What is a money order? How does a money order work and where you can purchase one Advertiser disclosure: You’re our top priority. Every every time. We believe everyone should be able make financial decisions without hesitation. While our website does not feature every business or financial product that is available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer as well as the advice we provide as well as the tools we design are objective, independent, straightforward — and completely free. How do we earn money? Our partners compensate us. This could influence which products we review and write about (and the way they appear on our website) however it does not affect our advice or suggestions, which are grounded in hundreds of hours of study. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable review of their services or products. . What is a Money Order? How does a money Order operates and where to Buy One A money order is a sure payment you can purchase at locations like Walmart or the post office as well as your bank. By Margarette Burnette Senior Writer Savings accounts and money market accounts banks Margarette Burnette has been a specialist in saving and has been writing about bank accounts since prior to the Great Recession. Her writing has been featured in major newspapers. Before becoming a part of NerdWallet, Margarette was a freelance journalist with bylines in magazines like Good Housekeeping, and Parenting. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Nov 23rd, 2022 Edited by Yuliya Goldshteyn, Assistant Assigning editor Yuliya Goldshteyn is a banking editor with NerdWallet. She has previously worked as an editor as well as a researcher and writer across a range of industries from health care as well as market research. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the field of history from Berkeley at the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree 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 a well-known author and speaker. As an expert on finance psychology Kathleen has appeared on television and her work has been published on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, “PBS NewsHour,”” Money magazine, Today Money, Forbes and CNBC. Kathleen was an adjunct faculty member of The McCallum Graduate School at Bentley University from 2009 until 2019, and is now a professor for Champlain College. At NerdWallet the content we publish goes through an extensive . We have such confidence in the accuracy and quality of our content that we have outside experts examine our work. The majority of items featured on this page are made by our partners that pay us. This affects the products we write about and where and how the product is featured on a page. However, it does not affect our assessments. Our opinions are entirely our own. Below is a list and . Table of Contents Table of Contents Key takeaways about money orders A money order is a reliable alternative to cash or a personal check; it works like a check so you can cash it out or deposit it into an account at a bank. If cash or personal checks puts you at risk or aren’t accepted for payment, choose to use a money-order instead. Cash or the debit card to purchase money order at post offices, Walmart, Western Union and other places. What is the process for money orders? Money orders are a piece of paper that is a secure alternative to personal checks or cash. You choose who receives the money order, and you and that person must sign it for it to be valid, which cuts down on theft. You can also prepay for money orders when you buy it. They are available in U.S. post offices, Walmart, Western Union and other locations. There are many that have a limit of $1,000 which includes those you purchase at banks. Generallyspeaking, you need to pay for money orders using cash or debit card. The Nerdy Tip: A money order is a good alternative to send money if you don’t have a bank account or you don’t wish to divulge your bank information with the recipient. Money orders: Advantages and cons There are benefits and disadvantages to making use of a money order. Consider these pros and cons before you make a decision to use one. Benefits: There is no bank account required to send or receive a money-order. The money order is widely available. Cons: Once a money order is accepted (or lost) and then lost, it could be difficult, if not impossible, to get your money back, even if it was caused by fraud or scam. Cash advance charges may apply and interest if purchased with a credit card. (Read about .) How can I buy a money order? Consider how and to whom you’ll pay: Be prepared with cash or a credit card, your name, the payee and the amount you want to send. Paying with a credit card could be possible, but generally, it’s more expensive. Fill it out with the following information: Alongside the payee’s name and address, you’ll have to include your name (and maybe an address) and also sign the purchase. (For steps-by-step instructions follow NerdWallet’s tutorial on .) Make sure the accuracy of your information since you’ll not be able to change the information afterward. Keep the receipt in your wallet: The receipt will be an exact carbon duplicate of the money-order or a slip of paper that records the information entered in the order. It could be necessary to trace the money order or to contact the location where you received it. Follow your money order The receipt should also include an tracking number which you can use to verify that the money transfer was made to the intended recipient. If you encounter any issues you should contact the location that you purchased the money order for assistance. Return to top Where can I obtain a money-order? How much does the cost of a money order? You can purchase a money order at Post Offices, Walmart, Western Union and many other locations. Domestic money orders come in a range of costs that range from less than a dollar up to $5 depending on where you buy them. It’s cheaper at Walmart or an upscale supermarket or convenience store but you’ll be charged more at banks. Not all providers have international money orders available; certain Post offices offer them, however they’re more expensive than the money orders issued for purchases in the United States. Whatever you decide to purchase them, it’s best to purchase money orders in person. The seller Cost Walmart Up to $1. Money transfer agents (convenience stores, supermarkets, etc.) The cost depends on the supplier. For instance, certain San Francisco-area Western Union providers charge $1. U.S. Postal Service up 500$: $1.65. $501-$1000: $2.20. Military money orders: 55 cents. international (up of $700): $49.65. Credit unions and banks depend on the financial institution. Often around $5. Are you looking for other options for sending fund s ? Here are our . What is a money order cost at some of the biggest U.S. banks? This table that outlines the cost of money orders and availability at some popular banks. It is important to note that many