If you’re heading out of town and don’t want to deal with your home mailbox stuffed full, there’s a solution. It’s called USPS Hold Mail.
The United States Postal Service will hold all your mail for up to 30 days, and it’s absolutely free. It’s a critical part of any checklist before international – or even domestic – travel.
But after introducing some new identity verification procedures earlier this month, things have changed with the USPS Hold Mail service. Still, it’s an easy and free way to make sure your mail is safe and sound when you’re on the road.
How the USPS Hold Mail Service Works
First things first, some ground rules. Hold mail requests can be done 30 days in advance, or as soon as just the next day. USPS Hold Mail works for up to 30 days.
Thrifty Tip: Leaving town for more than a month? Set up mail forwarding to a friend or family member, which starts at just $1.05.
To initiate a mail hold, you’ll need to set up an account with USPS, if you don’t have one already. This is the first step in the postal service’s new identity verification process. So while it’s possible to start a mail hold just a day in advance, this new process means you might want to plan farther in advance.
How to Hold Your Mail
Head to USPS’s registration page to get signed up. Once you’re signed up, head for “Track and Manage” on the main USPS menu and select “Hold Mail” under the dropdown.
After signing back in, it’s time to verify your identity. With any luck, you’ll be able to quickly do so online by entering your phone number and getting a text message from USPS with a code. Enter your code and you should be on your way.
If you’re not eligible to verify your identity online, don’t worry – there are still options. The Postal Service could mail you a verification code to wrap up the process. Otherwise, just head to your nearest post office and fill out the Authorization to Hold Mail form.
Thrifty Tip: If your phone number does not work to verify online, try the phone number of a different household member.
Once you’re validated, you’re set you select your desired hold dates! USPS makes this simple with pop up calendars as you choose your hold dates. Just as before, you can choose between having your carrier deliver the accumulated mail or pick it up yourself.
Finally, USPS will ask you to sign up for Informed Delivery – a way to get a digital preview of all your incoming mail with the ability to track packages at any time. It’s free and a great way to see what you’re missing while you’re gone.
While there are some new quirks to starting a mail hold with USPS, it’s still easy – and, best of all, it’s free. Stop letting your mail pile up while you’re gone!
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.