How To Cancel a Lost Money Order

Dealing with a lost money order? You came to the right place.

A money order is a form of payment that you can use instead of cash, personal checks, or cashier’s checks.

Money orders are super convenient as even those without a savings account or checking account can send and receive them.

They are one of the best methods of payment if you plan on sending money via mail.

They don’t carry any bank account information, so they are better than checks for personal information safety.

They’re also better than sending cash by mail because cash is much easier to steal.

You can’t “cancel cash,” even if you realize it has been stolen – but you can cancel a money order.

Can You Cancel a Money Order?

Yes, you can cancel a money order and get your money back, but you better hope no one cashes it before you have a chance to do so.

Canceling a money order works similarly to how a stop payment for a checking account would work.

If the money order’s money has already been taken, the situation gets more complicated.

If somebody has already cashed your money order and you are looking for a solution to recuperate your money, skip to the next section.

How to Cancel a Lost Money Order

Canceling a money order is a process that requires several steps:

1. Contact the Seller

The first thing to do if you have lost your money order is to contact the issuer. You’ll need to explain what happened and follow their instructions.

Different issuers have different canceling processes, so it’s better to ask first.

For example, if the money order was from USPS, you have to visit a USPS location to file a cancellation request form.

If you purchased your money order from Walmart, it wouldn’t be possible to cancel by visiting a store location. You’ll have to send the request for cancellation online through the MoneyGram website.

Western Union offers three ways of canceling a money order. You can go to a branch location, provided you purchased the money order the same way, or cancel over the phone using the customer service number. For an online purchased money order, use the Western Union mobile app.

2. Fill Out a Cancellation Request Form

After contacting the issuer, you’ll need to fill out a cancellation request form unless otherwise specified by the issuer.

If you can, have the original receipt from when you purchased the money order at hand.

You should also be ready to fill out details like where and when the money order was purchased, the amount you were trying to send and to whom, and its tracking number (if you have it).

If you don’t have the original receipt, it will be harder for you since you’ll need to fill out the form relying on your memory.

As you can imagine, the more information you’ll provide, the easier the cancellation process will be.

3. Pay the Cancellation Fee

While canceling a lost money order is possible – unfortunately, it will cost you. The cancellation processing fee will vary in amount, depending on different issuers’ requirements.

On average, canceling a postal money order will cost you $6.25. To cancel a money order from Walmart, you’ll need $18.

Finally, a money order cancellation from Western Union will cost you $15 (if you have the original receipt) to $30 (without a receipt).

4. Wait Some Time

It’s time to sit back and relax after sending the money order inquiry.

Cancellation requests take some time to process, so wait and hope for the cancellation to be successful.

How Long Does It Take To Cancel a Money Order and Get Money Back?

From the cancellation request date, the cancellation process could take from 20 to 60 days.

If you kept the original receipt, it should take 20 to 30 days maximum.

Without the receipt, the process might take more time as the issuer will take longer to find your money order. As a result, plan for two whole months of waiting.

To sum up, the wait time will depend on how complicated the money order situation is.

The best advice I can give you is to provide as much information about the money order you intend on canceling to the issuer as soon as you can.

Money Order Refund or Replacement?

Most of the time, you’ll have the choice to either get a refund or a replacement money order.

If you choose the latter, the issuer will give you another money order for the same amount you had in the original one.

If you choose to get a refund, the issuer will cancel the money order and give you your money back (minus the mandatory cancellation fee).

As a replacement, you could either receive a paper money order or an online one, depending on how you purchased the original money order and the issuer’s refund policies.

Getting a cash-back refund, even though it usually requires going through the same process, can be a bit more complicated. Sometimes you’ll even have to pay an extra fee. Processing time shouldn’t change by much.

How to Track a Money Order

The first thing to do after understanding you need to cancel a money order that has already been sent is trying to track it.

You can usually track money orders through the issuer of the money order itself.

Each issuer has its different rules and methods for tracking:

  • Walmart (MoneyGram) Money Order. To track MoneyGram money orders from Walmart, you’ll have to use the dedicated section of the MoneyGram website. Be prepared with a serial number and dollar amount.
  • S. postal service (USPS) Money Order. Money orders issued by the United States Postal Service can be tracked online. You’ll need to have the money order’s serial number and dollar amount. You’ll also need to indicate in which USPS postal office you purchased it.
  • Western Union Money Order. Western Union assigns a dedicated tracking number to allow both the sender and the receiver to easily find out the location of their money order at any given moment. You can track the money order online.

