How do I Trace a Money Order?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Images By: Dvortygirl, Pavel Losevsky
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2019
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It is not necessary difficult to trace a money order, though the exact method is slightly different depending on where you purchased it. In the US, for example, if you purchased your money order from the United States Postal Service (USPS) then you will need to go to a Post Office, fill out a Form 6401 and pay a processing fee to trace or track the money order. For Moneygram™ and Western Union™, the process is fairly similar and you will need to fill out an appropriate form and pay a fee. In any situation, this process will typically only trace a money order to see if it has been cashed, and may not directly refund you the value of the money order.

A money order is a form of exchangeable currency that is fairly similar to a check, though it is purchased from a source that guarantees the money rather than through a bank account. Once purchased, the money order is usually filled out like a check and can then be given to someone else for deposit. Should a money order become lost or the receiving party claims it was never received or cashed, it may be necessary to trace a money order to determine its fate. No matter where you purchased your money order, you should always keep your receipt and your copy of, or stub from, the money order.


Money orders can come from a number of different businesses and agencies, and where it came from will usually dictate what you need to do to trace it. The USPS provides money orders for a fairly low cost, and to trace a money order purchased through it, you will need to go to a Post Office. You can fill out a Form 6401, pay a small fee, and it will trace the money order for you. This can take several weeks and you will usually receive an indication of whether the money order has been cashed and a photocopy of the front and back of the cashed money order.

If you wish to trace a money order through Moneygram™ or Western Union™, then you will need to follow the process established by each company. To trace a money order through Moneygram™, you will need to fill out a “Money Order Claim Card” form and attach a copy of your receipt or stub to the form. You will also need to pay a fee for the trace and the process can take between 30 and 65 days; if the money order has not been cashed, then the amount will be refunded to you. If it has been cashed, however, you will receive a photocopy of the cashed money order.

To trace a money order through Western Union™, you will need to fill out a “Money Order Affidavit” and pay a fee. You will also need to have the form notarized before submitting it. Once the form is submitted, it can take up to four weeks to process and you will receive a refund or photocopy of the money order, depending on whether or not it has been cashed.


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