Yes. You can buy a money order with a credit card as well as with a debit card, check or bank transfer. Western Union and 7-11 are two notable examples of merchants that allow you to buy a money order with a credit card.
Unless credit is your only option and sending money is a necessity, however, buying a money order with a credit card is probably not going to be the best move for your wallet. Credit card companies consider the purchase of a money order to be the equivalent of a cash advance, so the transaction will trigger an expensive fee as well as the immediate accrual of a high interest rate.
To help people make the right moves, we broke down the payment methods accepted by some of the most popular money order services. This will give you a sense of which providers are available to you and what steps you can take to minimize costs. We also highlighted other ways that you can use credit in situations where you might assume a money order is necessary, such as paying utility and credit card bills or sending money to friends and family.
Payment Methods Accepted by Popular Money Order Providers
|Company||Accepts Credit Cards?||Accepts Debit Cards?||Accepts Prepaid Cards?||Accepts Checks?||Accepts Bank Transfers?||Accepts Cash?|
|K-Mart (uses WesternUnion)||YES||YES||YES||NO||YES||YES|
|CVS (uses MoneyGram)||NO||NO||NO||NO||YES||YES|
|USPS||NO||YES||YES||Traveler's Checks only||NO||YES|
*Policies may vary at MoneyGram locations within stores like Walmart.
**Varies by location.
As you can see, a few money order providers accept credit cards. However, credit card issuer rules dictate that all process this type of transaction as a cash advance. As a result, you’ll trigger an expensive fee (3.3% on average), and a high interest rate (20.38% on average) will immediately apply to the amount of the cash advance. Fees and APRs differ by credit card issuer, but are almost always expensive, so we do not recommend funding a money order with a credit card if you can avoid it.
It’s also good to note that you will likely need to pay a fee to the company you buy the money order from, no matter how you pay for it. These fees range from less than a dollar to a few dollars, depending on the company and the size of the money order. With that in mind, you may be in the market for a way to send money without using a money order. Below, we’ll highlight some options for a handful of scenarios in which money orders are commonly used.
Credit-Card Friendly Money Order Alternatives
Utility Bills: Third-party services, such as Plastiq, allow you to pay utility bills with a credit card. However, you will likely need to pay a fee. Some utility companies accept online bill pay from a credit card account, too.
Credit Card Bills: You can use a third-party service like Plastiq to pay one credit card’s bill with another credit card. Watch out for fees, though.
Opening a 0% balance transfer credit card would enable you to pay off your existing obligation and reduce your finance charges.
You could also tap into your credit line with a cash advance and then use the cash to pay your other card’s bill. Credit card cash advances are very expensive, so avoid this option whenever possible.
Rent Payments: There are a number of third-party services that allow people to pay their rent with a credit card when their landlord does not accept credit directly. Some of the most popular are RentPayment, PlacePay, RentTrack and ClickPay. Be sure to familiarize yourself with any fees before using these services.
If your landlord will go for it, you could also pay rent with a credit card through a money-transfer service like PayPal or Venmo, if you know their email address.
Sending Cash to Friends & Family: If both you and your intended recipient have Visa debit or prepaid cards, you can take advantage of Visa Direct to electronically deposit money into their account.
Other money-transfer services like Google Wallet, Venmo and PayPal allow you to transfer money with a credit card using the recipient’s email address. Those transactions will likely be treated as cash advances, though.
Shopping on eBay & Etsy: Another common use of money orders is buying items in certain categories on eBay and Etsy. However, most of these sellers will also accept third-party payment services like PayPal, Venmo and Google Wallet.
PayPal is the easiest way to pay for things on these online marketplaces, especially eBay, as the two used to be part of the same company, so the functionality is thoroughly integrated.
For more information about credit substitutes, check out our Credit Card Alternatives Guide.