If you’ve decided a money order isn’t what you need, there are a number of options that might fit your situation better without resorting to cash. Some financial tools you can use to pay up without getting a money order include:
Cashier’s checks are similar to money orders. They’re signed by a bank representative and drawn from a bank’s account after the funds are transferred from your own. Cashier’s checks are available for larger dollar amounts, as long as you have the necessary funds, so they’re a better choice for large payments.
Personal checks, while old-fashioned, are also a good alternative to money orders. Many billers and online sellers still accept personal checks, so you can use your checking account to pay bills and transfer funds. If you’ve been denied a checking account because of previous mismanagement, be sure to look into Chime’s second-chance banking features.
A wire transfer is an electronic transfer of guaranteed funds and is a good alternative if you need to send money as quickly as possible. As with a cashier’s check, you’ll often need to visit your bank or a store in person. Wire transfers are more expensive (about $25 to $40 in many cases) and more cumbersome, but they can’t be faked or canceled like money orders.
Electronic payments of non-guaranteed funds are also an option. If you’re just paying bills, your bank’s online bill payment service can send funds almost anywhere — often for free. Online services and mobile apps can also send money at no charge.
Prepaid Debit Cards
If you don’t have a bank account, consider using a prepaid debit card. These cards offer the convenience of plastic, but instead of being attached to a credit account, you load them with your own cash, typically online or at a variety of retail locations. It’s important to keep in mind that many of these cards come with a range of fees, so a traditional debit card linked to a checking account may be a better option.