There are plenty of reasons to buy and cash money orders. But what if you need to get a money order refunded? Is this even possible? What are the refund policies for the major money order issuers, and how do they differ from each other?

In this article, we’ve compiled all the key information to help guide you through the refund process for a money order that was purchased from USPS, MoneyGram, Western Union, or any bank or credit union.

In This Article:

  • Can You Refund a Money Order?

  • Why You Should Consider Getting a Refund on a Money Order

  • How to Refund a Money Order

  • Cost of Getting a Money Order Refunded

  • Time It Takes to Refund a Money Order

  • Information Necessary in Order to Get a Refund

  • How the Refund Process Works for USPS, Western Union, MoneyGram, and Bank/Credit Union-Issued Money Orders


The situation: You’ve purchased a money order but you lost it, it was stolen, damaged beyond repair, wasn’t cashed and is about to expire, or you simply changed your mind and want it refunded. The good news is that it is possible to get your money back, post-purchase. The bad news is that most money orders are reissued, rather than refunded, and the process can be expensive and time-consuming.

Remember that when you request a refund, you are still liable for the original money order made out to someone else, until a stop payment is issued. Therefore, attempting to ensure that the original money order isn’t cashed, while your refund request is being processed, is extremely important.

If you do find yourself in need of a money order refund, relax; we’ve got you covered!

High-level Money Order Refund Process

Are money orders refundable? Yes. First, you will kick off the process by calling, going online, and/or returning to the place where you purchased your money order. Second, having your original receipt will make life a lot easier. While Western Union does issue new money orders without a receipt, the USPS and MoneyGram do not. Bank/credit union rules vary per institution. Third, if you have the original money order itself, and have changed your mind on using it to pay a third party, this can expedite and simplify the process. The more information you can provide, the better, such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Money order serial number
  • Purchase date
  • Dollar amount
  • To whom it was payable
  • The address of the location where the money order was purchased
  • Money for any processing fees

In the remainder of this article, we will specifically outline the money order refund/replacement process for the most common money order establishments:

United States Postal Service (USPS)
Western Union
Banks & Credit Unions

Let’s dive in and help you get that refund!

United States Postal Service (USPS)

Nice to Know

The USPS offers refunds on money orders up to two years from the original date of purchase within the United States, and 90 days internationally. The USPS replaces a defective or destroyed money order “if the customer returns the negotiable portion of the money order and the matching customer receipt.” You can then write your name as the recipient, along with your address, and take the reissued money order to be cashed or deposited (for more information on how to cash a money order, please click here). However, if you’ve purchased a money order on behalf of someone else, and you want a refund, you must first initiate a payment inquiry with the USPS.

Need to Refund a USPS Money Order?

1. Go into your local post office branch.
2. Request and fill out PS Form 6401 Money Order Inquiry Form.
3. Give the form to the clerk for verification.
4. Pay the $5.95 processing fee.
5. Keep your receipt, with inquiry ID, in a safe place.
5. Wait for the USPS to process your payment inquiry (this takes approximately 60 days) and mail you a resolution letter with their findings and further instruction.

Alternatively, you can take matters into your own hands and initiate a search yourself, via the USPS website, to determine if your money order was cashed (this is the more expensive method).

1. Go to the USPS website.
2. Fill out the USPS Money Orders Search – Secure Order Form.
3. Select a type of search: a USPS database search ($10.00) or include a search of your state’s unclaimed funds database (extra $5.00, per state included).
4. Decide if you want the results delivered by email (included) or by USPS First Class Mail (extra $4.00).
5. Provide your credit/debit card information.
6. Submit your search.
7. Wait for the USPS to research your claim.

Next steps will depend on if the money order was cashed by the payee or not, and if it was cashed fraudulently. If the money order was not cashed or was cashed fraudulently, the ultimate outcome will most likely be an issuance of a blank replacement money order for the original amount.


Nice to Know

As mentioned earlier, a receipt is essential to receive a refund from MoneyGram. If you have lost your receipt, you will, unfortunately, not be granted a refund (neither will recipients). MoneyGram will also not refund cash for a money order, but will reissue a new money order (if it has not already been cashed).

Need to Refund a MoneyGram-Issued Money Order?

1. Start the process by visiting MoneyGram online, contacting them by phone (1-800-542-3590), or returning to the originating place of purchase.
2. Receive or print the Money Order Claim Card.
3. Fill out the Money Order Claim Card, following instructions carefully.
4. Make sure you sign the card; MoneyGram will not reissue your money order if you don’t.
5. Keep the top half of the form for your records.
6. Attach a copy of your money order receipt.
7. Include processing fees ($18.00).
8. Return the signed claim card, receipt, and payment to MoneyGram by mail to MoneyGram International (address provided on the form).

A refund may be issued if the money order has not been cashed, the Money Order Claim Card is properly completed and signed by the purchaser, the receipt is attached, and the processing fee submitted. If the money order was already cashed, MoneyGram will send you a photocopy of the cashed money order. Claims are processed within 15 days of receipt (with an additional five days for mailing).

Western Union

Nice to Know

Like most issuers, Western Union refunds purchasers and recipients of money orders for those that are lost, stolen or destroyed. Western Union will refund a money order by issuing a new one. They also process money order refund requests without a receipt. In addition, if the money order is already cashed, they will mail the requestor a photocopy of the cashed money order.

Need to Refund a Western Union-Issued Money Order?

1. Contact Western Union online or by phone (1-800-999-9600).
2. Receive or print the Money Order Customer Request (have receipt) or Money Order Research Request (do not have receipt) form.
3. Fill out the request form.
4. When using the Money Order Customer Request form: if not signed, your refund is not processed. When using the Money Order Research Request form, you must sign the form and have it notarized.
5. Keep a copy for your records.
6. Attach your money order receipt.
7. Include processing fees ($15.00, with receipt or $30.00, without receipt).
8. Return the signed claim card, receipt and payment to Western Union by mail, email ( or fax (1-720-864-0477).

Western Union takes six to eight weeks (longer end of the spectrum is for those without a receipt) to process requests.

Banks & Credit Unions

Nice to Know

If you purchase a money order from a bank or credit union, ask about their refund policies before you buy; many have differing policies, and not all sell money orders. Money orders purchased from banks or credit unions are very similar to checks in that if they are lost or stolen, action can be taken to prevent any loss of funds.

Need to Refund a Bank-or-Credit-Union-Issued Money Order?

1. Go to the bank or credit union where the money order was purchased.
2. Bring your receipt (which will contain the money order number, amount, date, and payee information).
3. If the money order was made out to someone else, the bank or credit union representative will first check to ensure that it was not already cashed.
4. If the money order was not cashed, the bank or credit union representative can initiate stop payment procedures, which includes assisting you in filling out a stop payment form (stop payment usually takes at least 24 hours to complete).
5. Following successful stop payment, you’ll be able to obtain a replacement money order on the following business day, and then cash it or deposit it into your account to recover the funds.
6. If you have made the money order out to someone else and have changed your mind about sending it, turn the money order over and write on the endorsement line: “Not used for purpose intended”, followed by your signature.
7. With government-issued ID, you’ll then be able to deposit the funds into your account.

Please keep in mind that the processes for applying for a refund or reissuance from banks or credit unions can vary according to the financial institution. Again, it is wise to inquire with your specific branch before you purchase a money order.

In Summary

Please keep in mind that the processes for attempting to secure a refund or reissuance on a money order can change quickly and without notice. Being proactive and checking with the US Postal Service, Western Union, MoneyGram, and the local branch of your bank or credit union for their latest policies on money order refunds, before you purchase, can save you time and money, and reduce stress. Knowledge is power!