Have you ever sent a friend or loved one a money order, only for it to get lost or stolen somewhere along the way? Did you frantically search “how to cancel a money order” and wonder if your cash was gone for good?
Chances are, you didn’t do anything wrong. But unfortunately, this sometimes happens, which is why there’s an entire system in place to help senders track and cancel their money orders.
If you recently sent a money order and now want to cancel it, or if you are planning to and want to prepare for the worst, this guide covers everything you need to know. We will review what a money order is, how it works, how to cancel one, and some alternative payment methods.
What Is a Money Order?
Like a check, a money order is a paper form of payment. This system was first established in Great Britain and was later introduced in large American cities by the U.S. Postal Service in 1864. It allowed people to pay bills, buy items from catalogs, and help loved ones in need of quick money.
The difference between a personal check and a money order is that the latter is a guaranteed form of payment. When the recipient receives a money order and tries to cash it, it can’t bounce because the sender has already paid for it upfront.
Money orders are ideal for some because they can be paid for in cash and thus don’t require a bank account. They also don’t include the same fees associated with wire transfers. However, they don’t come without a cost.
Money order requirements vary by the financial institution, but in most cases, you will need:
- Payment amount
- Recipient’s name and address
- Sender’s name and address
- Purpose of payment
- Form of payment (such as debit card, cash, or check)
Here Is How to Cancel a Money Order
If you’re currently in a situation where you need to cancel a money order you’ve already placed, don’t panic. There are systems to ensure you don’t lose the money you sent. There will likely be a fee to cancel and process a replacement, but this is often the preferred choice compared to losing the balance entirely.
There are several places you can get a money order, so your first step will be to contact or visit the issuing vendor. For some, that may be the USPS or a financial institution like Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, or other banks.
For others, that location may be a payday loan store or a retailer, such as a grocery store or a pharmacy.
As long as the money order hasn’t been cashed, you will likely be able to cancel it for a fee.
Here are the steps to take to ensure the smoothest possible cancellation process.
- Step one — Contact the issuer. For example, if it was a postal service, visit the post office and fill out a cancellation request form. The goal is to stop payment. In some cases, you can email, fax, or mail your request. This option is also possible when Western Union is the issuer.
- Step two — Be prepared with all relevant details. When did you purchase the money order, at what location, and for what dollar amount? You may also need to include the recipient’s name, address, and a brief description of the lost money order, including how you paid for it.
- Step three — If you have the receipt, attach it to the form. This will provide a more concrete source of information, making it easier to confirm the status of your money order.
- Step four — Submit a request to cancel the money order and pay the fee.
What Are the Fees to Cancel a Money Order?
The cancellation fee will depend on the issuer.
If you sent the money order with the U.S. Postal Service, the cancellation/replacement fee is $6.25 when sending domestically and $9 when sending internationally, at the time of this writing.
For vendors like MoneyGram, the cancellation fee is $18 at the time of this article. At Western Union, it is $15. However, if you don’t have your receipt, this fee increases to $30, and the processing time increases to approximately 6-8 weeks. At this point, you can decide whether you want to send a new money order or get a refund.
What if the Money Order Has Been Cashed?
Unfortunately, there are cases where money orders are cashed fraudulently. In this case, you may not be able to get your money back. However, you can take steps to get law enforcement involved by filing a police report.
Related: Common Money Transfer Scams in 2022
More on Digital Money Transfer Apps
If you regularly send money to loved ones back home, you’re no longer limited to money orders as your form of payment, even if you don’t have a traditional bank account. Depending on the country, you can choose cash pick up, bank deposit, mobile money, or home delivery.
Remitly makes international money transfers faster, easier, more transparent, and more affordable. Our reliable and easy-to-use mobile app is trusted by over 5 million people worldwide. Visit the homepage or download our app to learn more.