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For those people who don’t use checks, an often-asked question is, “Where can I get a money order near me now?”
This article is a response to that question.
In our increasingly sophisticated digital world, some people might think that money orders are rapidly becoming obsolete.
However, those who think that they belong alongside such old-fashioned things as VCRs, dot matrix printers, and landlines are dead wrong.
That’s because even in the era of an endless number of technologically advanced ways to meet your financial obligations, sometimes the old ways are best.
Put money orders in this category.
They’re a great alternative for people who have had problems with checks in the past.
One of these problems is that just like Bumbles from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” checks can bounce.
But there’s no friggin’ way this can happen with money orders.
That’s because the cash that for the money order is safely tucked away in the bank account of the money order provider.
These companies are reputable to the max.
This means there’s almost zero chance that there won’t be sufficient funds to cover the money order amount.
That’s hugely reassuring for people who’ve been burned in the past by check-bouncing deadbeats.
Great If You Don’t Have A Checking Account
If you don’t have a checking account, money orders are a fast, easy, and relatively cheap way to pay your bills.
And, they offer many of the same benefits that checks do.
If you need a more secure alternative to sending cash but can’t use a check, a money order can be the answer to your prayers.
Maybe you’re young and just entering the world of adult responsibilities for the first time.
And, thinking about getting a checking account fills you with paralyzing anxiety and dread.
In that case, use money orders until you’re ready to take that initial plunge into fiscal responsibility.
Saves You from Having to Mail Cash
Say you have a bill to pay.
And let’s also say you don’t have a checking account.
Let’s further say there’s no way in hell you’re going to use a credit card to pay what you owe.
One option is to stuff an envelope with enough cash to satisfy the debt and then send it through the mail.
However, this is a foolhardy practice that will make everyone question your sanity.
Use a money order instead.
It’s a safe and secure way to meet all your financial obligations.
A Story from My Own Life
I used to get a lot of money orders when I was a kid—usually, from the Post Office, which was a mile or two from my house.
At that time, I delivered the Springfield Republican, a Western Massachusetts newspaper.
I made quite a bit of money doing that.
But even at a young age, I was very frugal and saved most of what I made.
However, I couldn’t resist buying some of the cool things I found on the back of comic books.
These were curiosities like Sea Monkeys, X-ray vision specs, or the Charles Atlas Power Isotonics Bodybuilding Course.
I was a sucker for stuff like this.
And because I didn’t have a checking account, I would have to get a money order to pay for these things.
Is the Rise of Money Orders Fueled by Bank Distrust?
The number of places issuing money orders has increased drastically in recent years.
I believe that this is directly connected to a marked increase in people who no longer trust banks.
Because they’ve shamelessly ripped off their own customers, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill, it’s no wonder that distrust of banks is at an all-time high.
All of this sleazy behavior on the part of financial institutions may account for the 8.4 million households in the country don’t have a checking or a savings account.
That’s a lot of people who are among the “unbanked,” which means those not served by a bank or similar financial institution.
For People Who Have Trouble Balancing Their Checking Accounts
Money orders are perfect for people who can never seem to balance their bank account.
That’s because they spare an individual who struggles with balancing their checkbook the excruciating embarrassment of bouncing a check.
Advantages Over Credit Cards and Checks
Many people prefer them over checks and credit cards as a way to pay.
With credit cards, you risk getting your identity stolen.
They’re great for sending money to a company you find yourself having to deal with, but don’t entirely trust.
If you sent them a check, they’d have your account information.
But if you send a money order, these details are kept out of their possibly untrustworthy hands.
You might need a money order if you’re buying a car from a private party, and the seller refuses to accept a personal check from you.
This also saves you from having to withdraw a large amount of cash to pay for your new vehicle.
There’s certainly no dearth of places from which to get your money orders.
In fact, you can purchase them from tens of thousands of locations across the country.
And they’re relatively cheap too.
Another excellent thing about them is that they mostly don’t expire.
Also, if you lose one, they’re easily traceable.
All you have to do is to call up your money order issuer, give them the information on your receipt stub, and they’ll track down its whereabouts.
One big problem with money orders is that though most merchants accept them as a form of payment, not everyone does.
Another problem is they can’t be used to buy something online.
You also need to cart your butt to a store every time you buy one, which can get to be a pain after a while.
This takes considerably more effort than writing out a check or using a credit card to make an online payment.
Also, while each check you write costs a fraction of a cent, money orders cost significantly more than that.
Over time, that can add up.
The History of the Money Order
The Post Office came up with the brilliant idea of selling money orders during the Civil War.
Montgomery Blair, who was Postmaster General at the time, thought it would discourage would-be robbers tempted by all the actual currency that was being mailed.
Soon, money orders started to be used as a way to pay financial obligations in an era with a less-than-reliable banking system.
What to Look for in a Potential Money Order Supplier
When looking for a place to get your money orders, you’ll want a place with low fees, high monetary limits, and convenient locations.
Be aware too that there are two ways these fees are assessed: either a flat fee or a percentage of the total money order amount.
The Two Major Providers
MoneyGram and Western Union are the two corporate giants who ferociously compete with each other for your money order dollars.
Both of them operate mostly through agent locations such as pharmacies, convenience stores, and retail outlets.
