What Is a Money Order? How does a money order work and Where to Buy One Advertiser disclosure We make you our top priority. Every time. We believe that everyone should be able make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product that is available in the marketplace We’re pleased of the advice we provide, the information we provide and the tools we develop are objective, independent, straightforward — and free. How do we earn money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we write about (and the way they appear on the website) however it in no way affects our advice or suggestions, which are grounded in many hours of study. Our partners do not promise us favorable review of their services or products. . What Is a Money Order? What is a Money Order works and where to Purchase One is a dependable payment that you can buy at places like Walmart, the post office and even your bank. By Margarette Burnette, Senior Writer Savings accounts and money market accounts banking Margarette Burnette has been a specialist in saving and has written about bank accounts since prior to the Great Recession. Her work has been featured in major newspapers. Prior to becoming a part of NerdWallet, Margarette was a freelance journalist with bylines in magazines such as Good Housekeeping, and Parenting. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Nov 23, 2022 Edited By Yuliya Goldshteyn Assistant Banking Yuliya Goldshteyn is a banking editor with NerdWallet. She was previously an editor or writer, as well as research analyst in a variety of industries, from health care to market research. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from Berkeley at the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree of social science from University of Chicago. You can reach her 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 speaker and author. As an expert in the psychology of money, Kathleen is a regular on the television, and her work has been highlighted by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, “PBS NewsHour,” Money magazine, Today Money, Forbes and CNBC. Kathleen worked as an adjunct faculty member at the McCallum Graduate School at Bentley University from 2009 until 2019 and currently teaches for Champlain College. At NerdWallet the content we publish goes through rigorous . We are so confident in the accuracy and quality of our content that we allow outside experts examine our work. The majority of items featured on this page are made by our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we review and where and how the product appears on the page. But, it doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of and . Table of Contents Show More Table of Contents Important lessons about money orders Money order can be a secure substitute for cash and a personal check and functions as the check and you can cash it or deposit it into a bank account. If personal checks or cash can put you at risk, or they aren’t accepted as payment, you could choose to use a money-order instead. You can use cash or a debit card to buy money order at post offices, 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 can specify who will get the money order, and you and that person who will receive it must sign the order for it to be 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 places. Many have a $1,000 limit which includes those you purchase at banks. In general, you have to pay for money orders with cash or a debit card. Money orders is an excellent option for sending money if you do not have a bank account or you don’t wish to share your banking information for the beneficiary. Money orders: Advantages and Cons There’s advantages and disadvantages of using a money order. Consider these advantages and disadvantages before you make a decision to use one. Pros: No bank account is required to send or receive a money order. The money order is widely available. Cons When a money order is accepted (or lost) or lost, it is 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 purchased with credit card. (Read more about .) How can I buy money orders? Be aware of how and with whom you’ll pay: Be prepared using cash or a debit card as well as names of your person who will be paying and the amount you wish to send. Paying with a credit card could be possible, but typically, it will cost more. The form must be completed with the following information: Alongside the payee’s name and address, you’ll have to include your name (and maybe the address) and sign the money payment. (For detailed instructions on how to do this follow NerdWallet’s tutorial on .) Be sure to verify that all information is correct since you’ll not be able to edit the data afterward. Keep the receipt in your wallet: The receipt is an exact carbon copy of the money order or a paper slip that contains the information you entered on the money order. You might need it to trace your money order or contact the location where you received it. Follow your money order The receipt should also include a tracking number that you can use to confirm that the money order got to the person you wanted it to. If you encounter any issues then contact the store where you purchased the money order to get help. Back to top Where can I obtain a money-order? What does the cost of a money order? You can get an order for money at a post office, Walmart, Western Union and other places. Domestic money orders have a range of costs, from under a dollar up to around $5, depending on where you buy them. It’s cheaper at Walmart or an upscale supermarket or convenience store however, you’ll usually spend more at a bank. There aren’t all banks that offer international money orders; some post offices do, but they cost more than the money orders issued for purchases in the United States. Whatever you decide to buy them, it’s safer to buy money orders in the person. The seller Cost Walmart Up to $1. Agents for money transfer (convenience stores, supermarkets, etc.) The cost depends on the provider. For example, some San Francisco-area 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 up to $750): $49.65. Credit unions and banks depend on the financial institution. Often around $5. Are you looking for other options for sending fund s ? These are the options we have . What is a money order cost at the biggest U.S. banks? Below is a table containing the money order cost and availability at some popular banks. Note that many banks will only sell money orders to customers who have accounts. Click here for information on the price of money orders and availability at some popular banks. Bank Money Order Information Not available. The bank is