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A money order is a guaranteed payment form—unless it’s lost or stolen. If you’ve lost a money order you received or purchased, your money isn’t necessarily gone. But you’ll need to do some work to track it down.
Keep reading to learn what steps you can take to track a lost or stolen money order.
How a Money Order Works
Much like checks, money orders are paper forms of payment, but, unlike a check, their payment is guaranteed. When you purchase a money order, you do so with cash or another guaranteed form of payment (like a debit card). You can’t purchase money orders with a personal check or credit card.
When you purchase a money order, you must provide the name of the payee (recipient), and the name of the issuing financial institution must have its name on the order.
You can purchase a money order at select vendors like the United States Postal Service (USPS), Western Union, some retail banks, select retailers, and check-cashing and payday loan stores. Because you prepay for the money order, there’s no chance of it bouncing when cashed.
Vendors typically charge a fee for money orders. USPS, for example, charges $1.45 per money order of up to $500 or $1.95 per order between $500 and $1,000.
And depending on the vendor, there could be limits on how much you can send. The USPS, for example, limits money orders to $1,000 per order.
How Does Money Order Tracking Work?
When you purchase a money order, you receive an order receipt. The receipt contains all the information needed to track your money order and shows the proof of value in case it’s lost, stolen or damaged.
How to Track a Money Order
If you lost a money order or believe it’s been stolen, you first need to track it. You can track a money order by going to the money order issuer. The steps involved in tracking a lost money order vary. Here’s how to track a money order through three popular money order issuers.
The United States Postal Service has been in the money order business for a while, offering domestic and international money orders. Domestic money orders are limited to $1,000 per single order. International money orders max out at $1,500 per single order
You can see if a money order has been cashed by checking the USPS website. Your money order receipt contains the information you need to track it. To view the status of the money order, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Serial number
- Post office number
- Dollar amount
If you want a copy of a cashed money order, you’ll need to complete and submit PS Form 6401, the official money order inquiry. It can take the USPS up to 60 days to investigate a lost or stolen money order’s status.
You can’t stop payment on a USPS money order, but you can have it replaced if they determine it’s lost or stolen. If that’s the case, they will issue a replacement money order. The USPS charges a $6.25 processing fee to replace a domestic lost or stolen money order, and $9 for international money orders.
You can track a lost or stolen Western Union money order in two ways:
- If you have the receipt, use the request form on the back to start the process of tracking or replacing the money order. Mail the completed form and the $15 processing fee to the address listed.
- If you don’t have the receipt, you’ll need to complete and submit Western Union’s Money Order Research Request form. There’s a $30 processing fee, and Western Union can take up to eight weeks to process requests. You can submit the form in one of three ways:
- Fax: 1-720-864-0477
- Email: RMO@westernunion.com
- Mail: Western Union Financial Services, Inc., PO Box 7030 Englewood, CO 80155-7030
If the money order has already been cashed, Western Union will send you a photocopy of the cashed money order. You will receive a refund if they verify the money order and find it hasn’t been cashed.
MoneyGram money orders are available at thousands of retail locations across the U.S. You can purchase a money order through the website or mobile app and track a money order by filling out the online form or by calling 1-800-542-3590. You’ll need to provide the money order amount and serial number. This is also how you request a replacement money order through MoneyGram.
Online requests are the cheapest and fastest way to receive a replacement money order. There is an $18 processing fee and it typically takes seven business days or more to process.
If the money order has been cashed, you can receive a photocopy of the cashed money order by visiting a participating MoneyGram retail location. Complete a MoneyGram Express Payment request and pay the $18 processing fee.
If your money order was purchased from another issuer, there might be a different process for tracking and replacing money orders. Check with your specific money order issuer for details on how to proceed.
Can You Cancel a Missing Money Order?
The USPS doesn’t allow you to stop payment on money orders, only replace them, if lost or stolen. You can cancel a money order through Western Union as long as it hasn’t been cashed. To do so, visit the same location where it was purchased. Or, you can cancel a Western Union money order digitally if the purchase originated online or through the mobile app.
What If the Money Order Was Cashed?
As mentioned above, most issuers can provide a photocopy of a money order if it’s already been cashed. This won’t help you get your money back, but it could be helpful if you file a fraud claim. The money order issuer may refund your money if you prove that you were the victim of fraud. MoneyGram only allows you to replace a lost or stolen money order, not cancel it.
How to Protect Yourself From Money Order Fraud
Money orders are often used as part of bank scams. There are steps you can take to protect your money If you’ve purchased or received a money order.
- Fill out the money order as soon as possible. Write the payee’s name and other information on the money order shortly after you purchase it.
- If you receive a money order, deposit or cash it promptly. The less time it spends with you, the less likely it is to get lost.