MoneyGram is the smaller of the two companies.
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, they offer a wide variety of financial services.
They do business in 200 countries with a total number of 347,000 worldwide locations.
These include banks, supermarkets, check-cashing companies, and even military bases.
The company was formed when Traveler’s Express of Minneapolis merged with Integrated Payment Systems of Denver.
Of the two companies, Western Union is the bigger.
The planet-straddling behemoth has more than half a million locations that they either run directly or with which they contract in over 200 countries.
However, money orders are available at only 56,000 of these places.
They have no set fees, and each location has carte blanche to set its own rates.
This means that fees can vary wildly, depending on where you go.
How To Use a Money Order
When you purchase a money order, you pay the full amount upfront plus the fee.
Check to make sure the amount is correct because mistakes have been known to happen.
Then, fill in your name and contact info on the front, plus the name of your recipient and their contact info.
A memo line allows you to fill in what the money order is for.
Then, sign the front as if it was a personal check.
Make sure you keep your receipt.
You’ll need this if the money order gets lost.
Do Your Research
Do a little pre-trip research before heading out to pick up your money orders, because some places you think must sell them don’t.
Here’s a list of those places:
- Smart & Final
- Duane Reede
- Farm Fresh
- Whole Foods
- State Employee’s Credit Union
- HSBC Bank
- Pentagon Federal Credit Union
- Sam’s Club
Also, you might want to find out from your recipient if she has a preference from which of the two providers she would like to receive her money orders from.
Some people are quite particular, even going so far as to refuse to accept payments from one they don’t like.
For example, she might not accept a MoneyGram money order because of a bad experience she had in the past.
On the other hand, she might happily take one from Western Union.
Money Orders from Check Cashing Stores
Check cashing companies cater to that segment of the population that don’t have bank accounts.
The only bad thing about these places is that the fees are often quite high.
Amscot, which was founded in 1989 by Ian MacKechnie, has its worldwide headquarters in Tampa, Florida.
It provides its services through its nearly 240 branches—all of which are located in Florida in the Tampa Bay, Miami, and Orlando areas.
Amscot’s offerings include short-term cash advances, check cashing, bill payment, and of course, money orders.
As long as they’re under $1,000, they’re always free.
As many as you want.
365 DAYS OF THE YEAR!
It sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.
In my opinion, they’re one of the very best places to get money orders.
But of course, all of their locations are in Florida.
So if you live in Kickapoo, Kansas, you won’t be able to get them here unless you want to go on an expensive and very long road trip.
But Amscot doesn’t only issue money orders.
They also cash them.
Before Amscot issues you a money order, they might ask for “certain identifying documentation.”
This is usually an ID.
In addition to that, they may ask for your street address, details about your occupation, and your Social Security number.
Money Order Replacement
If your money order is stolen, lost, or accidentally destroyed, go to the website to print out a money order claim form.
You can also go into any branch and request this document.
Once you have the form, fill it out completely.
Then, attach the original money order stub.
Mail it with a $12.00 non-refundable processing fee to the address on the claim form.
Requests will only be processed if you include the original receipt.
Service Fee for Uncashed Money Orders
If the money order isn’t cashed within one year from the date of purchase, the company will impose a $2.00 service charge for each month that it remains uncashed.
The maximum amount of the service charge is $144.
2. Speedy Cash
Speedy Cash is another financial services retailer that offers money orders for absolutely no cost.
And depending on which location you go to, the provider will be either Western Union or MoneyGram.
3. Check into Cash
Check into Cash is a financial services company with more than 1,000 locations in 30 states.
W Allan Jones founded it in Cleveland, Tennessee, in 1993.
And today, it’s still headquartered there.
The company offers Western Union money order services.
Fees and limits vary by location.
4. Advance America
Advance America is a payday loan lender that first set up shop in 1997.
They have over 2,500 lending centers scattered throughout 29 states.
They even have 18 Canadian centers.
They’ve partnered with MoneyGram to provide some of the financial services the company offers, including money orders.
Call your nearest location for the cost of this service.
5. Friendly Check
Friendly Check operates retail financial services in North Carolina.
They advertise that they have “low prices on quick, convenient money orders.”
They’re an authorized Western Union agent.
Each location sets its own limits and fees, so call to find out what they are.
6. Money Mart
Money Mart has over 700 locations in the U.S. and Canada.
They offer a range of services, including prepaid credit cards, cash advances, payday loans, and check cashing.
Like other payday loan lenders, its customer base is those who are skittish about using banks.
Some of their services are offered online at their website.
Money Mart contracts with Western Union to provide money orders to its customers.
7. Ace Cash Express
Ace Cash Express is a financial services provider that has its base of operations in Irving, Texas.
It serves customers in 24 states and the District of Columbia both online and through its extensive network of stores.
It was founded in 1968 and is one of the largest operators of check cashing stores in the United States.
Ace Cash Express uses MoneyGram for its money orders, and you can buy them for as low as 89 cents.
Money Orders from Banks
You might already know that banks aren’t the cheapest place to get your money orders.
Fees are often higher here than what you’d pay elsewhere.
But even though the costs here are heftier, it might be worth it.
That’s because at the same time they withdraw the funds to pay for your money order, they can print one out for you.
