You can check if a money order was cashed by getting in touch with the issuer online or by phone. Save your receipt when you get a money order so that you have its serial number. If you think a money order was lost or stolen, you usually can have it reissued for a fee.
The issuer of a money order can determine whether a money order was cashed, but you'll need the receipt or serial number to start the process. Make sure to hang on to this receipt if you send someone a money order. If you need a copy of the cashed money order, you might have to pay a fee.
Buying and Cashing Money Orders
A money order is similar to an ordinary check, except that it's prepaid rather than linked to money in a bank account. You can buy a money order from a variety of organizations, including the United States Postal Service, many banks or credit unions, and private companies such as MoneyGram and Western Union, which sell money orders through various merchants. Generally, you must pay cash for a money order, spending the amount you want to send plus a little extra in fees. The cap on money orders is $1,000 domestically and usually $700 internationally.
Make sure to address the money order to whomever you are sending it to right away so that someone can't steal it and write someone else's name on it. Also, hang on to the receipt you get with the money order for your records.
When you receive a money order addressed to you, you can deposit it at a bank by seeing a teller or putting it in an ATM that accepts deposits. You also can use a mobile deposit app. If you want to cash the money order, take it to a bank, check-cashing store or a merchant affiliated with the organization that issued it, including a post office if it's a postal money order.
Checking a Money Order's Status
If you want to know if a money order was cashed, contact the organization that issued it. Provide the serial number on the receipt you were issued. In some cases, you may be able to search online for information about your money order through the issuing organization's website. Otherwise, call by phone.
If you need a copy of the money order to show it was cashed, such as if you need evidence you paid a particular bill or debt, you often can obtain this for a fee.
Lost and Stolen Money Orders
If a money order is lost or stolen, contact the issuer immediately. You often can have it replaced, though you might have to pay a fee and it may take some time for the issuing organization to research. This fee can be greater if you don't have the original money order receipt, and you might need to provide a police report if the money order was stolen.
- USPS: Money Orders
- Western Union: Money Order Locations and Details
- MoneyGram: Money Order Replacement
- MoneyGram: Money Order Information
- Western Union: Money Order Customer Request
- Western Union: Frequently Asked Questions
- United States Postal Service. "Sending Money Orders." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- Western Union. "Do Money Orders Have an Expiration Date?" Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- Western Union. "How Do I Request a Money Order Refund?" Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- United States Postal Service. "Money Orders - The Basics." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- United States Postal Service. "Money Order Inquiry System." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- MoneyGram. "Money Order Information." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- MoneyGram. "Money Order Claim Card." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- Western Union. "All About Money Orders." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- Western Union. "Money Order Research Request." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. "Answers About Forgery and Fraud." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.
Steven Melendez is an independent journalist with a background in technology and business. He has written for a variety of business publications including Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Innovation Leader and Ad Age. He was awarded the Knight Foundation scholarship to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.