Where to Get a Money Order (Fast)

Back in college, there was a time I really did need to know where to get a money order near me.

I did something pretty silly on campus, resulting in a fine. I thought I was hilarious, but the university cop didn't think my antics were so funny, and he issued me a fine.

When I went to pay my fine, I was notified that payments could only be completed via money order. Back then, I hardly knew how to fill out a check, let alone where the heck could I find a money order,  or even what one was.

First, What Is a Money Order?

Put simply, a money order is a piece of paper, like a check, that is used to make a payment.

The difference is that money orders are prepaid and are only issued once a buyer pays for said money order. Because of this upfront payment, money orders are considered much safer and won’t bounce (which is why my college wanted a money order instead of a check).

When buying a money order, you need to write down who receives the funds by filling out the name of the person or company you want to pay. This helps prevent the money order from ending up in the wrong hands or possibly being stolen (like cash can be).

Remember, you can't send online payments with a money order. To pay online, whether you're paying bills online or paying a person, you'll need to use a money transfer service like Transferwise, a bank account, a pre-paid card, a debit or credit card, or a Paypal account.

Why Use Money Orders?

Money orders are just like cash. Their value is their value and cannot be changed once purchased. And, unlike a check, they're prepaid, so the recipient is guaranteed to receive the amount of the purchase order. With checks, they can bounce if you have insufficient funds in your checking account. 

The main benefits of using money orders are security, simplicity, and an alternative to a checking account.

If you don't have a checking or savings account, a money order is a great way to pay rent, for example, or send money peer-to-peer. It's safer than cash because they're traceable, as long as you keep the detachable receipt portion safe. If you pay in cash, it's only your word against the recipient's that you made the payment. If you use a money order, you have proof that you made the payment. 

Money orders are more secure than cash because they are addressed to a specific person. You can also send a money order without needing to input your own personal bank information, so no one else has access to your bank details. You don't need a checking account, you can send them anywhere in the country, and you don't need to go online to purchase and send a money order. 

You can simply send the payment as a bill, whether it’s to your landlord, electricity, or cable provider. It’s also easy to keep track of your expenses and keep your budget. 

Yes, you'll pay a service fee, but a money order is still one of the safest payment methods, offering more surety for the recipient than a personal check and more security for you compared to cash money. 

It's also an extremely easy, cost-efficient, and secure way to send money overseas. With both MoneyGram and Western Union, you can perform an international money transfer. An international money order works exactly the same as a standard one, but the fees are usually significantly more. To reduce the transaction fee for sending money abroad, you might be better off looking for international transfer services with better rates. 

Typically, most people will use money orders for:

  • Paying utilities
  • Paying fines (just like me)
  • Sending money overseas
  • Securely sending money to family/friends

How To Get a Money Order

The steps to getting a money order are pretty simple:

  1. First, you need to buy a money order (see below for where to do that).
  2. Get the physical sheet of paper and be prepared with your cash or debit card, depending on how you’re planning on paying.
  3. You’ll need the payee's name and the amount you want to send.
  4. Fill out the money order. When filling it out, you’ll need to add the payee’s name and address, and you’ll need to sign it with your name.
  5. Keep the receipt to track the money and ensure it gets to your payee.
  6. Then, simply mail your money order to your intended payee, and you’re good to go!

The process of getting a money order is quick, painless, and very efficient.

Best Money Order Companies

While there are many money order companies, there are a few trusted businesses that we'd recommend over the others.


You can buy MoneyGram money orders at many different places, whether those are supermarkets, financial institutions or independent retailers. Look for MoneyGram signs when walking down the street and you’ll easily find one. 

Western Union

Western Union is another institution that sells money orders. You can buy them with cash or debit card, and some even accept credit card. Search for the Western Union sign in supermarkets and retailers, and you’ll be able to buy your money order there.

WU’s money orders are limited to less than $1,000 plus a small fee. 

The 7 Best Places To Get a Money Order Near You

Here are the best places to get your money orders. 


Most Walmart stores allow you to purchase money orders. Each money order can be up to the value of $1,000, and Walmart charges you a fee of up to $1 per money order. 

Do note that you can't pay for a money order at Walmart with a credit card. You'll either need a debit card or cash. 

Simply search for the closest Walmart near you then go to the customer service station or the Money Services Center in store to get your money order.

Retail Stores

Many different grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores sell money orders. When doing errands, look for the MoneyGram or Western Union logo. In stores, you can expect to pay between $1 and $2 per money order. 

To figure out what retail stores have money order vendors, search on your Google Maps app, “Money orders near me.”


7-Eleven convenience stores offer money orders of up to $500. If you need to send more than $500, you'll have to purchase multiple money orders. Fees vary, depending on your location, but are between 1 and 3% of the value of the money order. There's also a minimum fee of $0.65. 

Just like Walmart, you can't use a credit card to purchase a money order at 7-Eleven, you'll need a debit card or cash, instead. 


You can buy money orders at CVS through MoneyGram, but you won’t be able to cash them there. The maximum order is $500 and the fee per money order is $1.25. As with 7-Eleven, if you need to send more than $500, you'll have to buy multiple money orders, and you'll pay the fee for each one you purchase.

United States Postal Service

The post office is a great place to get a money order because there are so many of them. And they have a long history with money orders, first introducing them in 1864.

All U.S. post offices sell money orders, as do some rural USPS carriers and contract postal units. 

One thing to note is that USPS tends to charge more than many other options. For domestic money orders under $500, you'll pay a $2 fee. For domestic money orders between $500.01 and $1,000, you'll pay $2.90. 


Walgreens does not sell money orders, but they do sell money transfers via Western Union. With transfers, the limits are larger. In the case of Walgreens, their sending limit is $6,000 per transaction. Check before you try, though, as only 7,800 of their 9,000 locations. 

Your Bank

Banks are also a great place to buy money orders, although the fees are often higher. Some banks offer free money orders if you hold specific types of checking accounts with them. Others charge you between $5 and $10 per money order. 

Local Credit Unions

Credit unions also sell money orders. The fee truly depends on the institution, although it usually stays at around $5.

Most credit unions also require membership of some sort to use their services at member rates. For example, Pentagon Federal Credit Union requires you to open up a savings account for $10.


The cost of money orders at Kroger depends on the location. Generally, if you have a Kroger card, you won't pay more than $1, but even without a Kroger card, fees are around $1.10 per money order. Money orders are limited to $1,000.

Check Cashing Locations

Other money stores that manage money apart from banks and credit unions are also able to sell money orders.

These could be Western Union agents, payday loan stores, and other services that offer money transfers. Fees start at $0.69 and can be as high as $5. The money order limit is usually anything up to $1,000. 

Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $200,000 in student loans with his wife in less than four years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, helping others with their debt and recommend using Personal Capital to track your finances.