Walmart: the one-stop-shop for consumers of everything from electrical goods to groceries, from home furnishings to car insurance. Whatever you need, you’ll not struggle to find it at Walmart. Since it first opened its doors all the way back in 1962, Walmart has grown into the largest company in the world by revenue and the world’s largest private employer with over 2.2 million employees. With over 11, 368 outlets spread across both the States and abroad, no town, city, or retail park is complete without at least a few of its stores. So far, it’s unlikely you’ve heard anything you don’t already know, but what many don’t know, and what may come as a surprise to even the most hard-core Walmart devotee, is that as well as picking up your weekly groceries at your local store, you can also pick up (or even cash) a money order. Let’s take a look at Walmart’s financial offerings in more detail.
What is a Money Order?
First things first, let’s consider the question of what a money order actually is. In a world ruled by Apple Pay and credit cards, most of the younger generation are probably scratching their heads in puzzlement about any payment method that doesn’t involve a piece of plastic or an iPhone. So, what exactly is a money order, and why would you bother with one in the first place? Essentially, a money order is a form of payment that comes in handy in situations where new school digital payment methods aren’t accepted, or in which you have any concerns about your privacy or security. A money order provides an alternative to card payments in a much safer, more reliable form than either cash or personal checks. When you purchase a money order, you pay cash to the equivalent amount upfront: the agency or corporation providing the money order will then “back” up that amount (similar to how a bank backs a check payment), to ensure the receiver gets their due payment.
Money Order vs Check
Money orders have several advantages over a check, including:
- The receiver is usually happier to accept a money order as it doesn’t run the same risk of bouncing as a check does.
- If the money order is stolen or lost, you can stop the funds from being released.
- No bank account information is needed, so your privacy is protected.
- You don’t need a bank account to get one.
Money Order vs Cash
Even if you’re a fan of cold hard cash, money orders might still be worth considering for the following reasons:
- No ATM cash withdrawal fees.
- You’ll receive a receipt to confirm your payment.
- If you lose cash, it’s gone for good; if you lose a money order, you can just pull the plug on the payment.
Where Can I Purchase a Walmart Money Order?
If you’re convinced that a money order is the preferable payment method for you, you’ll be pleased to know you can easily pick one up during your next trip to Walmart. According to the Walmart website, money orders are available from the Customer Service Desk of all Walmart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets.
What Should I Bring to Purchase a Money Order?
Obviously, the first and most crucial thing you’ll need is cash or a debit card. Even the nicest Walmart employee is unlikely to hand over a money order without seeing the color of your money first. Other than that, you’ll not need much at all, just a valid government-issued photo ID if you’re purchasing over $1000, and an extra 88 cents to cover the processing fee (although that said, fees can vary by location, so either call in ahead to check, or bring a little extra just in case).
How Do I Use a Walmart Money Order?
A Walmart money order can be used in exactly the same way as you’d use a check. When you purchase the money order, you’ll need to complete a form with your details, along with the details of the person you’re sending the order too. After that, it’s simply a case of popping the order in the mail or delivering it by hand.
When Might I Need to Use a Walmart Money Order?
As mentioned, the Walmart money order can be used in most situations where an alternative payments method is either not accepted, or not secure. As ChimeBank notes, some of the ideal circumstances in which to use a money order include:
- Rent Payments - If you need proof that you’ve paid your rent, a money order might be the ideal way to go about it. With each money order you purchase, Walmart will provide a receipt, given you a confirmed paper trail to show you’ve made payment on time. Money orders can also be a great way of managing your money if you struggle to keep on top of your finances: money orders are immediately withdrawn from your debit card, so you don’t have to worry about overspending and eating into your rent.
- Paying Online Marketplace Vendors - If you find your ideal sofa on Craigslist, it’s all well and good telling the seller you’re good for the money, but they’ll probably feel a lot more secure (as will you) if you’re able to provide a guaranteed payment method like a money order.
- Sending Payment by Mail - We’ve all read the horror stories of postal workers topping up their bank accounts with the cash, checks and gift cards we unwittingly pop in the mail. Fortunately, there’s an alternative. Money orders are made out to a specific recipient, and only that same recipient can cash out. Even if it falls into the wrong hands, there’s really not a whole lot they can do with it. Money orders also have the advantage that if they do happen to go astray, you can quickly and easily cancel them down.
Can I Use a Walmart Money Order to Send Money Abroad?
If you want to send money out of the US, ask the recipient to confirm their bank’s cashing and deposit policies to ensure there’ll be no problems in them cashing out. Walmart also warns there may sometimes be a slight difference in the value you send and the value that’s ultimately received, depending on the exchange rate from USD to local currency.
Is it Possible to Trace a Money Order?
Concerned about whether your money order has been received and cashed by the recipient? The good news is you don’t have to worry. Walmart offers a useful online tracking tool that lets you know the status of the money order all the way from purchase to cash-out. All you’ll need is your money order number (which you can find on your receipt) along with the exact amount of the order (again, check your receipt if it’s slipped your mind).
How Can I Cash a Walmart Money Order?
As Gobankingrates.com reports, money orders can be cashed at various locations, including banks and check-cashing services. You can also cash your money order at your local Walmart store (although bear in mind Walmart will only cash Walmart issued money orders: if yours has been issued by another provider, you’ll need to find another venue). Fees do apply, unfortunately: expect to pay $3 for amounts up to $1000, and $6 for anything above $1000. You’ll also need to make sure you bring your ID; remember, your details will need to match the recipient details of the money order exactly, so you can’t send your friend to cash out for you (unless they bear an uncanny resemblance to you and are willing to play fast and loose with both the truth and the law). Walmart offer two options for cashing out: you can either claim the amount in cash, or alternatively, you can ask for it to be loaded onto a Walmart MoneyCard (you’ll need to pay $3 dollars to buy the card, but all subsequent loads are free. If you’re expecting to receive payment by money order on a regular basis, investing in a MoneyCard is a great way of avoiding the cash out fees).
Step-by-Step Guide to Purchasing a Walmart Money Order
- Take a trip to your local store. Remember to bring ID if you plan to purchase an order in excess of $1000, and a little extra to cover processing fees.
- Fill in the money order fully- leave no required fields blank.
- Use black ink and ensure your writing is legible.
- Make sure you receive a receipt. Keep the receipt safe until you know for sure the payment has been received and cashed.
- If you have any difficulties in completing the form, ask for assistance from customer service or request a service form for guidance.
- If you no longer need the money order, you can obtain a full refund by presenting your original sales invoice at the customer service desk. Note the money order will need to be undamaged and unaltered.
- If your money order is lost or stolen, visit MoneyGram to find out how to cancel.
Written by Bill Vix
Read more posts by Bill Vix