the person who will be paying and the amount you wish to transfer. Credit card payments might be possible, but generally, it’s more expensive. Fill it out: In addition to the name of the person who is paying, you’ll need to add your name (and possibly your address) and sign the money purchase. (For step-by-step instructions read NerdWallet’s advice on .) Be sure to verify the accuracy of your information because you won’t be able to change the information afterward. Keep the receipt in your wallet: The receipt is a carbon copy of the money order or a paper slip that contains the details entered in the order. You might need it to track your money order or contact the location where you received it. Track your money order: The receipt should also include an identification number you can utilize to confirm that the money order was delivered to the person you wanted it to. If you encounter any issues, contact the place where you bought the money order for assistance. Back to top Where can I obtain a money-order? How much does the cost of a money order? It is possible to purchase an order for money at the post office, Walmart, Western Union and many other locations. Domestic money orders come in an array of prices, from under a dollar up to around $5, dependent on the place you purchase them. You can find a cheaper price at Walmart or a convenience store or supermarket, and you’ll typically pay more at a bank. Some banks don’t provide international money orders, but certain postal offices will, but they cost more than the money orders issued for purchases in the United States. Whatever you decide to purchase them, it’s best to buy money orders in the store in person. Provider Cost Walmart Up to $1. Transfer agents for cash (convenience stores, supermarkets, etc.) The cost depends on the supplier. For instance, certain San Francisco-based Western Union providers charge $1. U.S. Postal Service up To $500 $1.65. $501-$1000: $2.20. Money orders for military $55 cents. international (up to $700): $49.65. Banks and credit unions Depends on the financial institution. Often around $5. >> Looking for more ways to transfer funds ? We have a list of . What will a money-order cost at some of the biggest U.S. banks? Below is a table with the money order cost and the availability of some well-known banks. It is important to note that many banks only sell money orders to accountholders. Click here to learn about the cost of a money order 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; free on premium accounts. Must be purchased in a branch. $5; free for premium checking customers. $5 Free for premium checking customers. $5; free for premium customers who use their checking accounts. $5; no cost for members who are military personnel. Up to $1,000 for $5. The money order must be made at an office. Back to top When do I need to use a money order? There are instances when using cash or personal checks could be risky, or they aren’t accepted for payment. Here are four instances where money orders are the most secure option for payment: You have to send money securely. In contrast to checks, money order don’t contain the bank account number and they ensure that only the person who is receiving it is able to make use of it, as opposed to mailing cash. You’re concerned about bounced checks. Since the money orders can be prepaid and are therefore able to pay, they cannot be rejected due to insufficient funds. Another option: A certified check or a cashier’s check both of which ensure payment and don’t have to be accompanied by an amount limit of $1,000, as do many money orders. ( And .) You’re sending money internationally. Money orders are not all compatible with sending money internationally, however U.S. Postal Service money orders can be sent to up to 25 countries. Another option: A wire transfer (see ), if you need the money there quicker and you are willing to pay more. Check out our . There is no need for an account with a bank. Since cash advances require you for payment in advance, this means you don’t require a bank account and you can still pay bills safely. Nerdy Tip If you don’t have a checking account, an alternative for paying for your regular purchases and bills is to make use of the . Return to the top Savings Cash Management CD Checking Money Market Savings accounts are a place where you can store money securely and earn interest. Savings accounts are an account where you can save money in a secure manner and earn interest. FDIC SoFi Savings and Checking APY 3.75% FDIC SoFi Savings and Checking with APY of 3.75% SoFi members who have direct deposit receive up 3.75 per cent annual percentage yield (APY) for savings accounts (including Vaults) and 2.50% APY on checking balances. No minimum amount of direct deposit needed to earn the 3.75% APY for savings, and 2.50% APY for checking balances. Direct deposit members will receive 1.20% interest on balances, including savings and checking (including Vaults). The rates of interest are variable and can 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 APY 3.50 35% 3.50% APR (annual percentage yield) with a minimum balance of $0 to earn the APY stated. Accounts must have a healthy balance to continue to operate. APY valid 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. These accounts for managing cash are usually provided by non-bank financial establishments. They combine the services and features similar to checking, savings or investment accounts into one package. Cash management accounts are generally offered by non-bank financial institutions. on Wealthfront’s website Wealthfront Cash account APY 4.05% min. balance to APY $1 on the Betterment website. Betterment Cash Reserve, Paid non-client promotions APY 4.00 percent annually percent return (variable) is at 02/06/2023. Min. balance for APY CDs is $0 (certificates of deposit) are a type of savings account that comes with fixed rates and terms typically, they have higher interest rates than regular savings accounts. CDs (certificates of deposit) are a form of savings account that has fixed rates and terms, and usually have higher rates of interest than traditional savings accounts. CIT Bank CD APY 4.60% 1.5 years Term 1.5 year Members FDIC Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield CD APY 4.40% 4.40% annual percentage yield (annual per cent yield) at 01/25/2023. 1 year FDIC SoFi Checking and Savings APY 2.50% FDIC SoFi Savings and Checking APY 2.50% Members of SoFi with direct deposit may receive up 3.75% annual percentage yield (APY) in savings account balances (including vaults) and 2.50 percent APY on checking balances. No minimum amount of direct deposit needed to be eligible for 3.75 percent APY for savings accounts and 2.50% APY for checking balances. Direct deposit members will receive 1.20% APY on all account balances, including savings and checking (including Vaults). Rates of interest are subject to change and can change at any point. The rates listed 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. Use the Axos Visa(r) Debit Card to make a maximum of 10 transactions per monthly (min three dollars per purchase) or join Account Aggregation/Personal Finance Manager (PFM) in Online Banking to earn 0.30% annual percentage. Maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 per month on an Axos managed Portfolios Investment Account for 0.20% annual percentage yield. Keep an average daily balance of $2,500 per month with an Axos self-directed trading Invest Account to earn 0.20% APY. Make use of the Rewards checking account to pay your entire month’s Axos customer loan payment and earn 0.15 percent APY. Monthly fee of $0. Market accounts earn rates similar to savings accounts and include some checking features. Market accounts earn rates that are similar to savings accounts, and come with certain checking features. Members FDIC UFB Best Money Market APY 4.21 Percentage Min. balance for APY $1 member FDIC Discover Bank Money Market Account APY 3.20 Percentage Min. balance for APY $1 Money order tracking It’s fairly easy to figure the location of a money order is provided you’ve saved the receipt. But the process varies slightly by issuer. The U.S. Postal Service and MoneyGram allow users to track their online transactions using details such as the serial number on your receipt as well as the purchase price. The bank you use should be able provide you with the same information. Without the receipt, you’ll probably need to submit a research request to find the serial number of your money order which is costly and lengthy. For MoneyGram for instance the fee is $40, and takes up to 60 days to complete. Just be sure to track the money order through the provider that you actually use — it might be Western Union or MoneyGram even when you bought it from an convenience store. The money order should clearly indicate the name of the service provider. Return to top About The author Margarette Burnette is a expert in the field of savings accounts at NerdWallet. She has had her work featured in USA Today and The Associated Press. In a similar vein… Find an improved savings account. Check out NerdWallet’s picks for the best high yield online savings accounts. Dive even deeper in Banking Make smarter money decisions delivered straight to your inbox. 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