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What Is USPS Informed Delivery and How Does It Work?

The USPS Informed Delivery is a service by the United States Postal Service that allows customers to track, manage, and receive previews of their incoming mail and packages.

Read on to learn more about this postal service, how to get it, its pros and cons, and what alternatives to Informed Delivery are available for managing your mail and packages.

How Does USPS Informed Delivery Work?

Informed Delivery allows you to digitally preview your incoming mail and packages before they are delivered. It also gives status updates about outbound packages.

If you have signed up for this service, you will receive Informed Delivery notifications via the Daily Digest email or the online dashboard from your phone or computer. Each Informed Delivery notification is also viewable on the United States Postal Service mobile app.

Mail goes through the high-speed USPS automated equipment when it passes the postal service network. The machines take a photo of the front side with the address. These mail images are what you receive in your Informed Delivery notifications on your email or in the app.

How to Sign Up for Informed Delivery?

A man using a laptop that shows the USPS website. There is a shelf with plants and books on front of him. On his table are a cup and an open notebook.

Follow the steps below to apply for United States Postal Service Informed Delivery.

If You Already Have a USPS Account:

  1. Account Preferences > Informed Delivery. Opt in for Informed Delivery.
  2. Type in your address to check if it’s eligible for Informed Delivery.
  3. Provide account information and verify your identity.

If You Don’t Have a USPS Account:

  1. Sign up for a USPS personal account. 
  2. Go to the USPS Informed Delivery sign-up page.
  3. Fill in the important details to sign up for an account to check if your address is eligible for Informed Delivery.
  4. Verify your identity.

Upon completing the steps for signing up for an Informed Delivery account, you can monitor mail and package updates via email, the online dashboard, or the USPS app.

Sign Up for USPS Business Informed Delivery

You can use your USPS business account to sign up for Informed Delivery. Follow the steps below:

  1. Sign in to your USPS.com business account
  2. Go to Account Preferences
  3. Tick off the Terms and Conditions checkbox and opt in for Informed Delivery
  4. Select “Request Invitation Code by Mail”
  5. You will receive the code within 3-5 business days. Type in the code on the Account Preferences page to verify your identity

Note: Identity verification is crucial for signing up for Informed Delivery. If the USPS website can’t verify your identity, you may do so in person.

The Informed Delivery sign-up page will show you a list of Identity Proofing locations near you. Opt in for in-person identity verification and wait for an email with further instructions. Follow the instructions and bring the required documents and USPS acceptable forms of ID to the Identity Proofing facility within 72 hours.

Who Is Eligible for Informed Delivery?

Anyone with a residential, business, or PO Box address in an eligible ZIP Code may apply for Informed Delivery. When you sign up for this service, the online form allows you to check if your address is eligible. Most ZIP code locations across the country are qualified for Informed Delivery.

Sometimes, your address is eligible but you are still unable to get Informed Delivery. In this rare instance, your mailbox is likely not uniquely coded. A uniquely coded address is a requirement so that only you can view your mail in the Informed Delivery dashboard. Unfortunately, you can’t sign up for Informed Delivery without a uniquely coded address.

How Much is USPS Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery is a free service offered by the postal service.

What Types of Packages Work with Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery works with letter-sized mail, such as personal letters, bills, and small packages and parcels. Note, however, that magazines, large envelopes, or items marked as confidential or private are not generally eligible for Informed Delivery.

Informed Delivery works with most USPS domestic packages. Unlike mail, however, you will not get an image of the package. Information for inbound and outbound packages is presented as status updates, not images. There’s no limit to the number of inbound packages that will appear on your dashboard. However, only up to 20 outbound packages will be displayed.

Informed Delivery Notifications

How will you receive information about your outbound and incoming mail and packages when you sign up for Informed Delivery? They are delivered to you via three avenues: the Daily Digest email, via your Informed Delivery dashboard, and on the USPS mobile app.

Make sure that your email notifications are turned on by checking the email opt-in under the informed delivery settings in your USPS account. With Informed Delivery, you will receive emails with grayscale images of your incoming postal mail. If you have packages, this email will also contain their status updates.

The Informed Delivery Dashboard

A laptop showing the USPS website. There are boxes of parcel behind the laptop and a person holding a box on the foreground.

