Is There a Money Order Expiration Date?

money order expiration date

Money orders don’t expire, but service fees and other factors could make them worthless if left uncashed for too long

How long are money orders good for? If you have ever bought a money order and didn’t need to cash it for a while, or if you have ever found an old money order in a drawer, then you may be wondering how long it is good for. Let’s have a look to see if there is a money order expiration date.

No Expiration Date, Sort of

A money order technically never expires. But be aware of the fine print with certain issuers.

Western Union claims that their money orders never expire, but they do charge a service fee in certain states where the law allows. After a period of one to three years there could be charges of up to $2.00 per month from the original date of purchase. So, you can see that if left uncashed long enough your money order will have no money left on it. Fees will eventually eat up all the original value. Check with your state and with Western Union to see what the rules are where you live.

The largest issuer of money orders is the US Postal Service.  Their money orders truly never expire and aren’t subject to service fees. The USPS does however limit their money orders to $1000 per transaction. You may have to negotiate the validity of the money order if you leave it uncashed long enough though. More on that in a minute.

When a bank or other institution issues a money order, and it is never cashed it causes an accounting problem. If left uncashed long enough the issuer may classify them as abandoned property and turn them over to the state agency responsible for tracking these types of assets. The USPS says that it has over $25 million worth of uncashed money orders annually. If you come across an old money order the best course of action is to take it to the issuer and see if it can be negotiated or refunded.

Wrapping Up

Money orders can be a convenient way to send money or pay bills. Technically, there is no money order expiration date but beware of possible service fees. Also, be aware that eventually, the issuer may classify an uncashed money order as abandoned property. If that happens you may have to work with the state agency that handles these claims to get a refund on your money.

The best advice that I can give you is to only purchase a money order if you plan to use it immediately. Letting one sit around increases your chances that it will get lost or that it could end up worthless.

Read Also:

Cashier’s Check vs. Money Order (All You Need to Know)

The Best Services To Transfer Money Abroad

Don’t Waste Money On Money Transfers!

Tips On How To Dodge Big Fees For Your Money Transfers

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