You need a money order to pay your rent, utility bill or other expenses. Can you use a debit card to purchase it, or is cash the only payment method that’s accepted by merchants that sell money orders? That’s a valid question that you’ll find the answer to in this guide, along with other frequently asked questions regarding purchasing and cashing in money orders.
What is a Money Order?
A money order is a method of payment that is sometimes used to cover the cost of goods and services. Unlike a personal check, it’s a guaranteed form of funds that cannot bounce or be returned unpaid by the bank since the funds are pulled from your account at the time of issuance.
Can You Buy a Money Order with Your Debit Card?
Money orders can be purchased from banks, credit unions, post offices, payday loan stores, convenience stores and select pharmacies or retailers. The acceptable payment methods vary, but many accept debit cards.
Other Ways to Buy a Money Order
You also have the option to buy a money order with cash. And in some instances, you can use a credit card. However, be mindful that paying with a credit card also means you could be on the hook for a cash advance fee, depending on the credit card issuer. Plus, you may have to pay more in interest for the money order purchase if the credit card company charges a higher interest rate for transactions categorized as cash advances.
When Should You Use Money Order?
There are several instances that warrant the use of a money order.
You Need to Send Money Securely
If you need to send money through the mail, a money order is much safer than cash. Checks are also an option, but they include your banking information, which could put your funds at risk of being stolen.
There’s always a risk that thieves could get their hands on a money order and swap it out for cash, but it takes far more effort on their behalf. Furthermore, you could be refunded if your money order vanishes in the mail if you’re able to present a receipt to the seller. A small processing fee may apply, but it beats forfeiting the entire value of the money order.
You Don’t Have a Checking Account
Money orders are also a viable alternative if you don’t want to use cash for payment but can’t write a check because you don’t have a checking account. You can visit a location that sells money orders, hand over cash and receive a piece of paper that’s equivalent to cash.
You’re Worried the Check Will Bounce
Unlike money orders, checks aren’t a guaranteed form of payment. They could bounce if the check is presented and there aren’t enough funds in your account to cover the payment. However, money orders are prepaid and guaranteed to clear since the cash is remitted before they’re issued.
You Want to Send Money Abroad
Sending cash or a check internationally is rarely a good idea. You can purchase a money order from the post office, though, if you’re planning to send funds to one of the countries that accept International Postal Money Order Forms.
Where Can You Cash Your Money Order?
If possible, cash your money order where it was issued. But if this isn’t an option, you can deposit it into your bank account. Many payday loan stores, check-cashing stores and select convenience stores will also cash your money order, but you’ll need to pay a fee for this service.
Is It Safe to Use Money Orders?
In most instances, it’s safe to use money orders as a form of payment. Still, you should always be on the lookout for scammers and avoid sending or receiving money orders from individuals who seem fishy. It’s equally important to reach out to the entity that issued the money order to confirm its validity. If you encounter challenges when trying to cash a money order in – this could be a sign of fraud.
Get a Line of Credit Using Your Debit Card
Instead of dipping into your bank account and purchasing a money order to make a payment, you can use funds from a line of credit that are accessible through your debit card. That way, you won’t have to go out of your way to purchase a money order and drop it off to the recipient or place it in the mail.
If you aren’t sure where to find a line of credit, though, or worry you won’t qualify due to your credit rating, look no further than Grain. It’s an online platform that offers credit lines up to $1,000 based solely on your cash flow. There are no hard credit checks, and you could get approved in as little as two minutes.
It takes a few minutes to get started with Grain. After downloading the mobile app, connect the primary checking account that you use to make purchases and receive direct deposits. Grain will present a credit offer if one is available to you. Grain supports more than 10,000 banks, so the process is typically seamless.
Even better, Grain makes it easy to access funds – simply submit a withdrawal request in the mobile app, receive the money in your checking account within seconds and use your debit card as you normally would.
To learn more about Grain, download the mobile app. It’s currently available on the AppStore. If you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, join the Android waiting list to be the first to know when it’s available for download on Google Play
Disclaimer: Credit offer based on cash flow in the linked checking account and may require a credit check. All accounts are subject to ID verification and approval. See your Credit Agreement and Terms of Service for further details.