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A person purchasing a money order with a debit card.

Can You Buy a Money Order with a Debit Card?

If you’re thinking of purchasing a money order for some reason, you may be wondering, Can you buy a money order with a debit card? It’s important to understand how money orders work, what their pros and cons are, and the circumstances in which you can use them. 

Getting to grips with this before you purchase a money order can make it a more useful tool and help you determine when it’s most suitable — so let’s take a look!

Key Takeaways

  • Money orders are a secure alternative to cash and checks, issued by banks or government institutions. They can be easily converted into cash without requiring a checking account.
  • Yes, you can buy a money order with a debit card, but ensure you have enough funds in your account to cover the full amount plus any fees. 

What Is a Money Order?

People who want to use a money order instead of a check or cash typically get them from a bank or a government agency. It’s easy to convert a money order into cash, and you don’t need a checking account to do so.

Money orders can be used to pay off debts, both to businesses and to individuals, and many institutions offer them for small fees.

You will need the recipient’s name and the bank (or other financial institution) will print their name on the order. That means that, generally speaking, money orders are more secure than cash because only the intended recipient can turn it into cash and use it.

Money orders have been in existence since the late 1800s and are still in common use today. Some people find that it helps to think of a money order as a prepaid check; you will need to pay for it in advance before the money is sent.

Can I Buy a Money Order with a Debit Card?

Yes, you can get a money order using a debit card with most institutions (although you may wish to check in advance to make sure it will be accepted). You must have the full amount you wish to send available in the account, plus the fee, or you won’t be able to buy it.

Do You Have To Pay Fees with a Money Order?

Yes, money orders usually do have a fee associated with them, but this does not tend to be very much. On the whole money orders are cheap to send, which is why some people choose to use this method of sending money.

Other Ways To Purchase a Money Order

You can use various other options for buying a money order. A credit card will also work, although you may need to pay a cash advance fee, depending on who issues your credit card and what their terms and conditions are. You should also be aware that if your credit card company has high interest rates for cash advances, you might end up paying a significant chunk of interest on the money order.

Again, you should check if the institution you intend to buy the money order from accepts credit cards before you go into the store, to avoid disappointment and wasted time.

You can also use cash to buy a money order. Many people do this, and it will ensure you don’t end up facing fees from your credit card issuer.

Buying a money order with a debit card

When Should You Use a Money Order?

Here are some occasions when you would want to use a money order:

1. You Need To Send Money Securely

There are many times when a money order can be useful, and the need to send money securely is one of the most obvious ones. Putting cash in the mail is not considered a safe option; there is a high chance of it being stolen, and you may have no recourse if this occurs. Most mailing institutions will recommend not sending cash via the mail services.

That leaves money orders and checks as your remaining options in these situations, which is frustrating. Checks are reasonably secure but they have a significant drawback: they contain your banking information. If somebody does steal the check, there’s a chance they could use this information to steal money from your account.

Money orders do not contain your banking details, so some people consider them more secure. There is still a risk (since almost all payment options carry an inherent risk) but it’s much lower. Furthermore, if your money order goes missing and you can present your receipt to the seller, you may be entitled to a refund, sometimes with a small charge attached.

2. You Don’t Have a Checking Account

Not everybody has a checking account, and if you don’t, you won’t be able to write checks when you send money. That leaves you with only cash or money orders as your options – and money orders are safer.

If you don’t have a checking account, you can simply go to a suitable location and hand over the cash to send a money order.

3. You’re Worried the Check Will Bounce

Are you concerned about the check potentially bouncing because of limited funds in your account? This is frustrating for everybody and can result in fees, making the situation even worse. If you are worried about this, it may be better to send a money order.

Money orders cannot bounce because you hand over the money when you buy the money order. This eliminates any risk of the funds not being available. If you need the cash and you don’t currently have it, you may wish to consider taking out a loan from Simple Fast Loans to ensure you can buy your money order.

4. You Want To Send Money Abroad

It’s not a good idea to send cash or checks internationally; there’s simply too much risk of them getting lost. That means that purchasing a money order from a post office may be preferable: they have International Postal Money Order Forms that you can fill in to send money to a variety of countries (check that yours is on the list first, of course).