- Always keep your receipt. Keep it until you know the payee has received the payment.
- Avoid leaving money orders in a dropbox. Either hand-deliver it to the payee or drop it off in person at your local post office.
Find The Best Online Banks Of 2023
Money order payments are more secure than cash, but there’s always a chance that the money order could get lost or stolen. You may pay more fees with money orders than other payment types, like paper checks. Do your best to protect your money order to avoid the headache of having to track one down. Keep in mind that there are ways to send money to people digitally, which may be better than using a money order.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you get a money order refund?
You can request a refund where the money order was purchased or submit a request online through the vendor’s website.
How much does a money order cost?
You can typically send a money order for a small fee based on the amount sent. The USPS charges up to $1.95 per order. Western Union and MoneyGram fees vary based on the amount, location and current exchange rates.
Can you buy a money order with a credit card?
Western Union and MoneyGram allow credit card payments for money orders, but the USPS does not.
Can you mobile-deposit a money order?
Check with your bank or credit union to see if its mobile app allows you to deposit money orders via the mobile check deposit feature.
How do you write a money order?
To write a money order, fill out the provided money order form. You’ll need the name of the recipient, your name and address and an eligible payment method. You’ll also sign as the purchaser before the money order is processed.
To track the status of your USPS money order, visit the USPS website and enter the following information, which can be found on your money order receipt: Serial number. Post Office number. Dollar amount.How do I check if a money order has been cashed? ›
Customers wanting to find out if a money order has been cashed may go online to USPS.com to check the status. They will need to enter the money order serial number, Post Office number, and issued amount—all printed on the money order receipt—in order to obtain near real-time status information.Do money orders have tracking? ›
Money order tracking
The U.S. Postal Service and MoneyGram allow you to track online with information such as the serial number found on your receipt and the purchase amount. Your bank should be able to provide you with the same information for a money order purchased there.
Without a receipt, tracing a money order can be difficult or even impossible. A money order is harder to trace than a check, so keep your receipt until you are sure the order has been received and cashed.How long does a money order take to arrive? ›
In general, money orders should arrive to the recipient in a couple of days. However, during weekends or holidays this might take longer. For this reason, make sure to wait at least 14 days before expecting some issue with the money order.What happens if money order is not cashed? ›
Generally, money orders don't have expiration dates. This means you should be able to cash a money order no matter how old it is. But issuers may begin applying fees if a money order goes uncashed for a year or more. The fee can vary.How do I get my money back from a cashed money order? ›
If the money order has already been cashed, you probably won't get your cash back or a replacement money order. But you might still be able to collect. The provider might give you a photocopy of the cashed money order. If you think it was cashed fraudulently, alert your local law enforcement.Can I cash a blank money order I found? ›
Can a Blank Money Order Be Cashed? If someone finds a blank money order with a specified value amount on it, it can be filled out and cashed.Can a money order be Cancelled? ›
With most money order issuers, including USPS, Western Union, and MoneyGram, you can cancel the payment. 12 To do so, either fill out a form or take the money order back to the place you originally bought it. Bring identification and any information you have about the money order to start the process.Can money order be scanned? ›
Did you know you can scan checks and money orders in Rent Manager® for speedy, accurate ePay processing? By using the Rent Manager check scanner and PayLease as your electronic payment service provider, you have the ability to quickly scan checks and money orders and convert them to electronic transactions.
Much like a check, a money order is a paper payment. Unlike a check, money orders can't bounce. You purchase a money order with cash or another guaranteed form of payment, such as a traveler's check or debit card.Will a money order bounce? ›
Many recipients prefer money orders because, unlike a personal check, a money order can't “bounce” and clears almost immediately; therefore, they provide a fast, risk-free form of payment.How do I track a money order from Publix? ›
You can track the money order you purchase at Publix by calling the Wester Union phone number on the receipt. Provide the payment service company with the 11-digital money order code to know where it is and whether the recipient has already cashed or deposited it.What happens if a money order is stolen and cashed? ›
If you discover the money order has been cashed, the issuer won't be able to give you a refund. However, all hope is not lost. Ask the issuer for a photocopy of the cashed money order to see who endorsed it. If it looks like someone stole the money, report the incident to law enforcement with the photocopy attached.How do I get money back from an uncashed money order? ›
If you have your original money order or your purchaser's receipt and your money order has not been cashed, you'll need to do the following for a refund: Open the Money Order Refund Request form. Enter the details and attach your receipt. Accept the terms and conditions and select Submit.How can I track a money order without the serial number? ›
- Your name, phone number, and full address.
- The money order amount, date of purchase, and time of purchase.
- The payee's name, if you provided it on the money order.
- The full address of the location where you purchased the money order.