How Much Does a Money Order Cost?
Fees, Availability and Additional Services
Money orders are an inexpensive option for bills and purchases. They cost about a dollar at most retail locations, and you’ll pay $10 or so at your bank or credit union. Scroll down to see a price list from popular issuers.
Retail locations: the least expensive way to get a money order is usually at a Western Union or MoneyGram desk (try the Customer Service desk). You can often find these at the following locations:
- Grocery stores
- Convenience stores
- Check cashing stores
USPS: US Post Offices are another good option. These money orders are considered especially safe, they can be used overseas, and they’re relatively inexpensive. USPS Money Order pricing works as follows:
- $1.25 for $0.01-$500
- $1.65 for $500.01-$1,000
- International money orders cost more
Banks and credit unions: at financial institutions, money orders generally cost more (don’t be surprised if it’s $5 to $10). You’ll have to have an account at the bank or credit union to buy.
Money Order Maximums
Keep in mind that the cost refers to a single money order, and money orders typically have a maximum limit. For example, a money order issuer may only offer money orders up to $1,000. If you need to pay $2,000, you’d have to buy two money orders and pay two fees.
For large purchases, consider a cashier’s check. Banks and credit unions issue cashier’s checks (which are similar to money orders in terms of safety) for larger amounts.
They may cost more than a single money order but less than multiple money orders.
- More details: Difference Between a Money Order and Cashier’s Check?
Availability and Pricing
Prices for money orders vary from store to store and town to town. You might find that some stores in your area don’t even sell money orders at all, while they sell inexpensive money orders in other regions.
Verify availability and cost before you need your money order.
Call ahead and ask if money orders are available 24/7, or if you need to visit a service desk with limited operating hours. You’ll also need to ask the maximum issue amount.
It might pay to shop around, but if you can find money orders for less than one dollar, you’re doing well. Note that many convenience stores, grocery stores, and check cashing stores outsource their money orders—thus you’re getting the same money order (at the same price) from numerous locations. MoneyGram and Western Union are commonly used at those stores.
Also, check with your bank or credit union. In some cases, those money orders are more expensive, but you never know until you ask.
Money Order Locations
Need some ideas on where to shop and what to expect? Below are popular locations for money order purchases.
$1 - $5
Fifth Third Bank
Kroger (King Soopers, City Market)
After purchasing a money order, you might need additional services from the issuer.
For example, you can find out if and when the item was cashed (and see who endorsed the back). If the money order gets lost or you decide not to use it, you may need to request a refund or replacement. Those services cost extra. Costs for these services are lowest with the USPS. With other issuers, it's typically around $30 to research or refund a money order.
Costs to Cash a Money Order
If you received a money order, how much will it cost to convert it to cash?
Free deposits: you can almost always deposit a check – as well as a money order – for free at your bank or credit union, so do that if you don’t need cash immediately. You’ll be able to spend those funds with your debit card, online bill payment, or a cash withdrawal from an ATM at a later date.
Getting cash: if you truly want to cash a money order, it may cost you.
Your bank will probably do it for free, but you might only be able to get the first $200 of the money order (you’d then wait a few more days, depending on your bank’s funds availability policy – although you can get more on a USPS money order). You can also try to cash the money order with the money order issuer. For example, take it to a Western Union location if it’s a Western Union money order. USPS money orders are free to cash at post offices, but they might not have all of the cash you need. Other issuers may charge a fee of $3 to $20 or so. Finally, check cashing stores will often cash money orders for a modest fee.