If someone has a money order waiting for you, you probably won’t wait around to pick it up and cash it. But time has a way of slipping by us, and before you know it, that money order you’ve been meaning to cash has been sitting around for months — or longer!

What are your options if you have an old money order that you never got around to picking up? Can you still cash it? In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about money order time limits, including how long you have to cash them and what to do if you have one that’s already expired.

In This Article

What is the Time Limit to Pick up a Money Order?

After you’ve had a money order for a certain amount of time and you haven’t picked it up, it may become invalid. 

Once a money order is invalid, you won’t be able to cash it. You can, however, request a refund.

MoneyGram

According to a MoneyGram customer service representative, MoneyGram money orders are only considered valid for one year from the date of purchase. This means that if you don’t cash a MoneyGram money order within one year of the purchase date, it is considered invalid for the full amount. Once a money order is considered invalid, a monthly service charge will be deducted from the face value of the money order.

The amount of the service charge is usually around $1.50 per month, but it varies based on the state where the money order was purchased. If you want to cash your MoneyGram money order once it’s invalid, it will be worth less money and you’ll have to request a refund — which we’ll tell you how to do in the next section.

Learn more about MoneyGram money orders through our article, Where Can I Cash a MoneyGram?

United States Postal Service (USPS)

If you have an old USPS money order that you haven’t gotten around to picking up, fear not! USPS domestic money orders do not have a time limit. You can therefore always cash a USPS money order, regardless of its issue date.

Learn more about USPS money orders through our article, Where Can I Cash a Postal Money Order?

Western Union

Similarly to MoneyGram money orders, Western Union money orders are only valid for a certain period of time.

According to the Western Union website, if you don’t use a money order within one to three years of the purchase date, fees may be assessed to the money order. Just like with a MoneyGram money order, monthly service charge amounts vary by state. The service charge conditions are printed on the reverse side of the money order. If you want to cash your MoneyGram money order once it’s invalid, it will be worth less money and you’ll have to request a refund — which we’ll tell you how to do in the next section.

Learn more about Western Union money orders through our article, Western Union Near Me? Banks + Stores with Western Unions Listed…

What Happens When a Money Order’s Time Limit Expires?

If you have a money order that is at least a year old, it may be considered invalid. Once a money order is invalid, you may not be able to cash it. However, not all of your money is lost — you can request a refund and get back most of your money order’s value, minus some fees. Here are the steps to request a refund on an old money order from MoneyGram and Western Union.

MoneyGram

Whether you bought the MoneyGram money order or were given the money order by someone else, you MUST have the receipt in order to request a money order refund.Note that money order refunds are not guaranteed.

1.     If you bought the money order:

2.     If you were given the money order:

  • Call MoneyGram customer service at (800) 666-3947.
  • Provide the customer service representative with the money order number.
  • Tell the representative you have an old money order and would like a Payee Statement Form (which is only available via email after speaking with a MoneyGram representative). The representative should be able to look up your money order and let you know the amount in fees that will be deducted from the face value.
  • Complete and send in the form with any requested documentation and an $18 processing fee.
  • Allow 15-20 days for processing.

Western Union

For Western Union money orders, you need to request a Money Order Refund. The process depends on whether you are bought the money order or were given it by someone else.

1.     If you bought the money order and still have the original money order or receipt:

  • Complete and sign the money order tracing-refund request on the back of the money order receipt or submit the Money Order Customer Request Form.
  • Submit your form via mail, fax, or email.
  • Include a $15 non-refundable processing fee.
  • Allow 30 days for processing.

2.    If you bought the money order and don’t have the original money order or receipt:

  • Print and complete the Money Order Research Request Form and have it notarized.
  • Once notarized, submit the form with any other documents you have showing yourself as the purchaser
  • Include a $30 non-refundable processing fee.
  • Submit everything to the address on the form, via fax, or via email.
  • If the money order was stolen, include a copy of the police report.
  • Allow 6-8 weeks for processing.
  • Note that Western Union may determine you are not eligible for a refund.

3.    If you were given the money order and are an individual:

  • Complete and sign page one of the affidavit form and have it notarized.
  • Include a $15 non-refundable processing fee.
  • Include proof of purchase which includes the original money order, the original money order receipt, or a clear copy of either one.
  • Allow 30 days for processing.

4.    If you were given the money order and are a company:

  • Complete and sign pages one and two of the affidavit form and have it notarized.
  • Include a $15 non-refundable processing fee.
  • Include proof of purchase which includes the original money order, the original money order receipt, or a clear copy of either one.
  • Allow 30 days for processing.

In Summary

If you’ve forgotten to pick up a money order, not all is lost. A USPS money order never expires, so you can pick up your money order and cash it any time, regardless of the issue date. MoneyGram and Western Union money orders have time limits, but you can still request a refund after its expiration date.