So, what you sacrifice in price, you make up for in convenience.
And if you have an eligible account, you might get them for free.
Virtually every bank in the country offers money orders as part of their personal banking services.
Unless I say differently, every financial institution in this article charges $5.00 for a money order, has a limit of $1,000, and only accepts cash and debit cards as a payment method.
Also, all the banks and credit unions in this article issue their own money orders instead of contracting with providers like MoneyGram and Western Union.
I’ll let you know if that’s not the case with a particular financial institution.
8. Regions Bank
Regions Bank makes its corporate home in Birmingham, Alabama.
It has over 1,400 branches in 16 states in the Southern and Midwestern parts of the United States and is ranked number 460 on the Fortune 500.
The company sponsors Regions Field, a minor league baseball stadium in Birmingham.
You don’t need to be an account holder to buy a money order from them.
You just need a $1.00, which is how much they cost.
9. TD Bank
TD Bank is owned by Toronto-Dominion Bank, A Canadian bank that does business in dozens of countries around the world.
It has branches in fifteen states on the East Coast and the District of Columbia and has its headquarters in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
By deposits, it’s the seventh biggest U.S. bank.
And by assets, it’s the eighth biggest.
Only account holders are allowed to purchase money orders.
The bank will waive your fees if you have an eligible account.
These accounts include Relationship Checking, Premier Checking, Tiered Checking, and 60 Plus Checking.
If you have to pay for your money orders, you can pay with cash.
Or, you can have the funds directly withdrawn from your account.
10. Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank has its home office in Providence, Rhode Island.
It was founded in that city way back in 1828.
Back then, it was known as the High Street Bank.
Between 1988 and its IPO in 2014, the bank was a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
Today, Citizens is ranked number 24 on the list of the largest banks in the United States and has over 1,200 branches.
It operates in these states:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- New York
- New Jersey
- South Carolina
The money order fee is waived if you have any of the following accounts:
- Platinum Plus
- Premier Plus
- Private Wealth Management
- To get one, you’ll need to have a valid form of identification.
11. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo has its worldwide headquarters in San Francisco, California.
The company is ranked number 26 on the 2018 Fortune 500 rankings of the largest U.S. corporations by total revenue.
Its base of operations is located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Wells Fargo is my mortgage holder, and I’ve been delighted with the way they handle things.
Hopefully, they’re equally as good when it comes to money orders.
But like other banks, they only issue money orders to account holders.
12. U.S. Bank
If you have a Safe Debit Account with U.S. Bank, you’ll save on every money order you buy.
And if you get the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Infinite credit card through them, you’ll accrue points you can use to purchase them.
13. Bank of America
Although it was founded in San Francisco, Bank of America is currently headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It’s the second-largest banking institution in the country.
The only one that’s bigger than them is JPMorgan Chase.
You can buy your money orders during regular business hours.
However, you won’t be able to get them in Oregon, Colorado, California, Minnesota, Nevada, or Arizona.
Even if you don’t have an account, you can still purchase your money orders from them.
Just keep in mind that the only payment method they accept is the green stuff.
You might be able to get your money orders for free if your account qualifies.
Truist Financial Corp. is a bank holding company and has its main offices in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It used to be known as BB&T (Branch Banking and Trust Company).
However, it changed its name in December 2019 after acquiring SunTrust banks and has over 2,000 branches spread throughout 15 states and the District of Columbia.
So, if you need a money order and live in one of these states, check them out!
Citibank began operations in 1812.
Today, it’s part of the staggeringly large multinational known as Citigroup.
The bank has over 2,000 branches in 19 countries.
This includes 723 branches in the United States alone.
Like lots of other financial institutions, they don’t issue money orders to those who don’t have an account with them.
And if you have a Citi Priority of Citi Gold Account, they’ll even waive the $5.00 fee.
Besides cash, credit cards are also accepted to pay for money orders.
However, your credit card company will consider this to be a cash advance.
This means you could incur hefty fees as a result.
16. M&T Bank
M&T Bank has its home office in Buffalo, New York.
It’s ranked 467th on the Fortune 500, and since 1976, it has been profitable in every single quarter.
That’s one helluva track record!
If you’re a Baltimore Ravens fan, you’ll know they sponsor M&T Bank Stadium, home of this team.
As a kid, I remember going on vacation with my family to Maine.
One time, we passed an M&T branch.
I asked my sister Mary “How is this bank like you?”
She didn’t know, so I told her.
“Because both of your initials are ‘MT.’
You know— ‘empty.” Like your brain!”
This made her bawl uncontrollably.
I could be a horrible big brother at times.
However, the bank isn’t horrible, and I’ve even heard good things about it.
You don’t need to be an account holder to get a money order from them, but cash is the only payment method they accept.
17. JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase Bank, best known as Chase Bank, is one of the largest financial institutions on the planet.
Its staggering array of services includes business accounts, mortgages, personal accounts, and loans.
One of these services is money orders.
Account-holders can purchase them during regular business hours.
If you have one of their Foundation checking accounts, you’ll pay 48 cents instead of the usual five bucks for them.
And if you’re lucky enough to have a Chase Premier Platinum Checking account, you’ll get every single one for free.
