Can you buy a money order with a credit card?
If you need to make a payment or send money, a money order might be a safer alternative to a…
If you need to make a payment or send money, a money order could be a safer alternative to a personal or cash check. You can usually buy one with cash, wire transfer from your bank account, or a debit card, and some money order merchants also accept credit cards as a method of payment.
While using your credit card might seem convenient, it can be more difficult than it’s worth.
How to use warrants
A money order is similar to a personal check in that it is a paper document that the recipient can cash or deposit into their bank account. You can use a money order to pay rent and other bills, send money to family and friends, or even pay for orders online from some retailers. There are, however, a few differences that make it a preferred payment method in certain situations, shown below.
The funds are guaranteed. When you use a personal check, the funds are only guaranteed if there is enough money in your bank account to cover them. As a result, many merchants do not accept personal checks for goods and services. Money Orders require payment in advance, so there is no doubt that it will bounce back.
No bank account is required. About 9 million American households do not have a bank account, according to a 2015 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. A personal check usually requires a checking account or money market account, while a money order can be purchased at the post office or at retailers using other payment methods.
Your information stays safe. Personal checks show your route and account numbers, and often include your address, phone number, and the names of other people on the account as well. If you don’t know or trust the person who will process your check, a money order, which contains less personal information, may be preferable.
You can use a foreign currency. If you want to send money to another country, you can buy a money order in a foreign currency, which is not possible with a personal check.
Security. A money order with a designated recipient is much more secure than cash if you are sending payment by mail. Lost or stolen money orders can be replaced for a fee.
However, mandates are not free. For example, the U.S. Postal Service charges up to $ 1.65 for domestic money orders and up to $ 18.45 for international money orders.
Where can you buy a money order with a credit card?
Only two major merchants allow you to purchase a money order by credit card: Western Union and 7-Eleven. Other Money Order providers, including Walmart, MoneyGram, and the Postal Service, do not accept credit cards as a method of payment for Money Orders.
If you don’t have enough cash on hand or in your bank account to purchase a money order, using a credit card is an option. But this should be a last resort because of the fees and interest.
Credit card issuers like Capital One, American Express, Chase and others consider money orders to be a cash equivalent, meaning the transaction will be coded as a cash advance rather than a regular purchase.
Essentially, a cash advance is a cash loan against your credit card’s line of credit, says Maggie Germano, founder and CEO of Maggie Germano Financial Coaching. “There are additional fees that come with getting a cash advance,” she says, “(and) there may also be higher interest rates.”
In addition to the money order fee, the fees for obtaining a credit card money order include some of the things below.
Cash advance fees. Most credit cards charge a cash advance fee of 3-5% of the transaction amount with a minimum charge of $ 5-10. On a $ 1,000 money order, this is a fee of $ 30 to $ 50 in addition to the money order fee.
APR cash advance. Many credit cards charge a higher APR on cash advances than on regular purchases. With some cards, it can be as high as 25 to 30 percent. Depending on your regular purchase APR, you could end up paying a lot more when you buy a money order with your credit card.
You will not have a grace period. With regular credit card purchases, you usually have a grace period of at least 21 days between the date of your statement and the due date. You will not pay any interest on your balance as long as you pay it in full by the due date. Cash advances typically don’t have a grace period, says Mike Sullivan, personal finance consultant at Take Charge America, a Phoenix-based nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency. This means that the higher cash advance APR begins to accumulate from the date of the transaction. “(This combination) makes cash advances a very expensive way to borrow money,” he says.
Because cash advances are so expensive, it’s best to find another way to buy money order. The only exception is if your only other option is to use an even more expensive payment method. Payday loans and auto title loans, for example, can charge triple-digit APRs, making them much more expensive than a cash advance with a credit card.
One thing to note, however, is that credit card companies are required to first apply any amount you pay in excess of the minimum payment to the debt with the highest rate. So, if you use your credit card to purchase a money order, your payments will repay that amount before your regular purchases, which can help you save money. But it could halt your progress if you’re trying to pay off an existing debt.
Last resort options to consider
If you need a money order to pay a bill or send money, but you don’t have the money or your checking account balance to cover it, consider using a credit card only afterwards. have followed all your options. Here are a few to ponder.
Ask if you can pay by credit card. If you need to pay rent, utility, or other bill payment, you may have the option to pay with your credit card directly. Often times, these types of merchants will charge a nominal fee to use your credit card, but it’s cheaper than a money order, cash advance fees, and interest.
Get a loan. The average interest rate for personal loans is 10.12%, according to August 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. This is significantly less than a typical cash advance APR. If your credit isn’t good and you can’t afford a low interest rate, consider applying for a secured personal loan or applying for a short-term loan from a family member or friend. Germano recommends entering into an agreement if you request a loan from friends or family.
Apply for a payday advance. Ask your payroll manager if you can get an advance on your next paycheck. Depending on your employer, you may have to pay it back over time with interest or just miss your next paycheck. Learn about the terms and make sure that payments or the missed paycheck won’t make your cash flow worse.
Earn extra money. Sell items you own or work alongside could help you free up money quickly for a money order.
When considering these and other options, make sure you understand what your costs are and if it’s worth it.
“The only times a person should get a cash advance is when it’s the cheapest option or the only option available,” says Sullivan. So if there is a need to purchase a money order, do your due diligence to make sure you spend as little money as possible in the process.
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