Can I Buy a Money Order With a Credit Card?

It’s technically possible, but it’ll probably cost you more than paying with cash, debit card, bank transfer or traveler’s check.
Jae Bratton
By Jae Bratton 
Edited by Kenley Young

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Most purchases made with a credit card are straightforward: Just swipe or tap, and go. But for some things like marijuana, lottery tickets, gift cards and vehicles, it’s a little more complicated. Credit card use for those purchases, for example, may be restricted to certain states, or the transaction amount may be capped.

A money order — a prepaid, guaranteed form of payment that resembles a check — belongs to the latter category. Technically, you can buy a money order with a credit card in a roundabout way that we explain below. But even when it’s possible to pay with plastic, it’s probably not worth it.

Paying with a credit card is possible, but not advised

Most retailers, banks and credit unions don’t let you purchase money orders with a credit card. Popular places to get a money order — including the U.S. Postal Service, Walmart, Western Union and 7-Eleven — accept only cash or debit cards for money order purchases.

There is a workaround to using a credit card to buy a money order, but it’s expensive. Here's how it would work:

You could use your credit card to take out a cash advance. In this scenario, you’d use your credit card like a debit card at an ATM and withdraw money. Then, you would use the funds from the cash advance to purchase the money order.

However, unlike cash withdrawn from a bank account, a cash advance must be paid back to the credit card issuer. And that's far from the only drawback:

  • Issuers usually charge a cash advance fee, often $10 or 5% of the advance amount, whichever is greater. 

  • Interest on cash advances starts accruing immediately. There is no grace period, as you might have with normal purchases.

  • The interest rate for cash advances is often higher than it is for purchases

  • Cash advances are often capped at a certain amount.  

Other (better) ways to purchase money orders

For the most seamless experience, pay for a money order with a payment method accepted by the retailer or institution. These typically include:

  • Cash.

  • Debit card.

  • Traveler’s check.

  • Transfer from your bank. 

Note that many places charge a fee to issue a money order, even when you pay with an acceptable form of payment. These fees are usually $5 or less.

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