How do I Trace a Money Order? Overview & 15+ Facts

A money order is a method of payment that is guaranteed, unless it is lost or stolen. If you have lost a money order that you ordered or received, your money is not necessarily lost. However, you’ll need to put in some effort to locate it.

Continue reading to discover how to locate a lost or stolen money order.

How do I Trace a Money Order?

It is not necessarily difficult to track a money order, albeit the specific procedure varies depending on where it was obtained. If you acquired a money order from the United States Postal Service (USPS) in the United States, for instance, you must visit a post office, complete Form 6401, and pay a processing charge in order to trace or track the money order.

How do I Trace a Money Order?

For MoneygramTM and Western UnionTM, you will need to complete a form and pay a charge in a manner that is quite comparable. Typically, this technique will simply track a money order to see if it has been cashed, and you may not receive the money order’s value back.

Similar to a check, a money order is a kind of exchangeable cash that is obtained from a source that guarantees the funds rather than through a bank account. After being purchased, a money order is typically filled out like a cheque and then presented to another person for deposit.

If a money order is misplaced or if the recipient says they never received or cashed it, it may be important to ascertain its destiny by tracing it. Regardless of where you obtained your money order, you should always save the receipt and a duplicate of the money order or its stub.

Money orders can originate from a variety of businesses and organizations, and the origin of the order will often influence the steps required to track it. You must visit a Post Office in order to trace a USPS money order.

Fill out Form 6401, pay a nominal charge, and the form will track the money order for you. Typically, you will receive an indication of whether the money order has been cashed as well as a photocopy of the front and back of the cashed money order.

If you desire to track a MoneygramTM or Western UnionTM money order, you must follow the procedures outlined by each firm. To track a MoneygramTM money order, you must complete a “Money Order Claim Card” form and provide a copy of the receipt or stub.

How do I Trace a Money Order?

You must also pay a cost for the trace, which can take between 30 and 65 days; if the money order has not been cashed, you will receive a return of the amount. If the money order has been cashed, however, you will receive a photocopy.

To trace a Western UnionTM money order, you must fill out a “Money Order Affidavit” and pay a charge. Additionally, you must get the form notarized prior to submitting it. Depending on whether or not the money order has been cashed, you will either get a refund or a photocopy of the money order four weeks after submitting the form.

How Money Order Tracking Works

Money orders, unlike personal checks, are not directly connected to your personal bank account; they are often purchased with cash (though some places will accept a debit card).

If you pay with cash, your bank transaction history will not reflect the clearing of the money order. You can nevertheless trace money order payments by contacting the money order issuer.

Tracking Money Orders

There are a variety of techniques to track individual money orders.

If lost or stolen, submit a form online and pay a nominal charge to the United States Postal Service (USPS). In addition, you can visit a nearby post office.

MoneyGram: Fill out the online form, phone the MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1-800-926-9400, or visit a local MoneyGram facility.

How do I Trace a Money Order?

Western Union: To pay up to $15 in administrative costs, call 1-800-999-9660 or submit an online form.

Making Your Request

After about 30 days, the issuer provides either a copy of the endorsed money order (indicating who cashed or deposited it and when) or a notice that the money order has not yet been cashed. If the money order has not yet been cashed, you may be able to cancel it and receive a refund. The actual procedure differs across issuers.

Gather Needed Information

When purchasing a money order, a receipt containing the order details should be provided. To trace the transaction, you must supply the money order number and the amount of the order. You can likely check the status of the money order on the service’s website.

Simply enter the serial number and quantity issued. Also required for money orders issued by a U.S. post office is the office number. Take a snapshot or create a duplicate of the money order so that you can trace it if necessary.

Pay Service Fees

If you suspect that a money order has been misplaced or stolen, tracking it may be time-consuming and expensive. To replace a lost or stolen money order, the USPS assesses a $6.95 processing fee.

Other issuers may charge up to $15 or more to investigate and offer refunds for suspected lost or stolen payments (if needed). You may also be required to fill out documents, often in person, and you may not receive a response (let alone a reimbursement) for at least 30 days.

Contact the Recipient

Whenever feasible, contact with the recipient of the money order. Money orders are not always processed promptly, and it may take even longer to deposit the cash after they have been received. It may be simpler to obtain information directly from your payee than to fill out paperwork.

Consider Waiting

It may be prudent to wait at least two weeks after sending a payment before canceling a money order. Most letters reach their destination within a few days, but payments appear to flow more slowly for unknown reasons.

During holidays and weekends, this procedure may take even longer to complete. In addition, your receiver may have been preoccupied or absent when the money came. Consequently, it is prudent to seek answers fast if something appears suspect.

USPS Money Orders

If you utilized a USPS money order, you must fill out a Money Order Inquiry at a post office. Online, you may also check the status of your money order. To complete either form, you must have the original purchase receipt with the money order number, amount, and purchasing post office information.

How do I Trace a Money Order?

USPS costs $6.95 for money order research. The procedure can take between 30 and 60 days, and you will receive a copy of the front and back of the document if the money order has been paid or deposited. This information will allow you to determine where the money finally went.

If you cannot wait that long, there may be unofficial “workarounds” that can assist you determine if the money order has been cashed or deposited. Try the post office enquiry line or the Money Order Status form to see whether the item “does not match.”

However, the information you receive may not be trustworthy since the system was not intended to do the task you are attempting. The only way to know for certain is to submit Form 6401 and wait for a response.