If you’re not an account holder, you can still purchase them.
They’re valid for one year from the date of purchase.
18. Bank of the West
Bank of the West is a regional financial services company headquartered in San Francisco with over 600 branches in the Midwest and the Western United States.
Consider using this bank to get your money orders from if you have one in your neck of the woods.
Money Orders from Credit Unions
Some credit unions offer free money orders to account holders.
19. Security Service Federal Credit Union
Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) has 925,000 members and does business in Colorado, Utah, and Texas.
And, it’s the eighth largest credit union in the country.
That’s pretty good for only operating in three states!
Their provider is Traveler’s Express, a company owned by MoneyGram.
At two bucks a pop, money orders here are cheaper than at most other financial institutions.
20. Golden 1 Credit Union
Golden 1 Credit Union is a credit union headquartered in Sacramento, CA.
Sacramento is the state capital and has also been bestowed with the nickname of “The Big Tomato” because of the many tomato canneries that once dotted the city.
It began its corporate life way back in 1933 as the California State Employees Credit Union Number 1.
In 1977, it shortened its name to Golden 1 because the original title didn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
Today, it has over 70 branches that proudly serves customers throughout the Golden State.
It’s now the second-largest credit union in the State of California.
And not only that—it’s also one of the biggest credit unions in the nation.
If you have a branch near you, you might want to think about making this bank your money order supplier.
Money Orders from Convenience Stores
Many convenience stores these days sell money orders.
What’s great about getting your money orders from places other than banks is that banks have more limited hours of operations that other retail establishments.
Unless otherwise specified, all of the stores in this section have a monetary limit of $500 and only accept cash as payment.
Also, if you were hoping to cash a money order your Aunt Marleen gave you at one of these convenience stores, I have some tragic news:
Cashing money orders is not a service offered by any of the retail outlets in this section.
21. Circle K
You can buy a money order from most Circle K locations.
Call ahead before you actually go there just to make sure.
Although they’re an authorized agent of MoneyGram, each store decides how much they’re going to charge for them.
However, most stores seem to sell them for $0.99 to $1.29.
If your location offers this service, you can buy them right at the checkout counter any time the store’s open.
Unlike some other places, there’s no identification required to purchase one.
Getting a Refund
If you purchase a money order at a Circle K, you can get a refund if you lose it or decide not to use it.
To request a refund, fill out a MoneyGram Money Order Claim Card.
Send the claim card, a copy of your receipt, and an $18 processing fee to the listed address.
22. Royal Farms
Royal Farms is a chain of more than 200 convenience stores that has its base of operations in Baltimore, Maryland.
More than 100 of these locations are in Maryland, which of course, is their home state.
But they also have locations in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia.
They opened their very first store in 1959, so they’ve been around a while.
While you’re picking up your money orders, you can top off your tank while also picking up some incredibly delicious food.
The chain uses MoneyGram as its provider, and you can purchase a $300 money order for $1.25.
Speedway is a chain of convenience stores headquartered in Enon, Ohio.
Enon is named for the river Ænon in Israel, where, back in the day, John the Baptist did a whole lot of baptizing.
The company is owned by the Marathon Petroleum Corporation.
Stores are scattered throughout 32 Midwest and East Coast states.
Although most Speedway locations sell money orders, some don’t.
The ones that do use MoneyGram as their provider of choice.
The charge is $1.59 for each money order.
Most, but not all, are open 24 hours a day.
Some sell money orders any time the store is open.
Others only offer this service from 5 AM to 10 PM.
Way back in 1958, Burt Holmes and Chester Cadieux founded a chain of convenience stores they dubbed QuikTrip.
And now, there are over 700 locations in 11 states.
Here, you can grab a fresh-brewed black mango QTea while stocking up on money orders provided by Western Union.
They cost $1.50 each with a limit of $300.
But if you’re planning on buying more than $950 in money orders in a single day, you’re out of luck.
Because $950 in a twenty-four-hour period is all they’ll let you buy.
7-Eleven stores are open 24 hours a day, so if you ever find yourself needing one in the wee hours of the morning, head on over and get one.
Depending on which location you go to, the provider could be either Western Union or MoneyGram.
That’s because each individual store gets to decide which one they want to use.
The fee is 1-3% of the total amount of your money order, the minimum charge is 65 cents, and the maximum amount is $500.
If you have a bill that you desperately need to pay that exceeds this amount, you’re going to have to purchase additional ones.
No matter how much begging you do, the clerks manning the checkout counter won’t go past this limit.
Since I’m a writer, I even bribed them by promising to make them the star of their very own fantasy-horror-romance short story with their choice of setting and nemesis.
But even this wasn’t enough to entice them to break overly stringent corporate rules.
Sorry for digressing.
Let’s get back to the subject of the article, which is money orders.
Not every 7-Eleven sells them, and terms might even vary from one store to the next.
Money Orders from Big Box Retailers
It’s heartbreaking that so many Kmart stores are disappearing.
I feel bad for the company as it tries to stay relevant with customers who see it as a relic of a long-ago era.
But there are a few stores left, and at many of them, you can still get money orders.
Depending on which one you go to, you’ll pay between 69 cents and $1.25 with a limit of $500.
