“Can You Buy a Money Order with a Credit Card?” (5 Options)

credit card advice

Eric Bank
By: Eric Bank
Posted: May 22, 2017
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

Let’s face it, no one wants to stuff cash in an envelope and mail it, and some folks don’t like to send regular checks because they don’t want to reveal their checking account number — this is where a money transfer can offer a solution.

You can buy a money order with cash, a debit card, a check, and via a bank transfer. You can also pay with a credit card at select locations, but as we’ll explain, it’s probably not your best choice.

Buying Money Order | Best Cards to Use (10) | Alternatives (5)

You Can Purchase with a Card, But You’ll Pay High Fees

Select locations allow you to purchase a money order with a credit card, but there are a few things to be aware of, such as high fees.

Credit Issuers Treat Money Orders as Cash Advances

Credit card companies treat money order purchases as cash advances. The reason for this is that issuers don’t want you to evade the cash advance interest by sending yourself a money order paid for by your credit card. As you may know, credit card cash advances come with a high interest rate and an additional fee. The interest charges kick in right away, so unless you repay it immediately, you’ll be spending extra money for the privilege of sending a money order.

So let’s assume that using a credit card is your only option. The average credit card charges a cash advance fee between $10 and $20, and an interest rate 1-7 percent higher than your standard purchase rate. Of course, if you planned to repay the cash advance right away, you’d probably use cash to buy the money order in the first place!

Not All Locations Accept Credit Cards as Payment

MoneyGram, Walmart, the USPS and Moneytree do not accept credit card payments for money orders. However, these two money order providers do:

  1. Western Union charges you $11.95 for a $100 money order purchased with a credit card. Charges vary with the money order amount.
  2. 7-Eleven charges $1 to $5, depending on the amount of the money order.

You can also buy money orders at your local bank. Alternatively, your bank will prepare a certified check for you. In either case, payment is via your bank account or cash, but not credit cards unless you first take a cash advance.

If You Have No Choice, These Are the Cards to Use

Credit cards issued by credit unions typically offer the most favorable cash advance APRs, but you have to be a member of the credit union to apply and be approved for such cards. If you’re not already a member of a credit union, here are our top-rated low APR credit cards that can be applied for by anyone with good credit (700+ FICO Score).

Discover it® - Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Target now through December 2017, on up to $1,500 in purchases when you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
11.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Target now through December 2017, on up to $1,500 in purchases when you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
11.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Discover it® chrome Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed. Plus, 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
11.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 12.99%-22.99% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
12.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
  • Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
  • Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
10.99% for 14 months
11.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Use your Quicksilver card and get 50% back as a statement credit on your monthly Spotify Premium subscription, now through April 2018
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 13.99%-23.99% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR for 9 months; 13.99%-23.99% variable APR after that; a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 months
0% for 9 months
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Android Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 13.99%-25.99% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
13.99%-25.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from Account opening.
  • Then a variable APR of 11.99%, 15.99% or 19.99% will apply.
  • No Penalty APR.
  • Late Fee Waiver.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $0 Annual Fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 18 months
0% Intro APR for 18 months
Variable APR of 11.99% - 19.99%
$0
Good/Excellent

LOW APR RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard for free
  • No Penalty APR – Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.99%-24.74% Variable
$0
Excellent Credit

Keep in mind that the purchase APR is not the same as the cash advance APR — you’ll need to visit the terms and conditions of each card to find the specific rate. Also, cash advance ARPs do not qualify for the credit card grace period, which is a defined timeframe that you can pay off card purchases without being charged interest.

5 Cost & Card-Friendly Money Order Alternatives

There are several card-friendly alternatives to money orders:

  1. Many payees, such as utilities, insurance companies, rental agents and cellular providers accept online bill payments directly from your checking account, and you can set up regular automatic payments if you like.
  2. If you live in a rental and your landlord doesn’t accept credit card rent payments, check out specialized third-party payers such as RentTrack, ClickPayRent, and RentShare that accept funding via credit cards.
  3. There are also third-party services, such as ChargeSmart and Evolve Money, that will make electronic payments on your behalf, and you can fund the payments with a credit card.
  4. Personal financial software, such as Quicken and Mint, can send electronic or paper-based payments to any payee you designate.
  5. If you want to send money to family and friends, consider an electronic wallet third-party payer such as Google Wallet, PayPal, Venmo, and Visa-to-Visa Payments.

While you can pay for a money order with a credit card (and sometimes that may be your only option without the cash on hand), these options can help save you money by avoiding high fees and APRs. They can also keep you on top of your payments with the added benefit of automatic withdrawals. Whatever you decide — best of luck!