You may be able to get a refund if you purchase a money order and then change your mind about who you are giving to or how much you are giving them. Even if you already sent the money order, or it is lost or stolen, it may still possible to get a refund, so long as the money order has not already been cashed.
If you find yourself in a situation where you want to cancel or refund the money order, it’s important to act quickly. Note that every money order issuer has their own refund and replacement procedures you’ll need to follow and you’ll likely incur service fees.
How to Cancel Your Money Order
Take immediate action if your money order is lost or stolen, or if your plans change and you no longer want the money order to be cashed. Fortunately, all the information you need to cancel the money order and get a refund is on the receipt, so the process should be fairly simple.
- Go back to the location where you originally purchased the money order. If the issuer is a bank or credit union, you can work with an affiliated branch. You can also go to your local post office to deal with USPS money orders.
Some issuers, such as Western Union, allow you to fax or mail the money order cancellation form. Still, submitting the form in-person is the best way to ensure you meet the requirements and the form is processed with no delays.
- If you no longer have the receipt, return to the company where the money order was purchased, or any affiliated branch, and inform them you need a cancellation and refund. They may be able to trace the money order based on your ID or payment information.
- Show legal identification and submit a cancellation form. You should be able to choose whether you want a replacement money order or a refund. If the issuer will only give you a replacement, you can make it out to yourself as a way of getting a refund.
- Pay any associated fees. Many money order providers will charge you a fee to cancel and refund a money order. The company may also elect to charge a higher fee if you do not have a receipt of purchase.
What If the Money Order Is Cashed?
Typically, once a money order has been cashed, the issuer will not replace or refund the purchase value.
You might have recourse if the money order was stolen or illegally cashed. Ask for a photocopy of the signed money order so you can identify who endorsed the money order, and when it was cashed.
If a criminal theft or fraud occurred, provide a copy of the document to law enforcement to investigate the theft. The photocopy may help you get your money back, especially if the bank that cashed the money order did not properly verify the identity of the person cashing it.
How Long Does It Take to Process a Refund?
When you submit a request to cancel or replace a money order, the issuer will verify if it has already been cashed. If the money order has not yet been paid, you’ll receive a refund or a replacement money order.
The process usually takes between 30 to 60 days. The time frame for resolution varies depending on the circumstances of the situation.
The Bottom Line
The best practice for using a money order is to fill out the form carefully and give it directly to the recipient or send it via certified mail. If the money order is lost or stolen, you should be able to get a refund so long as it has not already been cashed.
Alternatively, a checking account with a bank or credit union may be a better option than issuing money orders as you can send money without fees, with the exception of any monthly checking fees. It’s also much easier to cancel checks, although fees still apply.