Most of the American population does at least some of their shopping at Wally World, so it’s hardly surprising that this is a popular place to stock up on money orders.
And of course, Walmart stores are pretty much everywhere.
This makes it super easy to find one when you need to pick up a money order to pay a bill.
The amount limit is $1,000, and their provider of choice is MoneyGram.
As far as fees go, they vary by location, but the most you’ll pay is 88 cents.
What’s great about Walmart money orders is that if someone gives you one, you can cash it at any of their 4,769 US stores.
But to do so, you’ll have to pay a check cashing fee of between three and six bucks.
Money Orders from Pharmacies
Lots of pharmacies sell money orders.
All of the stores in this section have a monetary limit of $500, accept cash or debit cards as payment, and won’t do any check cashing for you.
Here are a few of them:
28. Rite Aid
Rite Aid does an incredible amount of business.
So much so, that on the 2018 Fortune 500 list, they were ranked 94th.
It’s the biggest East Coast drugstore chain and the third-largest in the country.
The company makes its home in Camphill, Pennsylvania, which is right next to Harrisburg.
If you want to buy your money orders here, they cost 99 cents.
At CVS, a money order will set you back $1.25.
What’s great about this place is that you can buy your money orders at any register.
Their money orders have a limit of $1,0000.
CVS bucks the trend as far as money order providers goes by using Money Gram instead of Western Union.
Money Orders from Grocery Stores
Most major supermarket chain stores sell money orders so you can pick up them up when you pick up your groceries.
Unless I state differently, all grocery stores have a limit of $500, exclusively use Western Union as their provider, and only accept cash or debit cards as payment.
Keep in mind that at for all of these grocery stores, if you lose a money order, the store won’t be able to help you.
You’ll have to call the company they contract with (either Western Union or MoneyGram) for that.
And right off the bat, here’s a grocery store that goes against the grain by using MoneyGram as its provider of choice.
Why can’t they be like everyone else?
It sure would make my article easier to write!
This trend bucker that wants to make my life difficult is Albertson’s, one of the biggest grocery store chains in the nation.
They have hundreds of stores spread across 35 states and the District of Columbia.
Some of these stores aren’t operated under their name but under a different banner.
Here they are:
- Acme Markets
- Star Market
- Tom Thumb
- United Supermarkets
Joe Albertson started the chain in 1939 in Boise, Idaho.
He took $5,000 that he saved along with $7,500 he borrowed from a relative of his wife, found a partner, and opened his very first store.
Joe was an incredibly savvy marketer who loved breaking new ground.
Many of his innovative ideas were copied by others and are still in use today.
But maybe you could care less about the history of the store and just want to know how much money orders cost.
The answer is 89 cents.
However, not every store sells them, so call before heading over.
This supermarket chain has its home base in Itasca, Illinois, and has 187 stores in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.
The business began selling coffee door to door.
Soon, they started selling non-perishable groceries.
After doing this for a while, it ventured into groceries of all types.
Nowadays, it’s owned by Albertson’s.
Jewel-Osco sells money orders at all of their locations for 99 cents each.
Some cash money orders while others don’t.
And, they only accept cash as payment for their money orders—no debit cards.
Marion Barton Skaggs founded Safeway in American Falls, Idaho, back in 1915.
And in 2015, it was bought up by Albertson’s.
The chain mostly operates in the central and western United States with a few stores elsewhere.
Currently, their headquarters are in Pleasanton, California.
Money order fees vary depending on the store, but the range seems to be $0.59 to $0.99.
Kroger is a retail grocery business founded by Bernard Kroger in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Bernard pioneered the practice of making his own products in-store (like having a bakery), so his customers could do all their shopping under one roof.
Genius ideas like this contributed to making the company the smash success it is today.
By revenue, Kroger is the largest supermarket chain in the entire United States and is ranked 20 on the list of Fortune 500 companies.
It’s also the second-largest general retailer in the country.
The only one that does more business than them is Walmart.
Kroger operates 2,758 supermarkets, either directly or through its subsidiaries.
It even owns 256 jewelry stores.
Now, let’s talk about money orders.
The fees and limits vary by location.
However, most stores charge less than two bucks per money order.
Call your local store to find out what they are for that location.
And if you have a government-issued ID, they’ll cash a money order for you.
Ralphs is a supermarket chain based in sunny Southern California.
It’s the largest of Kroger’s many subsidiaries.
In 1873, George Albert Ralphs and his brother Walter opened the very first store at Sixth and Springs Streets in Los Angeles.
The company even had one of their buildings nationally recognized for its historical significance.
That would be their former store in Westwood Village, which was built in 1929.
Ansel Adams photographed it in 1940.
And in 1988, it was declared a national monument.
In 1992, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Every Ralphs in the entire country sells money orders.
Some locations cash them, but the money order must have been purchased from that very store.
Each location sets its own prices.
The range seems to be from 69 cents to $1.25.
An ID is not required to purchase one, but cash is the only payment method they accept.
35. Fred Meyer
Fred G. Meyer founded the Fred Meyer chain in 1931 in Portland, Oregon.
And today, you’ll find locations in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and all the way up to Alaska.
Even though the stores are still branded as Fred Meyer, they merged with Kroger in 1998.
The chain was one of the first in the United States to offer one-stop shopping.
