Lost Money Order: How to Cancel a Money Order or Get a Refund

Nicolas Cesare  | 

If someone has paid you using a money order or vice versa, then one of your worst fears may be losing that money order before it’s paid or ready to be cashed. In the case of a lost money order, there are things that can be done to help ensure that it isn’t used by the wrong person. As long as you act quickly and decisively, you can cancel the lost money order and receive a new one to replace the missing document.

What Happens When You Lose a Money Order?

If you’ve lost a money order, then your greatest concern is probably that someone with unscrupulous morals will end up finding it. Since money orders can be made out for amounts as high as $1,000, you don’t want a money order that’s in your name to go missing or to be used by the wrong person.

In principle, a money order can only be used by the person to whom it’s made out. When someone cashes a money order, the teller or cashier at the location should ask them for proof of identity to confirm that they are the intended recipient. Unfortunately, mistakes can happen, and an identity thief could potentially pose as the true recipient, taking the money for themselves.

Whether you’ve lost a money order made out to you, or paid for by you, the first thing that you should is contact the institution where the money order was written up, whether that’s a money transfer store, a bank, or some other location that produces money orders. Alert them of the loss and try to ascertain whether or not the money order has been cashed already.

Can You Cancel a Money Order?

If the money order has been lost, but not yet cashed, you’re in luck — you have the option to cancel that money order before it is. If you are the person who filled out the money order in the first place, then you can contact the originating institution to cancel the order. It’s very helpful to have the receipt for the money order when you start the cancellation process — this is why it’s important to keep the receipt when  you get a money order in the first place.

You can expect the cancellation process to follow these steps:

  • Contact the originating institution. They’re the ones who can cancel the money order, no matter where you or the payee were planning on bringing the money order to in order to cash it.
  • Fill out a cancellation form. You’ll be asked to provide details about the money order, including purchasing date, tracking number, the payee’s information, and the location where it was purchased.
  • Attach your receipt. If you have it, your receipt should have all of the relevant information necessary for the issuing agency to cancel the money order. Keep a copy for yourself as well.
  • Pay a cancellation fee if required. Some money order issuers will ask you to pay a cancellation or replacement fee. You’ll also be forfeiting any fees that you paid when you first got the money order.

If you have lost a money order that was made out to you, then you should contact the person who paid you with the money order and work through the cancellation process together.

Money Order Refund

If a lost money order has not yet been cashed, then you should cancel or replace it as soon as possible. However, if it has been cashed, then it’s not possible to get a refund for your money order.

You can and should, however, work with law enforcement to track down the thief, as identity theft is a serious crime. The person who deceitfully cashed the money order should have shown ID at the location where they cashed it. If you report a stolen money order, make sure to tell law enforcement where the money order was cashed.


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Nick Cesare is a writer from Boise, ID. In his free time he enjoys rock climbing and making avocado toast.

This post was updated March 21, 2019. It was originally published March 22, 2019.