The United States Postal Service is in the process of rolling out a new service which sends scans of your daily mail to your email account. It's free and we're big fans. Last week, I received an email from the United States Postal Service inviting me to sign up for their new Informed Delivery service. Unfamiliar with what it was, I clicked the link to investigate further. Back in April, The USPS began their nationwide rollout of this new program (which had been running in test markets in northern Virginia and New York City since 2014). While the service is nothing earth-shattering, I do think many readers will find use in it.
What Is USPS Informed Delivery?
Per the FAQ page on the USPS site, to automate the sortation and delivery of your mail, USPS digitally images the front of mail pieces that run through our automation equipment. Now they are using those images for a second purpose: to provide digital notifications to users in advance of the delivery of physical mail. Informed Delivery is an optional notification service for residential consumers that sends an email to users containing grayscale images of the outside of letter-sized mail pieces that are arriving that day. The images are of the exterior, address side of household mail pieces (not the inside contents), and notifications are only sent on days when mail is being processed and delivered to the home.
I signed up for the service over the weekend, and have been receiving my informed delivery emails early each morning this week. The email will show up to 10 pieces of standard letter-sized mail. If you have more than that, you will be able to view all of your mail on the informed delivery dashboard once you are logged in. At this time, catalogs and larger envelopes will not appear in the informed delivery daily emails, however, the USPS has said they plan to add this as a future enhancement to the service.
What Is the Cost of the Service?
Scanning all incoming mail has been standard protocol for USPS since the 2001 anthrax attacks. Because of this, no additional costs were incurred by the postal service and they are able to offer this service completely free for residential customers.
How do I Sign Up?
If you are interested in signing up for the USPS Informed Delivery service, you can follow this link. While it does appear to be widely available across the United States, per the map below, there are still some areas that do not offer the service (Blue color indicates areas with service). When you follow the link above, you will be able to input your zip code to see if the service is available in your area. It's worth noting that they plan on having this available nationwide by the end of May.
While the Informed Delivery service is nothing earth-shattering, I do find it to be a great, free enhancement from the USPS. It is a fantastic way to validate mail you actually receive with mail you were supposed to receive. Further, this should be a great feature for travelers, as the emails will still come when your mail service is on hold, making it easy to know what you will be receiving once you return home. For more information, visit the frequently asked questions page on the U.S. postal service website.