Money orders are a reliable and secure form of payment, offering a guaranteed promise of funds with a more tangible assurance than personal checks. However, what happens if you misplace a money order?
The good news is that losing a money order doesn’t necessarily mean losing your funds. With prompt action and the right steps, you can track down your money order or even get a refund or replacement. Here’s how to get things back on track if you lose your money order.
What Is a Money Order?
A money order is a secure payment method that offers more safety than cash and more guarantee than a personal check. Money orders are typically paper forms of payment. However, unlike a check, a money order payment is guaranteed. This is because you pay for the money order upfront with cash or another secure payment method, such as a debit card. Credit cards and personal checks are usually not accepted for purchasing money orders.
Money orders are commonly used for sending money through the mail, paying bills, or paying for goods or services when cash isn’t a practical or safe option. They’re available at a variety of locations including some banks and retailers, the United States Postal Service (USPS), and Western Union.
Tracking a Money Order
If you lose a money order or believe it has been stolen, your first step should be to track it. This way, you can see if the money order has been cashed. Each issuer, be it USPS, Western Union, or MoneyGram, has a different process for tracking and replacing money orders. You’ll need to contact the issuer promptly and may need to pay a fee for the tracking service. If you don’t have your receipt, you can call the issuer’s customer service number or visit the nearest branch.
When tracking a lost or stolen money order, you’ll need to provide details such as the purchase date, location, and amount. You may also need to furnish information on the person or company you were supposed to pay, as well as a description of how the money order was lost. This process could take some time, so it’s essential to act quickly.
The USPS offers both domestic and international money orders. You can check the status of your money order on their website by providing the dollar amount, serial number, and post office number.
If you need to track a Western Union money order, you have two options. If you have the receipt, fill out the request form and mail it with a $15 processing fee. If you don’t have the receipt, complete and submit Western Union’s Money Order Research Request form. The processing fee is $30, and it can take up to eight weeks for the process to complete.
You can track a MoneyGram money order by filling out an online form or contacting customer service. You will be asked for the money order amount and serial number.
Can You Cancel a Money Order?
It’s possible to cancel a money order, although the process varies among providers. USPS, for example, does not allow you to stop payment on money orders but allows for their replacement if lost or stolen. If you don’t have the original receipt, you can submit PS Form 6401, the official money order inquiry form, if you want a copy of a cashed money order. With Western Union, you can cancel a money order if it hasn’t been cashed.
What To Do if the Lost Money Order Was Cashed
You have fewer options if the money order was cashed. Most issuers can provide a photocopy of a cashed money order, which can be useful if you need to file a fraud claim. If you can prove your money order was stolen, it will be easier to get your money back.
Taking Preventive Measures
Avoid the hassle of losing a money order by taking preventive measures. Keep your receipt safe, accurately fill out the money order, and consider other secure payment methods if you tend to misplace things. These steps can save you time, money, and stress in the long run.
Losing a money order can be concerning, but there’s no need to panic. By following the steps outlined above, you can mitigate any potential loss.
Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.
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