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Do money orders expire?

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Pen signing a money order

Found an old money order but wondering whether you can still cash or deposit it? Read on to discover everything you need to know about expired money orders. In this guide, we’ll cover what money orders are, how long they’re good for, and what you can do with an unused money order.

What is a money order?

A money order is a form of payment that is similar to a check. You can use a money order to send money to an induvial or business safely and securely. The recipient can then cash or deposit the funds into a bank account.

Unlike a check, a money order is prepaid meaning they’re less likely to bounce. Additionally, money orders aren’t tied to a personal bank account and do not expose any personal details, so they’re often considered a safe and reliable way to send money.

Discover more about the key differences between a cashier check vs money order.


How do money orders work?

Generally, you can purchase a money order of up to $1,000. However, the exact amount may vary depending on the state.

Money orders are usually made out to a specific recipient, so they are the only ones who can cash the funds.


How long are money orders good for?

The good news is, that most money orders do not expire. So, you should be able to check a money order no matter how old it is. However, some issuers may apply a service fee if a money order goes uncashed within a fixed period.

If you’re unsure what fees apply to your unused money order, refer to the back of the payment slip for more details. You can also contact the issuer for further information.

What can I do with an uncashed money order?

If you have an uncashed money order and are concerned that service fees may reduce the original amount, you may want to ask the person who gave you the money order to request a refund and send you a new one instead. While a refund may incur a processing fee, the processing fee may be less than the service fee you would face if you were to cash the unused money order.

Section of a money order

Sending a money order

To send a money order, simply:

  1. Locate your nearest Money Services.
  2. Purchase a money order from one of our friendly associates.
  3. Send your money order through the mail or deliver it in person.


How to process a money order

To process a money order, just:

  1. Head to your nearest Money Services
  2. Declare the money order by signing the back.
  3. Receive cash back.


Please note: The cost to send or cash a money order may vary by state. You’ll also need to bring your social security number and a valid form of ID along with you.


How long are money orders valid for?

Money orders do not have an expiration date as they typically do not expire. However, sometimes there may be a service charge to cash a money order if you wait too long. This charge can vary depending on the issuer.

What happens if a money order is not cashed?

While checks are often valid for six months, money orders do not expire. This means you should be able to cash a money order no matter how old it is. However, cashing a money order outside a fixed period may be subject to additional fees, depending on the issuer.

How can you tell if a money order is still good?

You can check the back of the money order for further information relating to service charges. You can also contact the issuer for information about its policies and fees. 

What if I bought a money order and now I don't need it?

If your money order hasn’t been processed, you may be able to cancel it by contacting the issuer. However, this may be subject to cancellation fees. Once you submit your cancellation request, the issuer should issue you a refund. Find out more about canceling with our handy guide.

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