This, of course, means in addition to getting your groceries, you can get many other things under the same roof.
In other words, you can pick up a Wilson Evolution Basketball the same time you get your Hershey bars and your protein powder.
And of course, you can also pick up a money order so they don’t shut off your electricity.
Here, you’ll able to buy one for 69 cents if you have a store card and for 79 cents if you don’t.
The limit is $1,000.
Some locations cash them.
36. Fry’s Foods
Fry’s is another of the seemingly endless stores owned by Kroger and was founded in 1954 in northern California by Donald Fry.
With the kind assistance of his brother Charles, the chain expanded into the Phoenix market in 1960.
And today, most of their stores are in Arizona.
At Fry’s, money orders cost 80 cents.
However, if you have a Fry’s VIP card, you’ll only pay 69 cents for them.
These money orders have a limit of $1,000.
Unfortunately, they don’t accept debit cards, and the only payment they take is the green stuff.
37. Harris Teeter
Harris Teeter is another wholly-owned subsidiary of Kroger.
It was founded in 1960 by North Carolina grocers W.T. Harris and Willis Teeter.
Today, it’s home base is in Matthews, North Carolina, and it has more than 30,000 employees with 230 stores in seven states and the District of Columbia.
Money orders here will set you back 99 cents.
Limits vary—most stores impose a $500 cap, but some of them have ones as low as $200.
You can pick them up any time the service desk is open.
The Harris Teeter store that issued the money order will also cash it.
38. King Soopers
King Soopers is also owned by Kroger.
I’m starting to get a little paranoid that this corporate monstrosity that has its hooks in so many other companies wants to take over the world.
It’s another chain that wants to rise head and shoulders above all the other supermarkets who have a measly $500 limit by increasing it by a whole 100%.
So, here you can get a money order with a thousand dollar limit.
The cost of one is 69 cents with a store card.
If you don’t have one, you’ll have to pay a buck.
Dillons has its command center in Hutchinson, Kansas, known as Salt City because of all the salt mines there.
All of their stores are mostly located in Kansas, with a smattering of them in Nebraska.
In 1983, Kroger stepped in and bought the company.
Today, Dillon’s employs a workforce of over 12,000 employees at 93 stores.
And as far as money orders go, you can buy one for 69 cents if you have a store card.
And forget the piddly $500 limit many of the stores have because Dillon’s upped that by 100% to $1,000.
If you don’t have a store card, your money orders will cost you a buck.
So, for crying out loud, get yourself a store card so you can save yourself 31 cents!
Baker’s mostly serves the metro portion of Omaha, Nebraska.
It started when Abraham Baker opened his first store in Walnut, Iowa, way back in 1927.
And things went so swimmingly that he decided to expand into the Nebraska market.
So, in 1947, he opened a store in the city of Bellevue in this state.
Business continued to boom for him, so he opened a store in Omaha.
In 2001, Kroger gobbled up the company as they’re known to do.
And today, it’s operated by Kroger’s Dillons division.
This also includes the Gerbes chain.
If you live in Omaha, consider getting your money orders from here.
41. Family Fare
Family Fare is a supermarket chain with locations in South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Michigan, and Nebraska.
Don Koop and Ron Kunnen founded the store in 1966 in Hudsonville, Michigan.
At Family Fare, money orders cost 70 cents.
42. Food City
Food City has stores in Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee, and has its headquarters in Abingdon, Virginia.
They sell money orders in every one of its over 120 locations, and they cost a buck each.
Unfortunately, Food City doesn’t cash money orders.
43. Food Lion
Food Lion has its base of operations in Salisbury, North Carolina, home of Dan Nicholas Park, one of the best duck feeding spots in the country.
The company has over 1,000 stores in 10 states and employs over 63,000 people.
It was founded back in 1957 in a single Salisbury location.
Back then, it was called Food Town.
It later expanded to other locations throughout North Carolina.
Here, you can also get money orders for $1.00.
44. Giant Eagle
Giant Eagle was founded in 1918, the last time the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in the 20th century.
Of course, they’ve won four times since then, but that’s beside the point.
Today, Giant Eagle has more than 200 stores in Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland.
A little more than half of their locations sell money orders, which can be purchased any time the customer service counter is open.
The hours the counter is open vary by store.
Most locations sell money orders for around 79 cents.
Shoprite is a retailers’ cooperative of over 300 stores in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware.
Being part of a co-op means each location is individually owned.
It also means that each retailer has carte blanche to make its own policy decisions.
And as far as money orders go, you’re not going to be able to buy one at every single location.
Use the Western Union Agent Locator to find if your friendly neighborhood Shoprite sells them.
If a location does sell them, they usually cost 99 cents.
So MANY stores sell them for this price, that’s it’s starting to get boring.
I think at least one of them should be at least a little more original and start selling them for 98 cents.
If you ask me, this marginally lower price will be just what they need to draw them away from their competitors in droves.
H-E-B was founded in 1905 in Kerrville, Texas, by Florence Butt, who opened her very first store on the ground floor of her home.
Today, it makes its corporate home in San Antonio, Texas.
There are more than 350 crown jewels in the H-E-B crown.
Most of these stores are located in Texas, with a scattering of them in northeastern Mexico.
