Can You Buy a Money Order Online?

FT Contributor  | 

A money order is a secured method of payment similar to a check. To obtain a money order, you must provide cash or direct payment for the exact amount. Then, you present this money order to the party you need to pay. The recipient cashes the money order or deposits it into their bank account.

A payee may request that you use a money order to pay them if they want to ensure the transaction is secure. This is usually the case when you’re engaged in a transaction with a stranger.

You may also use a money order to pay your bills by mail since it’s a safer form of payment to send than a personal check. There are several ways to buy a money order and reviewing these options will help you choose the most convenient way to purchase your money order.

No, You Cannot Buy a Money Order Online

While it may seem like a convenient option, you cannot buy a money order online. Companies don’t allow you to do this because it’s hard to verify your identity without an in-person transaction taking place.

Money orders are the same as cash and vendors don’t feel comfortable providing these documents when representatives can’t physically verify your identity in person. Since money orders are meant to be secure payments, identification verification is a crucial step in the purchasing process.

In addition to online identification verification issues, money order vendors don’t allow you to make purchases online due to your payment method. You can’t pay cash online and account transfers or debit card transactions aren’t instant. If your payment doesn’t go through and the payment rejection is delayed, the vendor has no way to get their money back.

Since there are no money order vendors that allow you to make purchases online, it’s important to be aware of potential scammers. Some legitimate companies may offer online money transfers, which allow you to transfer money from your account to another account. However, this transaction is different from purchasing a money order. Read the details of the transaction before agreeing to it.

If a company or individual offers to provide you with a physical money order if you give your payment information, it’s not a legitimate offer. The scammer will provide you with a fraudulent money order or may steal your bank account information. Never provide personal or financial information online in the hopes of purchasing a money order.  

Alternative Ways to Purchase a Money Order

While you can’t purchase a money order online, there are several other ways to complete this transaction in person, including the following:

  • Buy a money order at your local grocery store’s customer service desk.
  • Purchase a bank money order at your own financial institution or at another bank that offers this service.
  • Visit your local post office to obtain a money order.
  • Find a local money order vendor that offers these financial services, such as Western Union.
  • Visit your nearest pharmacy or drugstore, which may offer money order purchases.
  • Locate a payday loan store or shop that offers money transfer services to complete your money order transaction.

Before you visit a retailer or payday loan store to purchase a money order, verify that money order transactions are available at that location. Some retailers only offer these financial services at select locations. It’s also important to bring identification and acceptable payment for the money order, which is usually only cash or debit card. You also need to know the exact money order amount and the recipient’s name or company name.

You may need to pay fees in addition to the money order amount. The fees you’re responsible for paying vary based on the type of location you visit and the money order amount you request.

Others Ways of Making Online Payments

There are other ways to utilize the convenience of online payments if you don’t need a physical money order. Alternative ways to make online payments include the following:

  • Online bill payment: If you need a money order to pay a bill, see if the company has an online payment system. You may be able to provide your bank account or credit card information to instantly pay your bill online with the company.
  • Money transfers: You may be able to transfer money from your account to another company or individual’s account. This is a simple option if the recipient’s account is hosted at the same bank as your account. Check with your bank to see whether an online money transfer is possible.
  • Wire transfers: You can wire money from your account to a recipient’s account directly through your bank. There are usually fees associated with this service and you should only wire money to people or companies you know and trust.
  • Payment transfer apps: There are several smartphone apps, such as Paypal or Venmo, that allow you to send money electronically. You must create an account with the service and verify your bank account first. The recipient must also have an account with the service to gain access to the money.
  • Payment forwarding: If you’re attempting to pay a company, it may be associated with a vendor that accepts payments on its behalf, such as Moneygram or Western Union. If so, you can visit this vendor and provide your payment in person, which is forwarded on to the company.
  • Bank cashier’s checks: Some banks allow their customers to purchase a cashier’s check online, which can then be sent to the recipient. You must have the funds available in your account before you request a cashier’s check and your bank may charge processing fees.

If you’re unsure about online banking features your bank provides, contact a bank representative to discuss your options.

While you can’t buy a money order online, there are other ways to purchase one in person. Online banking offers additional convenient ways to provide payments and transfer money quickly and securely.


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