Manufactured Spending

Where to Buy Money Orders with a PIN-enabled Gift Card

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, and Simon Mall gift cards via money orders can be a llifesaverfor some. After all, the last thing you want is to get stuck with thousands of dollars in gift cards you can’t cash out before your credit card bill is due.

Photo credit: Nicholas Eckhart / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: Nicholas Eckhart / Foter / CC BY

So where can you still buy money orders with a debit card or PIN-enabled gift card? You can try the following sources:

Money Orders at 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 orders 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. However, since the memo got passed around, the money center cashiers are more inclined to ask to see the card. And reject it if it doesn’t comply with their standard of a “debit 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.

Money Orders at the 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.

Money Orders at Grocery Stores (Raley’s, Publix, etc)

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.

Money Orders at gas stations (Kwik Shop, 711)

I had some success buying Vanilla Reloads at 711 with my Chase Ink Bold card. At least 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 buy 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 have an alternative (and far less busy) place to unload your gift cards.


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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  1. Kroger is done, i have been using it for over a year, it is worse than WMT now, all cashiers ask to look at the card and decline gift cards, this started about 3 weeks ago, in all 3 Krogers I used successfully before. This whole gift card manufactured spending is over or almost over, too many got into this.

    • Yup. My Krogers are just like my Walmarts. They make me hand them the cards and they study them for the word giftcard. I think this whole gift card for money orders thing has just about run it’s course. It was fun while it lasted.

      • Kroger is still ok at my area. There are 5 krogers within 3 miles of my house. Three stores never look at gift card. Some of the clerks in the other two stores might look at the ID if you want to paid with 2 giftcards. However, if you purchase MO with one gift card, no one will look at it at all. Of course, the cost will be a little bit higher but works every time. I always try to use 2 giftcard first, if they do ask for the giftcards, I will hand them over my VisaBuxx, paypal debit, or UFBdirect cards.

        • So i just foudn this out today i have always wanted to be able to cash out cards for cheap. Simple solution the post office! They let me use a visa vanilla to buy a money order. It only cost 1.20 you have to use a pin gift card which is any card basically.

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  3. You need to edit your cut and paste posts like this one – the BoA AS card died back in May.

  4. Even Walmart’s are cracking down on debit cards that don’e have your name on it. The cashiers request to see the card to check for your name.

  5. this blog should be called DEAL KILLER

    seriously, why?

  6. Two errors; 1. I buy money orders with PIN-enabled cards all the time at my Dallas, Texas Walmart. One can run into ignorant clerks who don’t have up-to-date information. Ask for a manager. 2. There are Kroger stores in California, They operate under names such as Vons.

    • Mistake: Don’t ever get a manager involved. It’s akin to “calling the airline.” Your experience is an isolated one. Most Walmarts have sent out memos to staff instructing them not to accept gc’s. Where else would the cashier come up with that policy? Most cashiers weren’t even looking at the payment method before. I’m glad your outcome was positive, but advocating this to others is irresponsible. For someone who seems to care a great deal about preserving ms, this is the wrong approach.

  7. You mention Publix but then do not say what MOs are available?

    • At a Publix in Tuscaloosa, AL, I asked one of the employees about the money orders. He said that they accept debit cards for money orders, although I haven’t tried a Visa gift card (to be clear, I didn’t mention gift cards during the conversation). They offer money orders of up to $500. I forget what the fee is, but I think they said it’s either 90 cents or $1. Being originally from San Jose, CA, I was pleased to find a potential manufactured spending opportunity that’s unique to the southeastern US.

      One possibility that intrigues me is the Coin card, although I haven’t tried it. Apparently, it’s possible to put Visa gift cards on it, and the Coin card has your name. While it’s extra work as opposed to using the Visa gift cards, it might be useful for some people who are struggling to buy money orders.

      I wonder if anyone has found other tools similar to the Coin card, or if the Coin card is your only option.

  8. Can’t do it at the post office. I tried it the first week of pin-enabled gift cards and many others say the same on FlyerTalk. Remove it off your list.

    • It varies by region. I can’t buy them at my local post office with a gc either, but I’ve gotten reports from people who have. This list is also for people who are using debit cards.

    • You sound like a prick with your pompous demands. You’re only giving false info to preserve the deal.

