When you’ve sent a check to someone and then realize that you don’t want to pay for some reason, you can contact your bank and stop payment on the check. A personal money order works a bit like a mini checking account, but only for that one item. It’s generally possible to stop payment on a money order if it hasn’t already been cashed.
If the Money Order Was Paid
The first thing the merchant who sold you the money order checks is whether the money order has been paid yet. If it has been paid, it’s too late to stop payment. The merchant typically can give you a copy of the front and back of the paid money order, but no money back.
If the Money Order Wasn’t Paid
If the money order was lost, stolen or destroyed or otherwise remains uncashed, it is possible to stop payment on it. Typically you need to contact the merchant where you bought it, either in person or online, fill out a claim form identifying both yourself and the money order, and pay a processing fee. The fee varies by merchant but is commonly around $15. You may be asked to present identification, such as a driver’s license, to complete the process.
You are usually required to present the original purchase receipt with your claim. The merchant processes the claim and refunds the amount of the money order to you. Merchants may process the claim even if you don’t have the original receipt or money order number, but expect it to cost more and take longer.
If Purchased Through a Bank or Credit Union
Each bank or credit union has the latitude to ask for whatever information it deems most appropriate in canceling money orders, so the process can differ from one institution to another. You can stop payment on the money order, but you likely need to fill out and sign a form to do it.
Typically you need to provide information about yourself, such as your name and address, along with details about the money order. You may need to present identification or to have ID on file with the bank. A bank or a credit union may enforce a 90-day waiting period before it refunds your money. It may also charge the same stop-payment fee that it charges for a check, which can be $25 or higher. Once all the requirements are met, the institution refunds the amount of an uncashed money order to you.