As of 2015, no reputable business offers money orders to U.S. residents online, according to About.com, while a few companies once sold money orders online, they have since went out of business. The history of the online money order industry is incredibly volatile, with new companies opening and closing regularly, reports HowStuffWorks.
Alternatives to purchasing a money order include online money transfers, wire transfers, ordering a cashier's check from a bank online and purchasing a money order in person before then mailing the payment. Money orders are available at banks, post offices and select retail locations, according to About.com.
The reason money orders are nearly impossible to purchase online is related to security, explains About.com. When a person buys a money order in-person, cash can be used as payment, which protects the seller from fraud. Since money orders function as cash upon printing, there is no easy way for online sellers to get their money back without costly lawsuits in the event of fraud.
Money orders are a tool for making payments, and individuals typically use them as an alternative to writing checks, according to About.com. Because money orders are paid for up-front with cash, retailers do not have to worry about the instrument's legitimacy as they do with personal checks.