The company also operates Central Market, an upscale organic and fine foods retailer.
If you want a money order at H-E-B, you’ll have to rifle through your change drawer for two quarters, a dime, a nickel, and four shiny pennies.
That’s because 69 cents is how much they charge for them.
They’re a little more generous in their monetary caps too, because theirs is $1,000 instead of the customary $500.
Schnuck’s began its corporate life way back in 1939, in a little-known town by the name of St. Louis, Missouri.
Today, it operates 116 stores sprinkled like retail confetti throughout the wind-swept expanses of the Midwest.
Schnuck’s is one of the largest privately-owned supermarket chains in the United States.
Its motto (in case you were wondering) is “The Friendliest Store in Town.”
Not every location sells money orders.
Also, not a single one of their locations cashes them.
They also buck the Western Union trend by contracting with MoneyGram to be their provider.
Expect to pay between $4.00 and $5.00 for each one with a thousand-dollar limit.
Smith’s is a chain that cannot make up its corporate mind because the limit is $500 at some stores and $1,000 at other ones.
At least there’s consistency with their pricing.
That’s because every single store in the chain charges 69 cents with a store card and a buck if you don’t have one.
The only payment method they accept is cash.
Vons is owned by Albertson’s and does business in southern Nevada and California.
It began its corporate life in 1906 in Los Angeles, California.
That year, Charles Von der Ahe opened a tiny store in the city that became an immediate hit.
Today, it’s command center is in Fullerton, California, known for its superlative schools and for being a vibrant social hub for people of all ages.
The chain was able to settle on all details of its money order policy save for which of the two big providers to go with.
I’m sure there were long, drawn-out meetings where corporate bigwigs were practically pulling their hair out trying to decide which one should get their contract dollars.
Buy in the end, they wimped out by deciding to go with both.
So here, you have your choice of either Western Union or Moneygram.
Now, if you decide to go with MoneyGram, you’ll have an 89-cent cost and a $500 limit.
And if you decide to go with Western Union, you’ll have a whopping $3,000 limit with a cost of $1.00 to $1.50 depending on location.
If you have lots of money orders to buy, bring wheelbarrows of cash with you.
That’s because cash is the only payment method they accept.
Winn Dixie is another supermarket playing a game of one-upmanship with monetary limits.
It surveyed its sea of competitors, saw that most of them had a measly ceiling of a mere $500, and decided to smash right through it by upping theirs to a thousand dollars.
You’ll pay 79 cents for every $500 of the value of your money order.
Grabbing your money orders at the grocery store saves you a trip to the bank.
So, if you’re doing your grocery shopping at Meijer and you suddenly remembered you needed to get a money order, you’re in luck.
That’s because the American supercenter chain with locations throughout the Midwest offers money orders as part of its roster of services.
It also happens to be one of the cheapest places in the entire country to get them.
It’s only a few cents less than other places, but hey—every little bit helps.
If you want to pick up one yourself, you’ll need two quarters, a dime, and a nickel, because they cost 65 cents each.
Unfortunately, they don’t offer money order cashing services at any of their locations.
The price for a Publix money order?
Not too bad!
However, you would be out of luck if you had a money order you wanted to cash here.
Because money order cashing is something they just don’t do.
53. Stop & Shop
You’ve got a lot of ingredients to buy to put together that fabulous dinner you promised your vegan in-laws.
But you also have to pick up a money order because you’re buying a Hisense 55 inch Smart LED TV, and you don’t trust banks.
If you stop at Stop & Shop, you’ll be able to kill two birds with one proverbial stone, because, like most other grocery chains, they sell money orders.
The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, which goes by the name of Stop & Shop, is a chain of supermarkets located in the northeast United States.
It has mushroomed from its humble beginnings in 1892 as a teeny-tiny grocery store.
And now, it has 415 stores all over the Northeast.
My favorite is the one on Nantucket Island, even though I have one EXACTLY 1.2 miles from my house.
That’s because I love the idea of being cut off from the mainland.
Recently, Stop & Shop started having a robot by the name of Marty patrolling the store.
Some think he’s creepy, but I happen to think he’s cool.
But enough about the supermarket cyborg.
Let’s get back to money orders.
If you want to get yours at Stop & Shop, you can get them right at the service desk.
However, you’ll need a driver’s license or a state-issued ID to purchase one.
Fees vary by store, but most of them seem to be between $0.99 and $1.50 with a monetary limit of a thousand dollars.
And even if they were issued by the store itself, you won’t be able to cash money orders here.
Money Orders from Other Places
If you woke up today with the inexplicable thought that you wanted the USPS to be your sole supplier of money orders, you’re in luck.
That’s because, with 200,000 of them in this country, there’s no shortage of them.
USPS is one of the few money-order outlets that don’t use Western Union or MoneyGram.
They don’t have to, because they’re their own provider.
What’s more, USPS money orders never expire.
And some locations will even cash them for you!
Here, you’ll pay $1.25 for a money order if it’s under $500, and $1.70 if its more than that.
A USPS money order can’t be for more than $1,000.
Payment for them can be in cash, debit card, or traveler’s check.
Military money orders cost 45 cents, and the price for an international money order is $7.50 with an amount limit of $700.
