Friday, October 14, 2016

How To Cancel A Money Order

The only constant in life is change. So what happens if your plans change after you’ve bought (and possibly mailed) a money order? What if it’s gone missing or even been stolen?

With most issuers, you’ll either fill out a form or take the money order back to the place you bought it to get it cancelled. Bring identification and any information you have about the money order (ideally you have a receipt), and do some paperwork to start the process.

If successful, your funds will be returned in about 60 days.

The sooner you act, the better: if the money order gets cashed or deposited (find out if that's happened), you’ll have a much harder time getting your money back. Read on for more details about the process.

How to Cancel

You’ll need to fill out a form to have a money order cancelled. You can often do this in person, but you can also mail a form in (with Western Union you can submit the form by fax or email – which is a good idea as it will get processed sooner). Submitting your request in person is safest: it’s the only way to ensure that you completely satisfy the requirements, and you don’t have to wait for the form to move through the mail.

You don’t necessarily have to go to the exact same location you bought the money order from, although at times that might be helpful. Generally you can visit any post office that deals with USPS money orders, and you can use different branches of the same bank or credit union.

Links to popular Customer Service sites:

USPS replacement instructions
Western Union money order service
MoneyGram service forms
Original Documents
It’s best to provide your receipt when cancelling a money order, as it contains important information (like the money order number and other details). If you don’t have the receipt, gather as much information as you have (a photo of the document is helpful).

Without a receipt, the issuer might still be able to find your money order, but they’ll charge additional fees – and there’s always a chance that they won’t find your money order without a receipt.

If you have the original money order itself, that’s helpful as well. Returning the document to the issuer helps ensure that it won’t be cashed, and can speed your refund.

How Long?

Once you submit your cancellation request, the money order issuer will research the item and confirm that it has not been paid. If it is still outstanding, you’ll get a refund or replacement (less any fees).

Plan for the process to take 30-60 days, but the timeframe can vary depending on how complex the situation is. Yes, that is a long time to wait. If approved, some issuers offer refunds, while others provide a replacement money order (which you can make payable to yourself).

If the money order was cashed or deposited, you’ll generally get a photocopy of the document so you can see who endorsed the money order, and when.

If theft or fraud was involved, this can help you and law enforcement track down thieves, and it may help you get your money back (especially if the bank that paid out funds did not properly verify the identity of whoever cashed the money order).

Canceling a money order (or finding out that it’s too late) costs money. USPS money orders, at $6.10, have the lowest fees. Western Union and MoneyGram charge $15 (or more, if you don’t have your receipt). It’s best to submit payment along with your cancellation request – in some cases the fee can be deducted from your refund, but it also slows things down if the money order was cashed (because there’s nowhere to pull the funds from).

Money Orders you Received

If you’ve been paid by money order, you might wonder if it’s a completely safe form of payment, or if your buyer can cancel the payment. To be safe, cash or deposit the money order as quickly as possible – this reduces the chances of cancellation.

Keep in mind that some money orders are fake, and they’re commonly used for online scams. You can try to verify the item by calling the issuer before you send merchandise, but the absolute safest approach is to convert it to cash (note that your bank might allow you to cash a money order for 100% of its value, but later come after you for the funds if the money order is bad).


If you need to cancel a money order, it’s best to go directly to whoever issued it. However, if you’re trying to get an idea of what’s involved ahead of time, you’ll need (among other things) the following documents:

For Western Union, a Money Order Customer Request form
For MoneyGram, a Money Order Claim Card
For USPS money orders, form PS 6401 (Money Order Inquiry)
Again, for up-to-date forms, and the fastest service, contact your money order issuer immediately.


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