a member of FDIC Not offered. The offer is not offered. Up to $1,000 for $5; free to premium account holders. You must purchase the account at an office. $5; no cost for premium customers of checking. $5 Free for premium customers with a checking account. $5 For premium customers who use their checking accounts. $5; free for military members of the military. Up to $1,000 for $5. The money order must be made at an office. Return to top Why do I need to use money orders? There are occasions when using cash or personal checks can be risky or aren’t acceptable as payment. Here are four instances of where money orders are the ideal option for payment: You have to send money securely. Contrary to checks, money orders don’t include your bank account’s number, and help to make sure that only the recipient is able to make use of it, as opposed to sending cash. You’re concerned about bounced checks. Since the money orders can be prepaid and are therefore able to pay, they won’t be rejected because of insufficient funds. Another option is a certified check or cashier’s check, both of which guarantee payment but don’t need to have an amount limit of $1,000, as do many money orders. ( as well .) You’re sending money internationally. Money orders are not all compatible with sending money overseas, 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 spend more. You can also check out our . You don’t have an account at 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 do not have a checking account, an alternative for paying for regular purchases and bills is to use a . Back to the top Savings Cash Management CD Checking Money Market Savings accounts are a place where you can keep money safe while earning interest. A savings account is the perfect place to store money securely and earn interest. FDIC SoFi Savings and Checking APY 3.75% FDIC SoFi Savings and Checking APY 3.75 Percent SoFi Members with direct deposit are eligible to 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. There is no minimum amount of direct deposit that is required to be eligible for 3.75% APY for savings and 2.50 percent APY on checking balances. Direct deposit members will earn 1.20 percent APR on all balances of savings and checking (including vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. 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 Goldman Sachs Online Savings Bank APR 3.50 percent 3.50% APY (annual per cent yield) with a balance of zero to earn stated APY. Accounts must be in positive balance to remain open. APY is valid until 02/07/2023. Min. balance for APY Cash accounts are $0 and provide a range of services and features similar to checking, savings or investment accounts into one. Cash management accounts are generally provided by non-bank financial institutions. They combine the features and services similar to checking, savings and/or investment accounts in one account. These accounts for managing cash are usually offered by non-bank financial institutions. on Wealthfront’s website Wealthfront Cash Accounts APY 4.05% min. balance to APY $1 on the Betterment website. Betterment Cash Reserve Paid non-client promotions APY 4.00% Annual percentage yield (variable) is as of 02/06/2023. Min. balance for APY CDs is $0 (certificates of deposits) are a type of savings account with a fixed rate and term, and usually have higher interest rates than regular savings accounts. CDs (certificates of deposit) are a kind of savings account that comes 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 year Member FDIC Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield CD APY 4.40 percent 4.40% APY (annual percent yield) as of 01/25/2023 . 1 year 1 year Member FDIC SoFi Savings and Checking APY 2.50% Members of SoFi with direct deposit may get up to 3.75 per cent annual percentage yield (APY) in savings account balances (including Vaults) and 2.50 percent APY on checking balances. No minimum direct deposit amount needed to be eligible for 3.75 percent APY on savings and 2.50 percent APY on checking balances. Customers who do not deposit direct deposits will get 1.20 percent interest on balances of savings and checking (including vaults). Interest rates are variable 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. Utilize the Axos Visa(r) debit card to make a maximum of 10 transactions each calendar month (min $3 per transaction) or sign up for Account Aggregation/Personal Finance Manager (PFM) within Online Banking to earn 0.30% APR. Maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 per month in the Axos managed Portfolios Investment Account to earn 0.20 percent APR. Maintain a daily average amount of $2,500 in an Axos Self-Directed Trading Invest Account in order to receive 0.20% annual percentage yield. Use the Rewards checking account to make the full monthly Axos consumer loan payment and earn 0.15 percent APY. Monthly fee of $0. Market accounts earn rates similar to savings accounts and have certain checking features. Money market accounts pay rates comparable to savings accounts, and come with certain features for checking. Members FDIC UFB’s Best Money Market APR 4.21% Min. balance for APY $1 member FDIC Discover Bank Money Market Account APY 3.20 percent Min. balance for APY $1 Money order tracking It’s relatively simple to find out where your money order is so long as you’ve kept the receipt. The process is different by issuer. The U.S. Postal Service and MoneyGram allow users to track their online transactions using details such as the serial number on the receipt along with the amount of your purchase. Your bank should be able give you the same information. Without the receipt, you’ll probably need to submit a research request to locate your money order’s serial number which is costly and lengthy. At MoneyGram for instance the fee is $40, and could take up to 60 days to process. Just be sure to track the money order with the company that actually provides it that could have been Western Union or MoneyGram even when you bought it from a convenience store. The money order must clearly state who the provider is. Back to top About Author: Margarette Burnette works as a savings account expert at NerdWallet. Her work has been featured by USA Today and The Associated Press. Similar to… Get an improved savings account. Check out NerdWallet’s recommendations for the top high-yield savings accounts online. Go deeper into Banking Find more money-saving strategies delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy posts on the topics in finance which matter to you the most and other strategies to get more value from your money.
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