Tax season is in full force and hopefully, Uncle Sam is giving you a nice chunk of change in the form of a refund check. You could open the mailbox with gusto and search for it among your letters.
Or you could use new technology from the United States Postal Service (USPS) that literally shows you what’s inside your mailbox. Whether it’s a letter from a special someone or just a bunch of bills, you can find out before the mail is actually delivered.
The USPS is rolling out an optional new feature that allows recipients to preview their mail digitally online.
Dubbed the Informed Delivery service, black and white images of your actual letter-sized mail that are processed by USPS sorting facilities will be provided each morning.
Up to 10 mail images will be sent to a recipient's email address. This means the previews can be accessed anywhere via computer or a smartphone. Additionally, if you want to view more than 10 mailings, you can also login to your USPS account online and view additional mail on your online dashboard.
To be clear, the images are scans of the exterior, address label side of your mail and not the actual contents. Notifications and the images will then be sent only on the days the mail is being processed and delivered to your home.
USPS said Informed Delivery will "benefit the whole household," by "ensuring that everyone sees the mail each day, not just those that retrieve the mail from the physical mailbox." Advanced notices like this will also allow users to take action prior to any important mail's arrival to a recipient's mailbox.
For now, the images are limited to letter-sized mailings that are processed through the USPS automation equipment but larger-flat sized mail like magazines and catalogs may be included in the future.
The best part about this new USPS service is that it's absolutely free for Informed Delivery subscribers.
The service has not rolled out nationwide yet. Currently, it is available in areas of California, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. You can use USPS 's ZIP Code™ lookup tool to check if it's available in your area. Nationwide roll out is expected to happen sometime in 2017.
To sign up for USPS Informed Delivery, you will need a usps.com account, an eligible residential address and a way to verify your identity.
According to the Informed Delivery FAQ page, here are the steps for signing up:
- Go to informeddelivery.usps.com.
- Click on "View My Mail."
- If you already have a personal usps.com® account, sign in. If not, create an account.
- Once signed in, go to My Preferences. Under Account Management, you will see a box for Informed Delivery. Click "Manage Your Mail."
Please note: If you do not see Informed Delivery in My Preferences, it is likely Informed Delivery is not available at your address. Please check if Informed Delivery has reached your area by using the ZIP Code lookup tool.
- Opt in to Informed Delivery by selecting the check box, and confirm your address.
- Complete the identity verification process (if you have not already done so).
- Click the blue "Informed Delivery" button to continue to your dashboard.
Sign up or log in to your USPS account here.
What do you think? Is this new post office feature a convenient way to view mail? Drop us a comment!