USPS Money Order Tracking
November 25, 2022
The United States Postal Service has issued money orders since 1864. After purchasing a USPS money order, you may want to trace it until the recipient cashes the certificate. How can you track a USPS money order? Can you check if someone has cashed the payment? How can you spot genuine and counterfeit USPS money orders?
FindPostOffice.org is a one-stop post office lookup site that can help you locate postal service addresses by city, state, or zip code.
This article discusses money order, how money order tracking works, and how to make a money order-tracking request. The write-up also covers the USPS online money order status tool, how to cash a money order at the post office, and how to check if someone cashed money order.
We also cover what to do if someone did not cash the money order, how to replace lost, stolen, and damaged money orders, how to protect yourself from money order fraud, and frequently asked questions (FAQs).
How Money Order Works: Tracking and Cashing Money Orders Received
You may wonder about the mechanics of tracking USPS money orders.
Banks handle the logistics of processing money order payments you receive. You can deposit the money order like a check into your checking account. Another option is to cash the payment for your personal finance needs.
Suppose you are concerned about whether you have received a fraudulent money order. In that case, you can contact the money order issuer and inform them of your concerns. You can verify funds on the payment or learn if it is fake.
Avoid spending the money until verifying that your bank has cleared the funds. The entire process can require a couple of weeks, even if your bank’s “funds availability policy” allows you to use them immediately.
What if you spent the payment’s funds and later discovered the money order was fake? In that case, the bank requires you to repay the money order’s amount.
You will typically know when someone is sending you a money order payment. However, anonymous payments are possible. Law enforcement may need to research possible criminal activity.
Scam artists use fake money orders and cashier’s checks to steal money from victims. In many situations, when a financial institution realizes a money order is fraudulent, the recipient has already spent what they stole.
How Exactly Money Order Tracking Works
Money orders differ from personal checks since no direct link exists with a personal bank account, such as a checking or savings account. Instead of using the accounts of such financial institutions, you use cash to buy the money orders. Sometimes, organizations like the U.S. Postal Service accept debit cards.
The money order will not appear on your bank transaction history if you use cash to buy money orders. Still, you can track money order payments by requesting from the money order issuer.
Here are the basic mechanics for tracking USPS money orders.
Make Your Request
You may wonder whether you can check if someone has cashed a USPS money order you have sent them.
After approximately 30 days, the issuer usually sends a copy of the endorsed money order. The document shows who cashed or deposited it. The issuer may also send a notice that the person has not cashed the money order.
If the recipient has not cashed the certificate, you may be able to cancel it and receive a refund. Keep in mind the exact process differs for various issuers.
Gather Necessary Information
You should get a receipt showing the order details when purchasing a money order. You must provide the money order number and order amount to track the transaction.
You can usually use the USPS website or another service’s site to view the money order’s status.
Additionally, you will need to type the money order’s serial number and issue the amount. You can use the serial number to check the status of a money order.
You will also need an office number if a U.S. post office issued the money order.
Create a copy or take a photo of the money order. Then you will have the information you need to track the money order.
Pay Any Service Fees
Tracking a money order can require more time and money if you think it is lost or stolen. As of August 2022, the USPS charges a $6.95 processing fee to replace stolen or lost money orders.
Other issuers may charge $15 or more to research lost or stolen payments, then issue refunds if necessary. In addition, you may need to complete forms and wait for a response for 30 days or more.
Contact the Intended Recipient
If possible, contact the individual to whom you sent the money order. Sometimes, people and businesses do not immediately process money orders, and it may even take longer to deposit the funds once received.
You should consider waiting two weeks or more after sending a money order before canceling the payment. Payments sometimes move slower than regular mail. Other factors that may cause delays include:
- Weekends and holidays
- Recipient being busy or out of town
Still, you should seek quick answers if any issues do not seem right.
USPS Launches Online Money Order Status Tool
The USPS’s status tool is one way to trace a money order online.
U.S. Postal Service customers can check their money orders’ status using a new interface at USPS.com. This feature lets customers view near real-time money order statuses for certificates they bought at post offices. They can also view if someone has cashed an order.
In addition, customers can use the feature to check a money order inquiry’s status.
USPS reported that the new tool is part of its goal of improving fraud prevention and customers’ overall experience.
To use the status tool, customers need the following:
- Money order serial number
- Identification number of the post office issuing the order
- Issued amount
The USPS has printed all this information on the money order receipt.
Customers must submit a money order inquiry form (Postal Service form 6401) at a post office to report a lost or stolen payment.
Employees should contact the postal inspection service regarding possible fraud and the money order verification system about possible fake money orders.
How to Check if Someone Cashed a U.S. Postal Money Order
You can use various methods to learn if someone cashed the money order you sent them. For instance, you can check the USPS money order status through methods including:
- In-person verification
- By phone
- By mail
- By email
Make an In-Person Inquiry
You should visit a local U.S. post office and request the PS form 6401, money order inquiry.
This form requires information including your:
- Contact details
- Money order serial number and amount
Next, submit the completed form and the processing fee to the postal staff. Another option is to mail the form to the address printed on it.
The USPS would email a money order refund to you if someone didn’t cash the certificate. On the other hand, if someone cashed it, USPS will send you a copy of the item.
Processing Time After Filling Out PS Form 6401
After completing and submitting the form, the processing can take up to 60 days.
Use the USPS Online Verification System
Here are the steps:
- Visit USPS’s money order inquiry system.
- Select “6401 inquiry.”
- Enter the money order’s serial number.