Where Can I Get a Money Order?

When looking to buy a money order with a debit card, you have several options available. Your best choice would be traditional financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. Additionally, check-cashing stores and certain retail establishments may also provide money order services.

Before heading to a specific location, it's advisable to check with them directly to ensure that they accept debit cards for purchasing money orders. Each establishment may have its own policies and procedures. When you visit, be prepared to provide identification as part of the transaction process, and be aware that there might be fees associated with obtaining a money order.

In summary, explore a variety of options including banks, credit unions, check-cashing stores, and select retail outlets to find a convenient and reliable place to get a money order with your debit card.

Where Can You Cash Your Money Order?

Ideally, money orders should be cashed at the same institution that issued it; this makes everything straightforward and is the cheapest option. However, you can also deposit a money order into your bank account if you can’t get to the same institution.

You can also go to various convenience stores, payday loan stores, and check-cashing stores, but they will charge a fee for handling the money order, so this isn’t ideal.

Are Money Orders Safe To Use?

Money orders are generally considered safe, yes. There are no guaranteed forms of payment that cannot be stolen if a thief tries hard enough, but on the whole, money orders are safe.

Even so, you should be cautious when creating one; be wary of scammers, and don’t send or receive money orders from individuals who seem dodgy. If a money order you have received will not cash, there’s a chance there’s a scam at play.

Money orders are a useful tool for people in many different situations, and they have multiple advantages over cash and checks. Hopefully, you now have a good sense of how they work and why they can be useful!

Related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are some additional questions our readers wanted to know about money orders.

How To Spot a Fake Money Order

There are a few signs you should look out for when you receive a money order. For example, if the money order looks odd or contains incorrect information, it may not be valid. A missing signature may also be a warning sign, and if the amount of money is incorrect, this is also a potential issue.

Check the serial numbers to make sure they are all there, and compare the paper quality to money orders you have received in the past (if possible), as poor paper is often a sign of fraud.

If in doubt, get in touch with the issuing company, who will be able to verify the authenticity of a money order for you.

How Can You Get a Money Order Online?

Some banks allow customers to purchase money orders via online banking, which makes the whole process quicker. You will probably still pay fees (although not in all cases), but this is a viable option.

Alternatively, you could make the payment securely from your online bank directly to the other person’s bank if you have their details available.

Can I Get a Money Order from Walmart Using Apple Pay?

Unfortunately, Walmart does not offer Apple Pay money orders at the moment. This is frustrating for many customers, but it is not possible to do this. You will have to withdraw the money as cash or put it in your bank account and use a debit card if you want to buy a money order from Walmart.

Does Walmart Sell Western Union Money Orders?

In 2021, Walmart Money Services Center began cashing Western Union money orders, so you may be able to get one of these at your local Walmart. However, it is always a good idea to verify this with your local store first, in case they don’t offer this option. It’s frustrating to go into the store and then find you can’t get what you need, so always check in advance.

How Can I Transfer Money From My Debit Card?

The best way to transfer money from your debit card is to go into your bank’s website and log in. You should then see a transfer option, which you should select. You will need to fill in details such as the amount you wish to send, the desired transferee, and some other information, and then you should be able to send the money.

Different banks will have different processes, so if you struggle, get in touch with your bank provider and ask them for assistance.

How Should I Handle Mistakes on My Money Order?

It can be challenging to address a mistake on a money order, unfortunately. For those sending them, it’s very important to verify all details and make sure they are accurate before the money order is sent.

Some of the most common mistakes include things like writing the wrong amount of money, misspelling the recipient’s name, or putting the wrong address. All of these will cause problems.

Unfortunately, you cannot correct a form once you have filled it out. In most cases, changing any of the information on the form will make it ineligible for cashing, making it useless to the recipient. Some institutions will allow you to make minor corrections, but many do not.

You will often have to refund the payment or cancel it if you’ve made an error. This can cost extra fees, which is very frustrating. For this reason, make sure you have all the information correct in advance, and take your time while filling in the form to avoid errors.

Related Reading:

What do you do if you lose a cashier's check?
What does "counter credit" mean on your statement?
How to cash a check without an ID or bank account
How to pay for a hotel with a checking account

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