Can you buy a money order with a credit card?
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Key Points About: Buying a Money Order with a Credit Card
You can typically only make a money order purchase with a debit card or cash.
However, you may be able to pay for a money order with a credit card cash advance.
Because cash advances can be so costly, you should consider other options before pursuing this choice.
What is a money order?
A money order is one alternative you can use to make a payment instead of cash or check. Money orders can be a good option for those who don’t have a bank account. You can use a money order to securely send money to pay a bill and you can even send money internationally. Since money orders typically require that the payee present an ID before they can receive funds, money orders can often be a guaranteed way to make a payment.
According to the Office of Inspector General, there are usually limits on how much you can take out on a money order (typically no more than $1,000). So, if you need to pay for something that is a bit more costly than the limit, you may have to take out multiple money orders.
Did you know?
Instead of using money orders to pay for recurring bills, you may be able to earn rewards with every bill payment with a Discover it® Cash Back credit card.
How do money orders work?
To purchase a money order, first you’ll need to go to a location that offers the service. Then you’ll need to pay the amount you plan to send upfront along with any additional fees.
You can typically get a money order at your bank, credit union, or financial institution. Additionally, your local post office or convenience store may offer money order services.
Can you pay for a money order with a credit card?
Some places typically only accept cash or debit cards for a money order, so you may not be able to pay for a money order directly with a credit card. However, you can get a cash advance to pay for the service—but it may be costly.
How to pay for a money order with a credit card
To get a money order with a credit card, you first need to request a cash advance. Depending on your credit card provider, you can get a cash advance through a local ATM or at a bank branch.
A cash advance is a withdrawal of cash from your credit card’s credit limit. Cash advances typically come with additional fees, and you may face a higher interest rate compared to other credit card transactions. You should carefully weigh out your options before you get a cash advance to pay for a money order.
How much does it cost to get a cash advance for a money order?
To get a cash advance to pay for a money order, you need to take out enough cash for the transaction plus cover any fees associated with a money order.
Cash advance fee:
Most credit card companies charge a cash advance fee which is typically a percentage of the amount withdrawn.
Cash advance APR:
Many credit cards charge a higher interest rate on cash advances than they do on regular credit card purchases.
No grace period:
With a regular credit card purchase, you typically have a grace period between your statement date and your due date. During this time, you won’t pay any interest on your balance if you pay it in full by the due date. Most credit card companies do not offer a grace period on cash advances. That means that interest starts accruing right away, so it’s best to save cash advances for emergencies.
Not only do you have these regular fees associated with a cash advance, but you also must consider any fees you would pay for the money order. Because the cost of a cash advance and money order can quickly add up, it may be best to first consider other payment options.
What alternatives do I have to a money order?
If you typically use money orders to pay big monthly bills (like rent), one alternative is doing an ACH transfer. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an ACH transfer allows you to electronically move money between bank accounts. This is a good option for domestic payments.
If you have recurring monthly bills you need to pay, another option to consider is paying with your credit card directly. According to information from the State of Georgia, the merchant may still charge you credit card convenience or surcharge fee, but this still may be a more affordable option than doing a cash advance.
How to avoid money order scams
According to Justice.gov, the amount of money order scams has increased over the years. So, no matter how you plan to plan for a money order, you should take some steps to help protect yourself, according to the website:
- If you are receiving a money order for an item, don’t deposit the funds if the amount is more than the purchase price.
- Do not wire transfer funds from a money order back to a buyer if you do not know the buyer personally.
- Avoid money orders that look tampered with in any way and don’t send money to buyers you don’t know.
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