Aside from letting you monitor the delivery status and giving you USPS tracking updates, your Informed Delivery dashboard also lets you do the following:

  1. Give delivery instructions to your postal service carrier. For example, you can request they place the mail by your back door or deliver it to the nearest local Post Office for pickup.
  2. You can set a different schedule for delivery.
  3. Remove a package that you don’t want to be included in tracking.
  4. Add a unique nickname for a package.
  5. Manually add USPS tracking numbers that you want to track.

Why Should You Use Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery can make mail and package management more convenient. Some benefits of having an Informed Delivery account include:

You Know What Mail and Packages Are Arriving

By receiving images of your incoming mail and packages, you know what mail you’re getting in advance without needing to check it physically. These Informed Delivery notifications are certainly convenient for when you’re out of town.

You Know When Mail and Packages Will Arrive

With Informed Delivery, you can easily keep track of packages and anticipate arrival times. This way, you are able to adjust your schedule accordingly.

You Can Give Delivery Instructions

One of the great things about having Informed Delivery is that you can instruct the delivery personnel where to leave your incoming mail and packages. If porch piracy is rampant in your area, this is especially useful since you can ask the United States Postal Service personnel to drop your packages near your back door. You also have the option to have your mail or packages delivered to your neighbor for safekeeping. 

Here are the locations at your house where you can ask the mailman to leave your items:

  • Front Door
  • Back Door
  • Side Door
  • In/At Mailbox
  • On the Porch
  • Garage

If you want them delivered to a neighbor, the different address you provide should be on the same street, ZIP code, and delivery route.

Informed Delivery’s Limitations

There are also drawbacks to Informed Delivery that are worth considering.

Functionality is Limited

With Informed Delivery, only images of the front of mail pieces are provided, which doesn’t help when you need to know the contents of the letter. Additionally, the USPS automated equipment will not take photos of the address label side of packages. There are alternatives to Informed Delivery that offer better and more advanced features.

Informed Delivery is Not Available Everywhere

Informed Delivery is currently only available to residents in certain geographic areas, so you might be out of luck if you reside in a more remote location. It may also be unavailable for some apartments and condos that don’t have uniquely coded addresses.

Are There Alternatives to Informed Delivery?

A woman using the touchscreen of a storage locker facility. She is holding a phone with her left hand.

If you want more practical and convenient features than those that come with Informed Delivery, some alternatives include:

Private Mailbox Services

These are typically offered by pack-and-ship shops or business centers. Private mailbox services offer mail and package receiving and can provide notifications when mail and packages arrive.

Package Locker Systems

Package locker systems allow for secure delivery and retrieval of packages. These are ideal Informed Delivery alternatives if you regularly receive large parcels. With a Package Locker account, your mail and packages will be sent to a secure locker, and the staff will notify you when they arrive.

Package Forwarding Services

Package forwarding services receive packages on your behalf and then forward them according to your directions. This can be a good alternative to Informed Delivery if you’re traveling or live in a different country from where you want your packages shipped.

Virtual Mailbox Services

A virtual mailbox service provides a physical address at a staffed location that you can use for mail and package receiving, whether personal or for your business. Mail and packages received at the physical address are scanned, uploaded, and made available to you immediately via a mobile app or a web platform.

Like Informed Delivery, you will receive an image of the address label side of your mail. The staff will also provide you with an image of the packages that arrive for you. A virtual mailbox service, however, provides more benefits than Informed Delivery. For example, you can use a virtual mailbox address as your business address. You can also make requests like opening and scanning your mail, shredding it if it’s not important, or forwarding it to a different address.

A Virtual Mailbox Service Worth a Look

Hands holding a phone that shows a parcel. Beneath the hands are parcels with address labels.

Anytime Mailbox is a virtual mailbox service that offers consistently dependable service to customers who need a more comprehensive option than Informed Delivery.

With modern technology and a user-friendly interface, Anytime Mailbox allows you to control your postal mail and packages securely every step of the way.

From mail and package scanning to forwarding, storage, and disposal, it’s by far the most seamless mail management experience available. It’s like having your mail and packages accessible through your phone, anytime, anywhere.

Anytime Mailbox is a smart solution for individuals, businesses, and travelers who need to manage their mail and packages remotely. Whether you’re a busy professional or just someone constantly on the go, check out Anytime Mailbox to see if it might make sense for you.

It’s likely that it just might.

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