12 Places To Get A Cheap Money Order Near Me
Most of us have checking accounts, but there are times when we might have to or want to use a money order. If you grew up in the age of the internet, you might not even know what a money order is, never mind where to get one. Don’t worry; we’ll answer both questions and a few more. If you’re asking yourself “where can I find a money order near me?” – we’ll give you 12 places you can find them on the cheap!
What is a Money Order?
They are similar to checks and can be used to pay for things. The difference is that a money order is prepaid. You can buy one with cash or another form of guaranteed payment like a debit card or a credit card cash advance. (Be aware that a cash advance against your credit card may have a higher interest rate than do regular purchases and there is no grace period. Once you pull the cash off the card, the interest starts accruing.).
Why Use a Money Order?
Not everyone has a bank account. There are 55 million Americans, 22% of U.S. households, are unbanked or underbanked, meaning they don’t have bank accounts. If you have no bank account, you have no checking account, and you have no checks.
Security for both sides of the transaction is another reason to use a money order. These guaranteed payments make them a less risky form of payment for a payee than a check because a check can bounce. It’s safer for the payor as well. Paying significant expenses in cash is risky because you have no proof of payment. A money order satisfies the payee who doesn’t want to risk a check bouncing and the payor who wants evidence that payment was made.
12 Places to Get a Money Order Near Me
Luckily, they aren’t very difficult to find.
1. Your Bank
If you need a money order and you have a bank account, your local bank is the best place to get one because you won’t have to withdraw and walk around with cash on you and it may be free. The teller giving you the order slip can simply transfer the money in the correct amount from your checking or savings account to fund the money order.
And, depending on the type of checking account you have, there may be no charge. I bank with Chase, and two of their checking accounts offer customers free money orders. That said, if you don’t have one of these bank accounts, Chase will charge you a whopping $5 for one.
So it’s worth checking how much your bank charges but it may be the most expensive of the 12 places to get one.
If you’re thinking “but I need a high-value money order near me,” then you may have no choice but to buy it from your bank. Many places will only sell them for up to $1,000.
Of course, nothing is stopping you from buying more than one to reach the dollar amount you need, but you’ll have to pay for each one so it may be more economical, not to mention less hassle, to buy a money order for a large amount from your bank.
2. The Post Office
This is not at the top of my choices for buying a money order near me because standing on line at the Post Office isn’t fun and the vibe in those places! Everyone in there is crabby. The customers because they’re stuck waiting on line and the employees because the customers are rude to them because they’re crabby about waiting on line!
But not everyone lives in a big city or even a small town. Some people live in remote areas where the nearest bank or Walmart is distant, but there are more than 30,000 post offices in the U.S. compared to 5,362 Walmarts. We wanted to compile a list of places to get a money order that would serve people living anywhere.
You can get one at the post office for $1.20 if the order is for $500 or less and $1.65 for orders over $500. You can also cash them at the post office in exchange for money.
There are many grocery stores where I can get a money order near me, but some chains are regional, (I really miss Kroger and wish they would open a store in New Orleans). Walmarts operate across the U.S., so the odds are good that you live near one. I checked a map, and there are 34 within 50 miles of me!
Walmart is one of the cheapest places to buy a money order; they cost just 70 cents each. You can cash them in at Walmart but only if they were purchased at Walmart.
4. 7 Eleven
Did you know there are more 7 Elevens in the U.S. than Walmarts? It’s true! There are more than 8,000 of the convenience stores in the States. I had no idea and can say that I don’t remember the last time I saw one.
The cost of a money order from a 7 Eleven depends on the store. Some sell them for 65 cents each and some charge 1% to 3% of the total amount of the order.
Another surprise! There are almost 10,000 CVS drug stores in the U.S. I guess I keep being surprised by these numbers because I live in New Orleans which has a lot fewer chain stores and restaurants than most other cities in the U.S. (one of my favorite things about living here in a crowded field).
You can buy a money order at CVS for 99 cents.
I refuse to use the name Walgreens. Walgreens bought up a great local chain of drugstores in New York City called Duane Reade (the first location was on Broadway between Duane and Reade Streets). The stores in NYC are still branded DR, but they’re actually Walgreens, and even though I haven’t lived in NYC for three years, I’m still mad about it.
My personal rant aside, Walgreens (ahem, Duane Reade) does sell each money order for 70 cents.
Publix is a chain of grocery stores mostly located in the Southeastern United States. You can buy a money order from Publix for 85 cents each.
Ah, memories! I went to college in Michigan, and if we were up late cramming for a test and too fried to study anymore and too wound up to go to bed, we went to Meijer because they were open 24 hours. Meijer is similar to Walmart, a store that sells both groceries and just about anything else. The chain is mostly located in Midwestern states.
Meijer sells money orders for 65 cents.
While Kmart continues to close stores, there are still about 360 operating in the U.S. To be honest, I’m surprised there are that many left. Kmart was the only store in the town I grew up in, and it was depressing then which was back in the ’80s. I can only imagine what they’re like now. I think I’d rather buy a money order near me at the post office!
Not all locations sell them but the locations that do charge 69 cents.
I’ll always have a soft spot for Kroger or Kroger’s as we called it because my grandmother was a buyer in their corporate office for decades. There were none in NYC, and there are none in New Orleans, so it’s been years since I’ve stepped foot in one, but I still miss them. I can still hear the jingle, “Let’s go Krogering.”
Kroger owns stores that operate under different names including Fredy Meyer, Dillion’s, and Fry’s and the price of a money order depends both on location and subsidiary, but many stores charge 70 cents.
11. Western Union
A lot of the money orders you buy in the places on this list come from Western Union. Why not buy them from the source? It’s just a matter of convenience. If you asked me where my local Walgreens is, I could tell you. I have no idea where the nearest Western Union is.
Further, you can buy a money order from a grocery or drug store while you’re doing other errands like buying groceries or filling a prescription while you’re only going to Western Union to do one thing: buy a money order.
But if for whatever reason you prefer to go to the source, you can buy one from Western Union for $1.
What applies to Western Union applies to MoneyGram. They also issue money orders that are sold in the other places on this list, and sell them directly as well for 70 cents.
Online Money Orders
We can do most everything online right, including a lot of financial transactions, so surely I can go online rather than getting in my car to buy a money order near me?
Well, probably not unless you’re willing to take a significant risk of getting scammed. Legitimate sellers are not willing to take the risk of selling money orders online.
There may be online alternatives though if the person or entity requesting one is willing to accept them as payment.
You may be able to use a cashier’s check rather than a money order, and some banks allow you to order those online. If you’re sending money to a family member or friend, you can use a P2P payment service like PayPal or Venmo. You can make a wire transfer, which is a guaranteed payment method, and the money reaches the payee instantly.
But if none of those are options, there are plenty of places all across the country where you can buy a money order.