With over 9,900 locations in the United States, CVS is the largest pharmacy chain in the country. On top of their pharmacy services and convenience store products like groceries and cleaning supplies, CVS provides money order services via MoneyGram. Money orders are perfect for when you want to pay someone or send someone money but don’t want to give them cash or write a personal check. Similar to a cashier’s check, a money order is considered a safer and more secure form of payment than using a personal check. While a cashier’s check is even more secure than a money order, money orders are generally more convenient and available in more locations, including the U.S. Post Office and convenience stores like CVS. If you live near a CVS, sending a MoneyGram money order is easy.
How Do Money Orders Work?
You can purchase a money order from a financial institution such as a bank or credit union, or through an issuer provided at certain locations like the U.S. Post Office or grocery stores. Most money orders have a limit of $1,000, so if you need to send more money than that, you’d have to purchase multiple money orders.
The authorized body or financial institution issuing the money order needs the payee’s name, sender’s name, and amount of money that can be cashed. A money order is not the same as a check, and therefore, they can be harder to trace. However, one upside is less personal information is required in order to send one. You should keep the receipt that comes with your money order until you’re certain that the money order has cleared.
While some money order issuers have a limit of up to $1,000, MoneyGram money orders available at CVS have a limit of $500. So, if you need to send $800, for example, you would need to purchase two money orders to cover the full amount you want to send. Fortunately, CVS money orders cost only $1.25 each as of 2020.
Purchasing a CVS Money Order
At any CVS Pharmacy store, you can purchase a money order at the checkout register. The money order requirements and format may differ slightly depending on which issuer you use, but whether you’re using the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), Western Union, MoneyGram, or another service, the process is similar to that of writing a check. CVS happens to issue and cash MoneyGram money orders. Here’s what you’ll need to have ready:
- The payee’s name
- The payment amount
- The payee’s address
- Other details, such as the payee’s account number
- A valid form of payment – cash, traveler’s checks or debit cards (credit cards may be accepted, but will incur an extra fee or interest)
How Much Does a CVS Money Order Cost?
While CVS MoneyGram money orders have a limit of $500, compared to some other issuers, the good news is that they’re not expensive. As of 2020, CVS money orders cost $1.25 each. This fee is per money order and does not depend on the amount of money being sent within the $500 limit.
So, if you needed to send $750, for example, you would still need to pay $2.50 for two money orders to cover the first $500 and the next $250, even though you’re not reaching the $500 maximum on the second money order. Still, all things considered, you’re not spending all that much, and you’re likely to save a considerable amount purchasing money orders at places like CVS or Walmart than you would at the bank, which tend to have significantly higher money order fees.
Sending a CVS Money Order
After purchasing, if you find out that you no longer need the money order, you can normally get a full refund by showing your original sales receipt at the customer service desk. However, your money order will need to be unaltered and undamaged. Fortunately, money orders are inexpensive. Otherwise, follow these steps to fill out and send your CVS money order:
- Write the Payee Name. Write the name of the person or business to whom you are sending the money order in the “PAY TO THE ORDER OF” field. Make sure to double-check for correct spelling and information, because you can’t change anything once the money order has been processed.
- Fill out Your Own Info. You are the purchaser, so fill in your own information in the field that says “Purchaser,” “Sender,” “Remitter” or “From.” Some issuers, like Western Union, may require your full name and address, but others may only require your name. You should use your full legal name and current mailing address to fill out this section.
- Sign the Front. Sign the front of the money order, but leave the back blank, because this is where the recipient will need to sign. Some money orders may provide space for a memo or note to denote the payment purpose, so it couldn’t hurt to fill that out, if it’s there. Double-check everything for accuracy, and then send the money order as you would a check.
- Keep the Money Order Receipt. Keep the detachable receipt that provides your proof of purchase and tracking information so you can monitor your money order and confirm if and when it’s been deposited.
Tracing a CVS Money Order
If your money order is lost or stolen, visit MoneyGram to find out how to cancel. Their page includes tips for how to locate important details on your money order for tracking purposes, such as your Serial Number, as well as a "Check Status" function. If your money order is lost, you can request a replacement and also check the status of your replacement.
There is a non-refundable $18 processing fee for online requests to replace a money order. It can take up to seven business days to process, plus additional days for mail delivery. For mailed requests, the fee is $25 and it can take 20 business days to process, plus additional days for mail delivery. Online requests are definitely faster and less expensive. If you need a paper request, call MoneyGram's automated line at 1(800) 542-3590 and press "0" to speak to a representative.
Cashing a CVS Money Order
Unfortunately, CVS sells MoneyGram money orders, but does not cash them, so you'll need to find another option. Many credit unions will cash money orders, as well as check-cashing stores and some grocery stores if you show proper ID. It goes without saying, but cashing your CVS money order at brick-and-mortar MoneyGram locations is a reliable option. You can use this MoneyGram Locator tool to find a location near you.
In general, cashing a money order does bring some fees, however, but the good news is they aren't that much. You can expect to pay around $2 to $5 to cash a money order, but the fee varies by location, and sometimes by how much you exceed a certain limit, such as $500 or $1,000. When you cash your money order, you'll need to bring your ID. Your details need to match the recipient information on the money order as it was sent, so you must cash it yourself (i.e. you can't get a friend or family member to do it for you).
- GoBankingRates.com: How Much Is a CVS Money Order?
- FirstQuarterFinance.com: CVS Money Order FAQ: Does It Sell/Cash Them?
- MoneyGram.com: Money Orders
- FiscalTiger.com: Sending and Receiving CVS Money Orders
- SavingAdvice.com: How to Get a CVS Money Order
- CVSHealth.com: Facts and Company Information
- MillennialMoney.com: Best Places to Get a Money Order in 2020
- FirstQuarterFinance.com: Where Can I Cash a Money Order?
- GoBankingRates.com: How Much Does a Money Order Cost at Walmart?
- Investopedia: Money Order
- NerdWallet.com: How to Fill Out a Money Order Step-by-Step
- United States Postal Service. "Sending Money Orders." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- Western Union. "Do Money Orders Have an Expiration Date?" Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- Western Union. "How Do I Request a Money Order Refund?" Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- United States Postal Service. "Money Orders - The Basics." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- United States Postal Service. "Money Order Inquiry System." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- MoneyGram. "Money Order Information." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- MoneyGram. "Money Order Claim Card." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- Western Union. "All About Money Orders." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- Western Union. "Money Order Research Request." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. "Answers About Forgery and Fraud." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.