Money orders are an ideal way to send money through the mail, but they can be difficult to trace. Most banks will not trace a money order for you and others will charge you a fee to find out if the money order has been cashed. Specialized money order services often offer tracking services for free or for a nominal fee. These services also can trace money orders online, so you do not have to visit a retailer. Sending a money order internationally is not different than sending one domestically, except that it will take longer to reach its destination.
Keep your receipts. Whenever you purchase a money order, especially one being sent internationally, keep all of your receipts related to the money order purchase. If possible track the envelope in which you are sending the money order, so that the recipient has to sign for it, providing you with additional information.
Check the website of the company through which you purchased the money order. Some, such as Western Union, have the forms required for tracing the money order available online.
Bring your receipts to the post office, if you purchased your money order there, and ask if they can trace the money order for you and find out if it's been cashed. In some cases, the computer can tell you if the money order was cashed, although they can't tell you who cashed it. You may have to submit Form 6401 and pay a fee, $5.20 at the time of publication, to locate the money order.
Bring your receipt and the money order number to the store from which you purchased it and ask if you they can trace it for you. Some stores, such as Walmart, may be able to do this for you.
- University of Tennessee: Money Orders
- Western Union: Money Order
- MoneyGram: FAQs
- 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.
Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.