If you’re buying an international money order, make sure you’re sending it to one of the 29 countries where they’re accepted.
USPS stopped selling international money orders intended to be used in Canada as of August 30, 2019.
And, they no longer cash international postal money orders issued by Canada Post.
If you purchase $3,000 or more in money orders a day, you must complete a Form 8105-A, Funds Transaction Report (FTR), and show an acceptable primary ID with a clear photo.
What to Do If Your USPS Money Order Is Stolen
Hopefully, you’ll never have the trauma-inducing experience of an unscrupulous hooligan pilfering a money order from you.
But if you do, fill out PS Form 6401, which is a Money Order Inquiry.
You’ll have to pay a small processing fee.
Once the post office verifies the status of your missing money order, they’ll issue you a new one.
Spotting a Fake USPS Money Order
USPS gives the following tips to spot a fake money order:
- Dollar amount is discolored
- The dollar amount isn’t imprinted twice
- Dollar value is too large (domestic money orders cannot be more than $1,000), and international money orders cannot exceed $700 ($500 for El Salvador or Guyana)
- it looks like it was erased
- There’s something wrong with the Benjamin Franklin watermark (hold it up to the light—the watermark should repeat top to bottom, and on the right side, a vertical multicolored thread with the letters “USPS” should weave in and out of the paper)
If you suspect fraud, call the US Postal Inspection service at 1-877-876-2455.
And if you think you’ve been given a fake money order, call the Money Order Verification System at 1-866-459-7822.
Tracking a Money Order
Ever hear of the website wheresgeorge.com?
People stamp the URL of this website on paper money along with an admonishment that people go to it to check out where their money’s been.
This is a silly use of tracking technology.
But there might come a time when you need to find out what happened with a money order you sent.
Unfortunately, you’re going to have to pay to have this done.
As the ancient cliché goes, “Ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!”
That’s why you should probably wait two weeks before you commence the tracking process to allow for enough time for your order to be processed.
In other words, don’t jump the gun!
If it’s been two weeks and you’re still wondering whether or not your money order has been cashed, try to get in touch with the person you sent it to.
He might have a really good explanation.
Maybe he got backed up on his order fulfillment.
Or, he was busy or on vacation.
Talking directly to your payee is going to be so much easier than filling out a bunch of tedious paperwork.
But if he doesn’t know where it is either, it’s time to begin the process of getting a refund.
Start by calling the company that issued the money order.
Just be sure you have the tracking number in front of you because they’re going to need it.
Let’s talk first about how MoneyGram does things.
You’ll have to call MoneyGram’s automated response line at 1-800-926-9400 or use their online tracking system.
You’ll also need to provide your money order number and the exact dollar amount along with the tracking number.
Once you use either of these two methods, you’ll get a definitive answer on whether your money order has been cashed.
If it’s a Western Union money order you’re wondering about, call 1-800-999-9660 to see if it’s been cashed.
If you need a copy of the cashed money order and you still have your receipt, use the “Money Order Tracing or Refund” request form that’s on the back of the receipt.
You can also perform the same action on Western Union’s website.
Within approximately 30 days, you’ll receive a copy of the cashed money order showing who cashed it and when it was cashed.
Or, you’ll receive notification that it still hasn’t been deposited in your payee’s account.
If it still hasn’t been deposited and a considerable amount of time has elapsed since you sent it out, you’ll have the option to cancel it and get your money back.
If you don’t have your receipt, you’ll have to shell out thirty bucks to have Western Union look into where your MIA money order might be.
Most of the places to get money orders listed in this article contract with Western Union or MoneyGram, who are the providers of this financial product.
If you need to cancel a money order issued by an institution not covered in this section (like a bank or credit union), call them directly to see what their procedure is.
Make Sure It Prints Correctly
My last tip is to make sure that when the money order is printed that it comes out sufficiently dark.
I’ve heard horror stories where a person got a money order that wasn’t printed correctly, and consequently, it came out much lighter than it should have.
She said it aside and soon forgot to use it for its intended purpose.
After a few months, the already light ink became lighter as natural fading set in.
And the ink was now so light, no bank on the planet would cash it.
Now, I don’t know who would buy a money order only to set it aside, but that’s what I heard!
Hopefully this covers the answer to your question, “Where can I get a money order near me now?”
There’s no dearth of places to get money orders near you because there’s a staggering number of retailers that sell them.
So, the question really becomes, “Which of these possibilities are the ones that will best serve your needs?”
Ideally, it should be a place that hands them out for absolutely no cost to you.
That should be your mission unless you have a masochistic streak a mile long.
In which case, I’d say it’s time for a little psychiatric help.
However, you might not be so lucky as to live near a retailer where you can snag complimentary money orders.
In that case, cross out “gives out free money orders” from your list of things to look for in money order suppliers.
Let me suggest two new criteria: the place with the smallest fee and the biggest monetary limit.
Or, perhaps what’s more important to you is not having to go to a zillion places when you’re out running your errands.
Nowadays, lots of grocery stores are one-stop-shopping emporiums.
Getting all your grocery shopping done, grabbing all the money orders you need, and picking up your prescriptions are just a few of the things you can do in supermarkets these days.
I hope I helped you make up your mind about where to do your money shopping!