Money orders are a wise payment method to use, especially when you don’t have a checking account or access to checks. They provide a traceable method of payment that allows you to prove that payments were made. In addition, if a money order is lost, you may be able to get a replacement without having to purchase it again. However, in order to trace a money order, you’ll need to keep the receipt that was attached to the money order before you sent it.
Contact Customer Service
Call the issuer of the money order. A customer service number should be provided on the receipt or money order stub. If you do not see a customer service number printed on the stub, go to the company’s website and use the “contact us” tab to locate the phone number. Examples of money order issuers include Western Union, Money Gram and the U.S. Postal Service. An issuer is not the store or location where the money order is purchased.
Make Your Request
Inform the issuer's customer service representative that you wish to trace the money order. You'll need to give the receiver of the call the barcode serial number that is printed on the purchase stub.
Learn the Money Order's Status
While the representative can’t tell you where the money order is, he or she can tell you whether the money order has been cashed or whether it is still outstanding. If the person you sent the money order claims it has not been received and the money order is still outstanding, you may be able to receive a replacement from the issuer. If the money order has been cashed and the person who cashed it is not the intended recipient, you may be able to file a theft case and receive a replacement.
File an Official Request
In the event that you lost or never received a serial number after purchasing a money order, you can still take steps to locate the money order. Stop by the branch that issued the paper and ask for a money order research request form. For example, Western Union has such a form and it requires filling out the purchaser's information and information about the money order. You'll also need to attach any supporting documents that you have on hand. It is important to note when going this route that you'll have to pay a fee for the service. Western Union charges a $30 administration fee.
- USPS: Domestic and International Money Orders
- Western Union: Money Orders
- Money Gram: Money Orders
- USPS: Money Order Inquiry
- Western Union: Money Order Research Request
- Money Gram. "How Do I Cancel Money Transfer?" Accessed Feb. 4, 2020.
- Western Union. "How Do I Cancel My Money Transfer and Get a Refund?" Accessed Feb. 4, 2020.
- Western Union. "Western Union Money Orders." Accessed Feb. 4, 2020.
- United States Postal Service. "Money Orders: The Basics." Accessed Feb. 4, 2020.
- MoneyGram. "Money Order Claim Card." Accessed Feb. 4, 2020.
- USPS. "Domestic Money Orders," Accessed Feb. 4, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Anatomy of a Fake Check Scam." Accessed Feb. 4, 2020.
- HelpWithMyBank.gov. "Answers About Forgery and Fraud." Accessed Feb. 4, 2020.
With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.