      • Let’s be civil, please. It was simply a misunderstanding.

      • Yep and I also jump right into name-calling as well. If it actually worked in any post office, there would be many more discussions about it. Some are coded different than others so it may work in some locations, which I wasn’t aware of. All I heard was that it didnt work, and I tried in like 20 locations myself.

        • Gary Leff was actually one of the first people to tell me about the US Post Office (left somewhere in the comment section on an older post). I conveyed the same thing – my local post office requires cash, but he insisted it works. Again, I think the reason it’s not a widespread method is because it must be regional.

          • Let’s be logical–as far as the computers are concerned, a debit card is a debit card, as long as it has a PIN. SO, the post office, or Kroger or WM can have whatever “policy” they want–if you are lucky enough to have a clerk who doesn’t know, it is going to work. Thus, there is no “never works.” I’m not willing to run around doing something with little likelihood of success, and I appreciate those who post (e.g., the Kroger update helped me a lot), but the categorical “never” statements are unhelpful and pompous.

  9. Tell your friend who buys a GC at Kroger and then walks over to the money center in the same store to use it that she is a moron.

  10. Wow. The comments here are unnecessarily nasty. I know a few place to buy money orders with gift cards, but you guys don’t seem like the kind of people I would share that info with.

  11. Walmart is off limits in the Bay Area now. US Post office machines do not accept the Gift Cards 🙁 CVS sells Money Orders though 🙂

  12. Megan Foster (Happy)

    What a joke site, quick killing deals!

  13. With increasing limit for the daily load of BB, I reduce my WM trips to twice a month. I also try to get one MO, but with 30+ min in a MC line lately, I start to wonder if it is worth it… Perhaps, I can spend those times watching “Emily” to plan her next moves. Just finish season 1. Thanks.

  14. Geeze, the comments are amazing. It seems there are some paranoid people who read your blog and they need to get a life. I find your posts refreshing and like how you diversify your topics. Plus I love the whack a mole analogy!

  15. How about a more civil, as well as productive discussion about ways to actually get around these new impediments to liquidating our pin enabled gift cards.

  16. Most successful people aren’t internet trolls. Enjoy your delusions of grandeur. The $82k spending challenge goes on for 3 months, not 1. So much for conveying an image of “success” when you lack basic reading comprehension skills. Again, this is my hobby so I’m good in that department. You on the other hand are missing a hobby and a life (unless, as I suspect, this back and forth is your idea of a hobby and a life. Which makes you more pathetic than I initially thought). Go back up the stairs and help your mother with the dishes. She’s far more interested in your whining than anyone in this forum.

  17. Talk about not shitting where you eat while also mentioning buying Visas at Kroger and walking over to the money center to buy MO’s.

    That makes total sense.

  18. You people are unbelievable. None of this is new or secret information. Everybody needs a reason to be angry.

  19. Thanks for talking the lunatic off the ledge, Mike. I’m glad he’s decided to get a hobby at last.

  20. Oh I was just leveling the playing field. I’m glad you came to your senses and took my advice about finding something else to occupy your time.

  21. I totally agree. I really detest the “I got mine, you get yours with no help” attitude of those who trash the bloggers. If they figured it all out on their own, fine; but that is no reason to object to those who would like to help others. Without the bloggers, I would not even know about this hobby, which I really enjoy, and use conservatively. I do wish more people would be careful about the degree of what they do, but that is abused by newbies and vets alike, probably more by the latter. I appreciate the bloggers and the (kind and helpful) commenters, as well. Thanks, all!

    • Ah, this is the type of reply that makes us OGs cringe. Because of bloggers, you got into MS. That’s awful. Wish the bloggers didn’t exist.

      • How did you get into ms? Do you also wish those people “didn’t exist?” There’s enough water for all the thirsty mammals around the waterhole. You’re no more deserving than anyone else.

  22. Raley’s is now dead as of October 1st. Draw your own conclusions about deal killing.

  23. What a loser, leaving a negative review for your book because he had his ass handed to him a month ago:

    “This book is written in the same condescending and inaccurate manner as Ariana’s travel site. Avoid at all costs.”