Reasons Why You Might Want to Cancel a Money Order

There are several reasons why you may need to cancel a money order, and here are the most common ones:

  1. You changed your mind. You send a money order, and then you change your plans and want to recuperate it after putting it in the mail.
  2. There is a mistake on the money order. Right after mailing the money order, you realize you’ve put one more “0” to the amount you intended to send. Now you need to cancel that money order, and quickly!
  3. Lost money order. You are sure you left our money order on your desk before leaving the office, but the more you think about it, the less certain you are. You have no idea where it is – and if someone finds it, they could cash it.
  4. The money order has been stolen. You left the money order on your desk, and it’s not there anymore – perhaps someone stole it! That’s the worst-case scenario because it’s much harder to get your money back if the money order has already been cashed. That said, you need to try at least to cancel it. You can’t let the thief win.

What To Do If The Money Order Has Already Been Cashed?

You are trying to cancel your money order, but to your (unpleasant) surprise, it has already been cashed! What to do now?

Well, it will be more challenging at this point to get your money back or a replacement money order. The best option you have left is to try to prove that the money order was fraudulently cashed.

You’ll need the original receipt the vendor gave you when you purchased the money order or at least a copy of the money order you want to cancel.

After that, get in contact with law enforcement and report your current situation. Hopefully, they’ll be able to find the culprit, and you’ll be able to claim your money back or a replacement money order. This process most likely won’t be fast or easy.

As a precaution, I’d suggest you always keep a receipt of your money orders and make a copy of them too. It will significantly help you if you ever find yourself in a complicated situation like this one.

Another crucial thing to do is write the name of the “payee” in the appropriate field as soon as possible. Avoid leaving it blank for thieves to find.

Receiving a Money Order

So far, we have mostly talked about what to do to cancel a money order you have sent, so here’s a quick note on how to safely receive it.

Receiving a money order should be a safe process, but there are some things you can do to protect yourself in case someone has not-so-good intentions.

Cash It As Soon As Possible

If you are the receiver and not the sender of the money order, a best practice would be to cash or deposit the money order in your bank account as soon as possible.

That way, you won’t risk someone canceling it, losing it, or for it to get stolen.

Be Mindful of Scams

Be careful because some money orders can be fake, just like counterfeit money exists on the market.

Some payers could offer to pay you with a money order already planning to cancel it afterward and then disappear! That’s why you should be quick at cashing money orders, just in case.

Con artists even create fake money orders that they distribute online to a wide variety of people for online scams. Always be on the lookout for suspicious-looking money orders, both online and offline.

If the payer is paying you in exchange for some merchandise, it’s best to cash the money before sending their order.

That way, they can’t cancel it.

Cash Money Orders From the Issuer

It’s always best to cash orders directly from the issuer.

Banks may let you cash a money order’s total amount, but if they discover the money was ‘bad,’ they could demand a refund from you.

That’s even if it’s not your fault and you have been a victim of fraud.

Cashing the money order with the issuer should solve this potential issue before it arises.


Are money orders safe?

Generally, money orders are a safe method of payment. They also offer some added perks. They can’t bounce like checks because they have already been funded, adding a layer of safety.

Nonetheless, they could get lost, be stolen, or issued by some dishonest vendor who is planning to scam you, so be vigilant.

Always buy money orders from an officially authorized vendor and cash them with the official issuer to avoid any problems.

If problems come up, be sure to have your receipt and tracking number handy so that you can solve them as soon as possible.

Does CVS sell money orders?

Yes, you can find money orders and purchase them at your local CVS, as you would at Walmart, for example.

MoneyGram is the issuer of money orders sent at CVS. If your money order is lost or stolen, you’ll have to file your cancellation requests through MoneyGram’s website.

How can I buy a money order?

You can buy a money order using cash, debit card, or traveler’s checks at most issuers.

Money orders don’t need you to have an FDIC insured bank account, a routing number, go through a credit score check, or anything else to buy them. They are a straightforward way to send or receive money.

Some vendors allow you to pay for money orders also using a credit card, but not all. For example, Western Union accepts credit cards as payment for money orders, while USPS and Walmart don’t.

Do I have to show any documents to buy a money order?

To buy a money order, you’ll only need to fill out a form with your name, address, phone number, and nothing else in most cases.

If the money order is for a large amount of money (e.g., $1,000 or above), you’ll usually need to show a photo ID as well.

Money Order Best Practices

1. Keep your original receipt.

It would be best to always keep money order receipts, at least for a couple of months.

If something happens, such as a lost or stolen money order, you will need it to get your money back or claim a replacement money order.

2. Make a copy/ take a picture.

As soon as you get a money order, you should also make a copy of it to store in a safe place or at least take a picture of it. That way, you’ll have a backup plan in case you lose the original receipt.

You could also write the most important details or the money order, such as tracking number and date/place of purchase, somewhere safe, whatever works best for you. Remember not to leave it somewhere a thief could find it!

3. Write down the name of the payee.

Fill out the “payee” field as soon as you can on the back of the money order to not leave room for someone who isn’t the intended person to cash your money order fraudulently.

4. Cash your money order with the issuer.

If you are getting paid with a money order, on top of cashing it as soon as possible, cash it with the issuer for an additional layer of safety.

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