Money orders, also known as money transfers, are a convenient ways of sending funds when you can’t use electronic funds transfer or write a personal check. If a money order is lost for some reason, you can replace it. Plus, you avoid the risk of loss that goes with sending cash. Many businesses prefer money orders because you have to pay for them in advance. From the recipient’s standpoint that means there’s no risk of having a check returned for insufficient funds.
The United States Postal Service and Western Union are the main providers of money orders. You can purchase money orders at any post office. If you select Western Union, you can get a money order at any western Union agent. Agents include many supermarkets, check cashing stores and convenience stores. With USPS you can send money anywhere in the United States and some foreign countries. Western Union money orders may be sent almost anywhere in the world. Both providers have procedures that allow you to track your money order if need be.
When you purchase a money order, you keep a portion of the form as a receipt. The receipt section states the name an address of the party to whom you are sending funds, along with the amount and the date. To track a money order, you must have the receipt. It is proof you bought the money order and a unique serial number used for tracking.
Western Union has an online tacking tool on their website (westernunion.com). All you need to do is enter the serial number. You will be given the status of your money order; that is, whether or not it has been cashed and if so, where it was cashed. The USPS now offers an online tool that provides the same information. For postal money orders, you can get the same information as long as you have the receipt and serial number by calling the post office where you purchased the money order or by going there in person.
Lost, Damaged or Stolen
If a money order is damaged or ends up missing for some reason, you can have it replaced or get a refund as long as it has not been cashed. For postal money orders, go to the post office where you bought the money order and complete Form 6401. You will need a valid photo ID and there is a small fee. For Western Union money orders, get a Customer Service Affidavit from a Western Union agent. Take the form to a notary and sign it in the notary’s presence. Mail the completed and notarized affidavit t the address given on the affidavit form along with the fee.