Money order are an essential tool in accumulating points and/or unloading PIN-enabled gift cards. While most of the mile-earning debit cards (i.e. Bank of America Alaska, Suntrust Skymiles debit card) have been eliminated, there are still a few instances when money orders come in handy. For starters, the UFB Direct Airline Check card still earns 0.5 miles per $1 spent. When you’ve maxed out the daily $2,500/monthly $5,000 load limit on the American Express Serve, being able to cash out remaining PIN-enabled Visa, Mastercard or Simon Mall gift cards via money orders can be a life saver for some. After all, the last thing you want to do is get stuck with thousands of dollars in gift cards you can’t cash out before your credit card bill is due.
So where can you still buy money orders with a debit card or PIN-enabled gift card? You can try the following sources:
1. Walmart. While the Walmart Money Center cashiers have been instructed not to accept PIN-enabled gift cards as payment for money orders, there are a few ways around this. First, you can use the Bluebird kiosk. Money order are capped at $500 per transaction. With fees ranging from $0.20-$0.75 per money order, you are looking at twice the cost as opposed to buying them from the Money Center. Still, if this is your only choice, there’s nothing to grovel over.
If you do want to take a stab at buying them from the Money Center, try ordering gift cards with your name on them. There’s no guarantee this will work, but if the cashier overlooks “GIFT CARD” in large, bold text on the front of the card (try covering it with your thumb) and you show them that your name is in fact on the card, you should be ok. Of course, this is only a concern if the cashier wants to see your card. This was never an issue in the past, but ever since the memo got passed around, I’ve found the money center cashiers are much more inclined to ask to see the card and reject it if it doesn’t comply with their standard of a “debit card” (mainly, that it doesn’t appear to be a PIN-enabled gift card).
If you do succeed with this and you are in fact using PIN-enabled gift cards, I’d advise you limit your purchase to under $1,000 at a time. Since you have to split up your payment methods, you’ll attract less attention if you’re simply splitting it in two.
2. US Post Office. The lines at the US post office rival those at Walmart, but money order purchases aren’t quite as rampant. While I haven’t purchased money orders at the post office myself, you can give this a shot and expect to pay around $0.89 per money order.
3. Grocery Stores (Raley’s, Publix). Some of my readers in Northern California have reported that Raleys has stopped accepting debit cards as payment for money orders. Still, give it a shot on your next grocery run and you may have another point goldmine on your hands. This can be especially lucrative when you factor in fuel rewards points.
4. Gas stations (Kwik Shop, 711). I had some success buying Vanilla Reloads at 711 with my Chase Ink Bold card, back when they were still accepting them. Even when 711 put a stop to it, there was a location on Market Street in San Francisco where I was able to stock up on Paypal cards without issues. That well has dried up, but if you can find a 711 or Kwik Shop that sells money orders, you will at least find an alternative (and far less busy) place to unload your gift cards.
5. Banks. Many banks allow customers to buy money orders, though they are generally a bit more pricey than places like Walmart. I’m hesitant about recommending this because as they say, “Don’t sh** where you eat,” but I’m listing this anyway for the sake of rounding out the list.
These are the places I’m aware of where you can buy money orders with a PIN-enabled gift card/debit card. If you’re aware of any others, feel free to share them in the comment section.
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