- Click the “go” button.
The money order’s status will appear on the next screen.
Use the USPS Phone Inquiry System
Call USPS at 1-866-974-2733 to inquire about the payment status. Indicate that you are a “customer.” Then state that you are making a “money order inquiry.”
Use the phone keypad to enter the money order’s number. USPS prints the serial number on the purchase receipt.
You can also call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at (877) 876-2455 to obtain the money order receipt. If you suspect that you have potentially received a fake money order, contact the money order verification system at (866) 459-7822.
Send an Email Request
You can send an email request about your payment:
- Select “support link.”
- Click “contact us” then “send an email.”
Before sending the email, verify that you have included your name, phone number, address, money order serial number, and amount. Request the payment status of the money order.
After the postal staff has implemented your research request, they will ask for a follow-up email.
Actions to Take if Someone Cashed the Money Order
Most money order issuers can provide a photocopy of the payment if someone has cashed it. This factor will not help you get your money refunded. However, the good news is it can help if you are filing a fraud claim.
If you prove that you were indeed the victim of fraud, the money order issuer may refund your money. Note that MoneyGram only allows people to replace lost or stolen money orders.
How to Replace Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Money Orders
Lost or Stolen Money Orders
In 2021, American consumers reported over $5.8 billion in fraud, a 70% surge from the previous year.
You cannot stop payment on postal money orders. That said, USPS can replace a lost or stolen money order if you request the company to do the following.
- Confirm the loss or theft of money orders, which can require up to 30 days.
- Investigate the lost or stolen status of money orders, which can take up to 60 days.
You must pay a processing fee to replace a lost or stolen money order.
Requesting a Refund
To get your money order back, here are the basic steps to take:
Step 1: Take the money order receipt to a post office location
Step 2: Talk to a counter associate to begin a money order inquiry
Step 3: After starting the inquiry, you can visit the money order’s application to check the status of your money order and inquiry process.
Step 4: USPS will issue you a replacement money order after it confirms your money order as lost or stolen.
Damaged Money Orders
USPS will replace money orders that are damaged or defective. You must take the money order and your receipt to a local post office location for USPs to provide a replacement.
Cashing Money Orders at the Post Office: How to Cash a Money Order
Many locations that cash checks also cash money orders. Examples include:
- Credit unions
- Grocery stores
You must endorse or sign the money order and show a valid ID. You also may need to pay a fee.
At FindPostOffice.org, you can conveniently browse U.S. post offices to find a location for cashing USPS money orders.
Protecting Yourself From Money Order Fraud
Unfortunately, people often use money orders as part of bank scams. You can take practical steps to help safeguard your money if you have bought or received a money order, including:
- USPS money orders
- Western Union money orders
- Walmart money orders
Here are the basic steps:
Step 1: Complete the money order as soon as possible. Shortly after you purchase the money order, write the payee’s name and other key information on the certificate.
Step 2: Deposit or cash a money order soon after receiving it. The less time you have it, the less likely you will lose it. In other words, you cannot lose something you do not have.
Step 3: Keep your receipt. Hold onto the receipt until you have verified the payee received the payment.
Step 4: Avoid depositing money in drop boxes. Better options include dropping it off at a local post office or hand-delivering it to the payee.
Six Key Benefits of Using Money Orders
Here are some primary benefits of money orders over other payment options:
1. Amount of Personal Information Provided
Money orders have less personal information than other payment options. So it does not include your bank account number and bank’s routing number.
2. The Recipient Can Conveniently Cash the Order
You will not need to go to the money order’s issuer to cash it. You can cash USPS money orders at any post office, most banks, and select stores.
3. More Envelope-Friendly Than Coins
Many coins can damage small envelopes.
4. No-Fee Bank Account Depositing
Another significant benefit of money orders is you will not have to pay a fee when depositing them into your bank account.
Some experts estimate that Gen Z and millennials are paying three times higher in monthly checking account fees than older generations.
5. Less Prone to Theft Than Cash
Mailing cash is more vulnerable to theft.
6. People Can Cash Money Orders Abroad
You can send money globally through USPS international money orders and Sure Money wire transfers. However, you must select among countries with which USPS has agreements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How can I check If a postal money order is valid?
Before you accept a USPS money order, verify that it is real. You can take several practical steps to verify a good USPS money order and spot a counterfeit certificate:
Step 1: Examine the paper. Hold the money order certificate up to the light to see:
- A watermark of Ben Franklin on the paper’s left side
- A watermark to the right of the Franklin watermark. It is a vertical and multicolored thread with the letters USPS.
Step 2: Check the dollar amount. A discolored dollar amount can signify fraud.
Step 3: Verify if the money order’s dollar amount has two imprints.
Step 4: Check if the money order’s amount is too high. The maximum amount for domestic money orders is $1,000. The maximum for international money orders is $700. For El Salvador and Guyana, the maximum is $500.
2. How much does a money order generally cost?
Money order fees vary based on the company and the order size. In January 2022, USPS charged:
- $1.45 for money orders up to $500
- $1.95 for money orders between $500 and $1,000
3. Can I cancel a missing money order?
USPS does not allow you to stop payments on money orders. Still, you can request a replacement for lost or stolen money orders.
4. What are the payment options for USPS money orders?
You can pay with cash, debit cards, and traveler’s checks. However, you cannot utilize a credit card to purchase a USPS money order.
Visit FindPostOffice.org today and browse thousands of post offices by city, state, or zip code to find the nearest location for buying and cashing USPS money orders.
1. Money orders