Q: I need to buy a money order and was wondering if I can use my credit card to do this. I’d love to get some cash back rewards from this purchase.
A: The short answer is that in most cases, no, you cannot.
The main place where people buy money orders, the post office, only accepts debit cards and cash for the purchase of money orders. This is because money orders are supposed to be prepaid, rather than postpaid like your credit card balance. It also helps ensure that the money order issuer gets their money and cuts down on the risk of fraud.
Sometimes you may be able to get away with buying a money order with a credit card, though. If you want to try your luck, you will have a better chance buying it at a grocery store. Depending on the store, they may allow you to purchase a money order with credit.
If you really need a money order and don’t have the funds for it in your checking account, there’s still a solution left. You can take out a cash advance on your credit card and use that to purchase a money order. This isn’t the best solution, though, so avoid it if you can. Cash advance interest rates are often several interest points higher than the regular purchase APR, and usually come with a fee equal to 3% to 5% of the advance (with a minimum $5 charge). On top of that, many credit card companies will apply payments you send in to the balance with the lowest interest rate first.
So a cash advance can from your credit can end up costing you a lot of money. If you do need to buy a money order this way, be careful, and know the facts before you try to purchase it on credit.