MoneyGram Money Orders

MoneyGram money orders are easy to trace. MoneyGram’s Customer Care Center may be reached at 1-800-926-9400 or through their web form. You must submit your money order number and the precise dollar amount; the system should then indicate whether or not the money order has been cashed. If you do not have the transaction number, you must fill out a form and visit a nearby MoneyGram facility.

If the money order has been cashed and you want a copy of the endorsed money order, or if you need to submit a claim, you can do so by completing out aClaim Card, paying $18, and waiting 15 to 30 days for a written answer.

If you do not have your money order number, you may be required to pay a charge and fill out a new form to obtain the necessary information. You may also be able to seek these services in person in order to ensure a seamless transaction.

Western Union Money Orders

MoneyGram’s and Western Union’s processes are comparable. Before filling out documents and paying fees, contact 1-800-999-9660 to confirm that the money order been cashed.

If you require a copy of a paid money order but do not have the receipt, you can submit the Money Order Research Request form by mail. The administrative cost for the copy is $30. Unless you wish to cancel the money order, do not submit a copy request until the receiver has processed your money order.

Six to eight weeks may pass before receiving a response from Western Union. Depending on the status of your money order, you will either receive a photocopy, a refund, or Western Union will inform you that the money order could not be located.

If you suspect that the money order has been lost, stolen, not used, not received, or destroyed, you may use utilize the Money Order Customer Request form.

Other Money Order Issuers

Many grocery shops, convenience stores, and check cashing establishments issue Western Union or MoneyGram money orders. If your money order was issued by a company not listed here, such as your bank or credit union, there is a strong possibility you may still trace it.

It may be much simpler, particularly if you bank with a small organization. Rather than filling out documents, a simple phone call may be sufficient.

Tracking and Cashing Money Orders You’ve Received

If you receive a payment via money order, your bank handles the mechanics of processing the payment. You can deposit the payment into your bank account exactly like you would deposit a check,or cash the money order.

How do I Trace a Money Order?

If you’re afraid that a money order you got may be fraudulent, contact the money order issuer and share your concerns. It may be feasible to check money on the paymentor at least find out if it’s a recognized phony.

Do not use the monies until you are confident they have cleared. Even if your bank’s policy permits you to utilize the money immediately, the clearing procedure might take several weeks. If you spend the money and it turns out that the money order is fraudulent, the bank will compel you to refund the amount.

When you accept a money order, you should ideally know who you’re working with. However, money orders enable anonymous payments, for better or for worse. If you want assistance investigating illegal activities, you may need to approach police enforcement (and they might not be able to help).

How do you cash a money order?

Numerous locations that accept checks also cash money orders, including banks, credit unions, and supermarkets. You must endorse the money order and provide identification, and there may be a cost.

Can You Cancel a Missing Money Order?

The United States Postal Service does not enable you to stop payment on money orders; you can only replace them if they are lost or stolen. You may cancel a Western Union money order as long as it has not been cashed. To do so, return the item to the store where it was purchased. Or, you can digitally cancel a Western Union money order if the transaction was made online or using the mobile app.

What If the Money Order Was Cashed?

The majority of issuers can give a photocopy of a cashed money order. This will not assist you recover your funds, but it may be useful if you make a fraud claim. If you can establish that you were the victim of fraud, the money order issuer may reimburse your money. MoneyGram only permits the replacement of lost or stolen money orders, not their cancellation.

How much is a money order?

Money order fees vary by provider and order amount, but are normally around $2 every $1,000 transferred. In January 2022, for instance, the USPS charged $1.45 for money orders up to $500 and $1.95 for transactions between $500 and $1,000.

How long is a money order good for?

Money orders normally do not have an expiration date, thus they are technically valid indefinitely; nevertheless, penalties may be assessed if a money order is not paid within a certain time limit.

Can You Cancel a Missing Money Order?

The United States Postal Service does not enable you to stop payment on money orders; you can only replace them if they are lost or stolen. You may cancel a Western Union money order as long as it has not been cashed. To do so, return the item to the store where it was purchased. Or, you can digitally cancel a Western Union money order if the transaction was made online or using the mobile app.

What If the Money Order Was Cashed?

As stated previously, the majority of issuers may offer a photocopy of a cashed money order. This will not assist you recover your funds, but it may be useful if you make a fraud claim.

How do I Trace a Money Order?

If you can establish that you were the victim of fraud, the money order issuer may reimburse your money. MoneyGram only permits the replacement of lost or stolen money orders, not their cancellation.

How to Protect Yourself From Money Order Fraud

Money orders are frequently utilized in bank fraud schemes. There are measures you may do to safeguard your finances. If you have received or purchased a money order.

Complete the money order as quickly as possible. Inscribe the payee’s name and other pertinent information on the money order as soon as possible after purchase.

If you get a money order, instantly deposit or cash it. Less time with you decreases its likelihood of becoming misplaced.

Always hold onto your receipts. Keep it until you are certain the recipient has received money.

Avoid placing cashier’s checks in a dropbox. Deliver it to the payee in person or drop it off at your local post office.

Conclusion

Money order payments are more secure than cash, however money orders might be lost or stolen. Money orders may incur more costs than other payment methods, such as paper checks. Protect your money order as much as possible to minimize the hassle of trying to locate it. Keep in mind that there are digital money transfer options that may be preferable than money orders.

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Pat Moriarty
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