    “Let it go! Let it go!” #frozenvoice

  24. Agio is a word we don’t encounter enough on these blog sites. It’s the fee incurred transferring a form of currency to another currency. The only point in buying money orders is that the fee, or agio, is less than the alternatives. Let’s say you need $2,000 to move from your credit card back to your credit card to meet minimum spend for, say, 40,000 or 50,000 points. Money orders might drop the agio fee by $20, which isn’t enough for all these people to be talking about it. If you’re moving $80,000 a month, it matters 40 times more. YMMV has never been more appropriate.

  25. For minimum spending, here in Dallas, TX, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Tom Thumb (Safeway) will no longer accept the PIN-enabled cards for money orders for bank deposit. So, I was phoning into my Citi AAdvantage card and they would let me advance pay with my debit cards. That would take care of all my usual monthly charges and all the utilities, etc. on monthly autopay for a number of months. Now, Citi won’t let me do that anymore. I’ve pretty much maxed out on advance payments on my big bills, such as AT&T U-Verse and electricity with ~$1,000 each in credits already. Other monthly bills are trivial. Now, I’m newly stuck with $2,000 in debit cards for minimum spending on a new Chase British Airways credit card (Avios). So……back to original question. Where to buy money orders with PIN-enabled debit cards?

  26. Greg Varlakov

    Publix in FL, $0.89 fee up to $500 each, I buy 2 at a time, don’t try more

  27. Jerry Mandel

    1. There are Krogers in CA…under other names, maybe such as Ralphs.2. NO place, including USPS, in Dallas, TX area will let you buy money orders with gift/debit cards with PINs.

  28. Jerry Mandel

    1. There are Krogers in CA under the names of Ralphs, Foodsco, Quick Stop Market. 2. NO place in Dallas, Texas area sells money orders with debit/PIN cards. 3. USPS HQ says you can buy MOs with such cards but the branch computers always decline them.

  29. Anybody here from the Bay Area? Since the demise of the RedBird, I am just wondering what’s the MS environment in WM now since I quit them last year. All I remember is it’s quite tough and so many road blocks to load your BlueBird/Serve with PIN enabled VGCs/MGCs. One year has passed, anything has changed?

    • It’s hard to liquidate as many WM cashiers are trained to ask to see your card when loading. YMMV as some cashiers are untrained or do not enforce it. I’m making a venture this weekend to try out the KATEs in Fremont and Union City. As the one in San Jose is always down.

      • Hi Jon Jovi, what do you mean KATE in Fremont and Union City? I live in the area and would appreciate a tip where I can purchase MO in the area. Thanks much!

        • KATE = Kiosks At The Entrance. It’s usually called the MoneyCenter ATMs. However, a majority of the time these ATMs are always down. If you’re going the MO route. I would suggest the post office. Surprisingly, they don’t bat an eye when you tell them I’m going to purchhase a $1000 money order purchase using two debit cards ($500 each) and pay the fee in cash. So it seems you can split tender as much as you want and easily at the post office.

          • Thank you so much Jon Jovi! I’ll definitely do that. Go to Simon Mall, purchase VGC and go to post office to purchase MO. Hopefully, the Simon Mall VGC works at the PO for MO!

          • Hello Jon,

            I live in Bay Area too. It’s so sad that Safeway recently removed all variable load $500 VGC and MCGC which was an importance source for me to meet my new credit card’s minimum spending requirements. Do you know which other place might still sell $500 variable load VGC or MCGC in Bay Area and allow CC as payment? I’ve heard WM selling Sunrise Bank issued $500 VGC but never get one before. Does WM take CC as payment form when you buy that Sunrise Bank issued $500 VGC? How many VGCs can I purchase per transaction or per day in WM? I’ve seen USPS sells those Meta Bank issued $500 VGC and U.S. Bank National Association issued $500 MCGC but I was told by USPS staff that I can only purchase it with Debit or Cash. Is that so or a YMMV thing? Have you ever tried purchasing those GCs at USPS using CC? Thanks for your feedback.

      • Hi Jon, I live in the Fremont area… What do you mean by KATE? I’d appreciate tips on where to purchase money orders in the area. Thanks so much!

        • Hello Kris,

          Where is the best place to get Simon Mall GC? Online or do they have any local branch selling those cards? Please keep us posted if Simon Mall GC is still valid to use as a Debit in USPS when you purchase MO. Thank you Kris.

