You can purchase money orders at U.S. post offices, banks, credit unions, grocery stores and convenience stores. Money orders are safe and secure payment methods. Only the person who receives the money order can cash it. Although they're similar to checks, they're paid in advance, so there's no risk of the payment bouncing. Money orders can be tracked and replaced if they are lost.
Postal Money Orders
According to USPS, U.S. Postal Service money orders are a secure payment method. Money orders from the post office contain added features that increase security and reduce the risk of fraud. For example, if you hold a postal money order to the light, a watermark of Benjamin Franklin appears. Postal money orders can be verified by calling the Money Order Verification System.
You can purchase a money order at any U.S. Post Office. At the time of publication, the maximum money order in the U.S. is $1,000. International money orders are limited to $700. Acceptable payment methods for postal money orders include cash, debit cards and traveler's checks. Credit cards and personal checks aren't accepted. The fee for a money order up to $500 is $1.25, as of 2015. For money orders of $501 to $1,000, the fee is $1.65, at time of publication.
Bank and Credit Union Money Orders
Money orders can also be purchased at banks and credit unions. Fees vary depending on the bank. For example, at the time of publication Wells Fargo charged $5.00 for money orders up to $1,000. Depending on your bank and the type of account you have, the fee may be waived. If you're an account holder, you may pay using your bank account. Other accepted payment methods include cash and debit cards.
Retail and Convenience Store Money Orders
A variety of stores, including Kroger, CVS Pharmacy and Walmart, sell money orders. You can also pick one up at a convenience store, such as 7-Eleven. Generally, these money orders are issued by MoneyGram or Western Union, and they have enhanced security features, including embedded watermarks and UV fibers.
At the time of publication, the limit is $500 to $1,000, with fees ranging from $1.00 to $5.00, based on the amount of the money order. The primary payment method for MoneyGram and Western Union money orders is cash, but debit cards may also be accepted at some stores.
Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.