Your ability to cash a torn money order depends on the financial institution being asked to cash the funds and the amount of damage to the document. A small tear that leaves the serial number, signature and other identifying information intact is usually fine, though you may face a little more scrutiny than normal when you redeem it. If the tear is major -- such as one that requires you to tape the money order back together -- or if you find yourself having to piece together numerous pieces of a shredded money order, you're better off asking for a new one than trying to cash it.
Tear Location Matters
Each money order has identifying information that lets the institution cashing the check confirm its validity. If those numbers are torn or illegible, or if the dollar amount was ripped and taped back on, you'll have a tough time cashing the money order because the bank may have doubts that it is valid. It may be easier to cash the torn money order with the direct issuer, or a local agent of that issuer. If you received a torn money order issued by a money transfer agent or financial institution, that issuer is more likely to be able to verify if the money order is legitimate. If you have no luck there, ask whoever issued you the money order to get a replacement. Some issuers, such as the United States Postal Service, will do so for free. Others charge a fee for the service.