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Let’s say you bought or received a money order, and now you lost it. That doesn’t necessarily mean the money is completely gone. You may still be able to cancel the money order or get a refund.
How to Cancel a Money Order
If the money order has not been cashed, you have the option to cancel it. First, you’ll need to contact the issuer of the money order. You can start the cancellation request process by providing as much information as possible about the amount of the lost money order as well as the location and date of purchase.
The issuer may also ask for information about the name of the recipient. All of this information is usually on the receipt the issuer provides when you initially purchase the money order. If you still have the receipt, it is helpful in filling out the cancellation request, and you should attach a copy to your cancellation request form.
Once you fill out the request form, you’ll typically return that to the issuer along with a cancellation fee. The amount of the cancellation fee depends on the issuer’s policies. Cancellation fees are only $5.95 with the USPS, but they are $18 at Wal-Mart. Western Union has two different cancellation fees. They charge a fee of $15 if you have your receipt, but it costs $30 to cancel a money order if you don’t still have the receipt.
Refunding or Reissuing a Money Order
After the issuer receives the cancellation request and fee, it can take anywhere from 1-2 months for them to investigate and process the cancellation. You can choose to either have a new money order reissued or to receive a refund.
Usually, people purchase money orders because they need to make a payment for a product or transfer money to someone immediately. Reissuing a money order is not much help in these situations because you’ll need to send that payment sooner than the time it takes to cancel and reissue the money order.
All of this assumes that the money order has not been cashed. If the issuer finds that the money order has been cashed, they are not going to provide a reissuance or refund.
When the Lost Money Order Was Cashed
If the issuer finds that the lost money order was already cashed, they will let you know they cannot issue your refund or provide a new money order. What they can do, however, is provide a copy of the cashed money order. They can provide information about the location and identity of the person who cashed the money order. This is information you will need if you decide to pursue action against the person who stole and fraudulently cashed your lost money order.
At this point, the only way to get your money back is to take all of this information to law enforcement authorities.
Best Practices When Using Money Orders
Here are some things you should keep in mind when using money orders:
- Always keep your receipt from the issuer when you purchase a money order. It will definitely help you get your money back quicker and easier if you happen to lose the money order.
- Don’t leave the “recipient” field blank when you purchase a money order. This makes it much easier for the wrong person to fraudulently cash the money order in the event of theft or loss.
- If you receive a money order from someone, try to cash or deposit it as soon as possible. Even though you can probably regain the cash if you lose the money order, the process of canceling and reissuing takes a significant amount of effort and time.
Author: Jeff Gitlen