Can You Buy A Money Order With A Credit Card?
Yes, you can buy a money order with a credit card as well as with a debit card, check or bank transfer. But unless credit is your only option, and sending money is a necessity, it’s probably not going to be your best choice.
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. Issuers don’t want their customers to be able to bypass cash advance fees and the revenue they provide, which one could otherwise do by sending oneself credit-funded money orders.
With that in mind, we broke down the payment methods accepted by each of the 10 most popular money order services in order to 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 one might assume would necessitate purchasing a money order, such as paying utility and credit card bills or sending money to friends and family.
Money Order Providers
|Company||Accepts Credit Cards?||Credit Card Issuer Charges||Accepts Debit Cards?||Accepts Prepaid Cards?||Accepts Checks?||Accepts Bank Transfers?||Accepts Cash?|
|WesternUnion||$45||Processed as a Cash Advance (average applicable charges below):
22.33% APR (applies immediately)
|USPS||NO||N/A||YES||YES||Traveler’s Checks only||NO||YES|
|7-Eleven||YES||Processed as a Cash Advance (average applicable charges below):
22.33% APR (applies immediately)
*Policies may vary at MoneyGram locations within stores like Walmart.
As you can see, a number of money order providers accept credit cards but card issuer rules dictate that all process the transactions as a cash advance. Credit card transactions are processed as a cash advance. As a result, you’ll trigger an expensive fee ($14.08 on average) and a high interest rate (22.33%) will immediately apply to the amount you send as well as your existing balance. We therefore do not recommend funding a money order with a cash advance, especially since free options are available.
Credit-Card Friendly Money Order Alternatives
Below we’ve listed the payment options available to you in a variety of common situations. Keep in mind that just because a particular payment option is accepted doesn’t mean it’s the best value. The way credit card money order purchases are treated is a prime example of why it’s important to read the fine print.
For example, a $200 money order purchased by credit will end up costing you roughly $12 in fees and finance charges.
For more information about credit substitutes, check out our Credit Card Alternatives Guide.
|Objective||How You Can Use Credit|
|Pay Utility Bills||Evolve Money and ChargeSmart are third-party services that allow you to pay utility bills with a credit card.
Some utility companies accept Online Bill Pay from a credit card account.
|Pay Credit Card Bills||You can use a third-party service like ChargeSmart to pay one credit card’s bill with another credit card.
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 at all costs.
|Pay Rent||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, RentShare, Rent Track and ClickPayRent.
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.
Learn More About Paying Rent With A Credit Card
|Send Cash to Friends & Family||If both you and your intended recipient have Visa cards, you can take advantage of Visa-to-Visa Payments 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.
|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 and the functionality is thus thoroughly integrated.
Image: Joe Belanger / Shutterstock
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