banks only sell money orders to customers who have accounts. + Click here for information on the cost of a money order and availability at the most well-known banks. Bank Money Order Information There is no offer. , Member FDIC Not offered. It is not available. $5 for up to $1,000 Free on premium accounts. It must be purchased at an office. $5; no cost for premium customers of checking. $5; free for premium checking customers. $5; free for premium checking customers. $5; free for military members of the military. Up to $1,000 for $5. Must be purchased in the branch. To the top of the page When should I make use of a money order? There are times that using personal or cash checks can put you at risk or may not be accepted as payments. Here are four examples of when money orders are the ideal option for payment: You have to send money securely. In contrast to checks, money order do not include the 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 worried about bouncing a check. Because they have been pre-paid, they can’t be rejected due to insufficient funds. Another option is a certified check or cashier’s check both of which ensure payment and don’t necessarily have the limit of $1,000 like the majority of money orders. ( And .) It’s sending money abroad. Not all money orders work overseas, but U.S. Postal Service money orders can be delivered to around 25 countries. Another option: a wire transfer (see ) If you need the money there quicker and you are willing to spend more. Check out our . There is no need for an account with a bank. Since cash advances require you to pay in advance, you don’t require a bank account and you are able to pay for bills without risk. The best advice for you if you don’t have a checking account, another method of paying regular expenses and bills is to make use of the . Back to top Savings Cash Management CD Checking Money Market Savings accounts are the perfect place to save money in a safe manner with interest. A savings account is an account where you can keep your money safe as well as earn interest. FDIC SoFi Savings and Checking APY 3.75% FDIC SoFi Checking and Savings APR 3.75 percent SoFi customers with direct deposit can earn up to 3.75% annually-percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including vaults) and 2.50 percent APY on their checking balances. There is no minimum amount of direct deposit required to qualify for the 3.75% APY for savings and 2.50 percent APY on checking balances. Direct deposit members will earn 1.20 percent interest on balances of savings and checking (including vaults). Rates of interest are subject to change and may 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 Min. balance for APY $0 Member FDIC Marcus Online Savings by Goldman Sachs Account APY 3.50 percent 3.50% APY (annual percentage yield) with a balance of zero to earn stated APY. Accounts must be in healthy balance to continue to operate. APY current as of 02/07/2023. Min. balance for APY The cash accounts combine services and features similar to savings, checking and/or investment accounts into one. These accounts for managing cash are usually provided by non-bank financial institutions. These accounts offer services and features that are similar to checking, savings and investment accounts into one account. Cash management accounts are generally offered by non-bank financial establishments. on the Wealthfront website. Wealthfront Cash Account APY 4.05% Min. amount for APY $1 on the Betterment website. Betterment Cash Reserve Paid non-client promotions APY 4.00% Annual percentage rate (variable) is as of 02/06/2023. Min. balance for APY CDs is $0 (certificates of deposits) are a type of savings account with fixed rates and terms generally, they come with higher interest rates than regular savings accounts. CDs (certificates of deposit) are a form of savings account with an unchanging rate and term typically, and have higher rates of interest than regular savings accounts. CIT Bank CD APY 4.60% Term 1.5 Years Members FDIC Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield CD APY 4.40 percent 4.40% annual percentage yield (annual percentage yield) as of 01/25/2023 Term 1 year 1 year Member FDIC SoFi Checking and Savings APY 2.50% SoFi members who have direct deposit may receive up 3.75 per cent per year in 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 percent APY on savings and 2.50 percent APY on checking balances. Customers who do not deposit direct deposits are eligible to earn 1.20 percent APR on all balances, including savings and checking (including Vaults). The rates of interest are subject to fluctuation and are can change at any time. The rates listed are current at 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 calendar month (min $3 per transaction) or enroll for Account Aggregation/Personal Financial Manager (PFM) within Online Banking to earn 0.30% APR. Keep an average daily amount of $2,500 within An Axos Managed Portfolios Invest Account in order to receive 0.20% APY. Maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 per month with the Axos Self Directed Trading Invest Account for 0.20% APY. Utilize Your Rewards Checking Account for your entire each month Axos customer loan payment and earn 0.15% annual percentage yield. Monthly fee: $0. Money market accounts have rates comparable to savings accounts, and come with certain checking features. Market accounts earn rates comparable to savings accounts and have certain features for checking. FDIC UFB Best Money Market Member FDIC UFB Best Money Market APY 4.21 Percentage Min. balance for APY $0 member FDIC Discover Bank Money Market Account APY 3.20 percent Min. amount for APY $1 Money order tracking It’s relatively simple to find out where your money order is as long as you’ve kept the receipt. But the process varies slightly according to the issuer. The U.S. Postal Service and MoneyGram allow you to track your online purchases using details like the serial number on your receipt as well as the amount of your purchase. Banks should be in a position to give you the exact information. Without a receipt, you’ll likely be required to file a request to find the serial number on your money order which is costly and long-winded. For MoneyGram for instance, it costs $40 and takes up to 60 days to process. Just be sure to track the money order through the company that actually provides it — it might be Western Union or MoneyGram even if you purchased it at the convenience store. The money order must clearly show or state the name of the company. Back to top About Author: Margarette Burnette works as a savings account expert at NerdWallet. The work she has done for NerdWallet was highlighted on USA Today and The Associated Press. On a similar note… Discover a better savings account See NerdWallet’s recommendations for the top high yield online savings accounts. Go deeper into Banking Find more money-saving strategies right to your inbox. 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