  30. Nowadays I worry more where to liquidate the money orders.
    Do you deposit them at your localbank/credit union? Across multiple accounts? Don’t the bankers get suspicious of why you deposit so many so often?
    From financial standpoint money orders are considered cash, and dealing with more than $10,000/year cash (without reporting on special forms) makes you guilty of structuring. Look it up. Not good.
    You can possibly pay your CC bill with them, but it might trigger some red flags for credit card companies.
    Any other way to liquidate them safely? They become one of just a few roads left for MSers, especially since it looks like BBird is dying.

    • I deposit some and use others to pay credit card bill at the branch.

      • With the BB death I am now really looking into MOs. Why do you go to the branch to pay cc bill with MO? Why not mail it in? I’m confused about how that makes any difference. And, of course, it’s really hard for me to pay 60% of my cards that way, since they don’t have a local bank.

        • Maybe because since money order is cash in a sense, mailing it in might be unsafe.

        • Jerry Mandel

          Deposit MOs into your bank account and pay credit card bills by electronic bill pay from your bank account. We rarely write a check for anything. Exception: Pay utilities, etc. by credit cards to get the miles/points. You are lucky to be able to buy MOs with loaded debit cards with PINs. No place in Dallas, Texas area will sell MOs like that.

  31. Jerry Mandel

    Again—In CA, Ralphs is actually Kroger.

  32. Jerry Mandel

    I challenge anyone to identify any place in Dallas County, Texas that sells money orders for gift/debit cards with PINs. Plenty of people say I don’t know what I’m talking about but all talk and no action by them.

  33. I am scrambling to get $4000 worth of spend pretty quickly. i went to the but was overwhlemed to find so many gift cards and had no idea what specically to buy. I would plan on taking this to Walmart and get money orders. I would charge the gift cards to AMEX, put the money orders in my Chase bank and then pay off the Amex (SPG). I was going to pay my state tax this way, but they would not take AMEX. Email me if you can. Thanks, John

    • Jerry mandel

      Walmart is not consistent nationwide. In only some cities do their Money Centers sell money orders with cards with PINs. You had better find out first.

  34. After making a run on office depot and staples using my Ink card I just did 3000. in MO at walmart. First clerk told me I could only do one MO a day and it had to be 200.00 or less using my GC, next day i avoided her and the next clerk let me do 800.00 and asked me out right if I was getting miles for this, she was smiting so i said yes. To make this work I had to ask for a MO for 799.30 and tell the clerk I was making four 200.00 swipes.

  35. Jerry Mandel

    Justine. Pay your rent with a check or cash. Of course, you can buy money orders at USPS, grocery stores, and drugstores.

  36. I remember rumors that you can’t buy money orders with gift cards at any Post Office in Dallas, Texas, but that may only have been fear-mongering.

  37. First time to buy MO using VGCs purchased at Stop n Shop grocery. I understand that I will be asked to swipe it when buying MOs at WM or another grocery chain – but where do I get the PIN # from? is it somewhere on the back of the card? thanks

  38. So every month for the last year or so I’ve been buying Simon gift cards and liquidating them at the post office to purchase money orders with no issue. Went last week to cash out my gift cards and the usps man said the system was down for debit after I swiped and typed my pin. No issue I’ll come back another day. It’s been 10 days now and every post office I go to around Long Island NY and the Bronx is telling me the same thing. Is the system really down or have they coded the registers to stop accepting pin gift cards???

  39. Jerry Mandel

    When Walmart says cash or debit cards, they mean debit cards of your bank account.

    • Jerry Mandel

      Right now, there is NO place in Dallas, TX area to buy money orders with loaded gift/PIN cards. USPS says it is OK but the branch computers will decline them every time. I’ve already prepaid a bunch of utilities for bonuses. So, I’m out of the MS business.

  40. Jerry Mandel

    Amex will not let you phone pay your credit card bills using loaded VISA or Master Charge gift cards. Which credit cards will let you do that?

  41. Is Caller ID going to show “Dallas County”, or will you be using a VPN?

  42. Pingback: Where To Buy Visa Gift Cards With A Credit Card | Hello Ganja Plug

  43. Pingback: 7 Cash Advance Alternatives That Will Help You Save Money – Saving For Free

  44. satinder Singh

    can you please update this post with the latest and greatest. What’s the best way to cash gift cards right now.

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