Money orders are valid forms of payment of a bill or debt. When it doesn’t arrive at its destination, tracking or tracing a money order could be important. Good records and quick action go a long way toward locating it or having it declared lost.
Every money order has attached at purchase a receipt, whether it’s like a check stub or a carbon copy of the order. Ensure safekeeping the completed receipt when sending the money order in the mail or presenting it for bill payment in person. If presenting it personally, request a “received payment” receipt from the payee. Some businesses comply; some consider your money order receipt sufficient. All records and receipts regarding the money order will be influential in tracking a missing money order.
Issuer v. Reseller
The issuer of a money order is the financial institution or licensed business who guarantees the money availability for the sum noted on the money order. The USPS is an issuer that sells its own money orders. Banks issue and sell, as well. However, an issuer does not have to sell its own product-the money order.
A reseller is an authorized selling agent of money orders, licensed by the issuer. For example, convenience stores often sell money orders, but they aren’t the guarantor of funds. “Corner Convenience Store” may sell money orders from Western Union. Western Union is the issuer; the convenience store is the reseller.
Take Immediate Action
When a money order appears lost or stolen, time is of the essence. Do not delay in initiating an inquiry or trace.
Gather all applicable records and receipts.
Contact the issuer and present all information requested, normally the money order number, date, and amount are needed; sometimes, the sender’s and intended receiver information will be required for any possible tracking results report. Several national issuers and resellers have online tracking services available. Alternately, call the designated telephone number and communicate all required data.
Pay the fee that may be charged.
Follow up after a reasonable or the designated time frame if no response arrives.
If they cannot determine the money order’s status, the issuer can place a stop-payment order. Generally, these blocks go into effect twenty-four hours after issue date but not always. Ask the issuer if the situation arises.
When the stop-payment time period expires, the issuer will generate a replacement money order. The reseller will receive notice or the buyer will present an authorization code for reseller replacement at no charge.
If cashed, the issuer can provide documented proof for a fee.
United States Postal Service; “Damaged, Lost, or Stolen Money Orders,” found at: http://www.usps.com/missingmoneyorders/welcome.htm
Western Union; “Frequently Asked Questions: Western Union Money Orders,” found at: http://www.westernunion.com/WUCOMWEB/staticMid.do?method=load&pagename=faqMoneyOrder
MoneyGram; Frequently Asked Questions: Money Orders. http://www.moneygram.com