Comparing Mail Management Options
USPS Mail Hold Service, USPS Mail Forwarding - Regular, USPS Mail Forwarding - Premium, USPS Informed Delivery
Every once in a while, you may find yourself in a position where you have to go out of town for a while on a temporary basis. Maybe you are going on vacation, visiting family, going on a long business trip, or for any other reasons. If you are used to getting mail on a regular basis, this can be a tricky time especially when you don’t have anybody to pick your mail while you are away. Even if you don’t get mail regularly, nobody wants to miss even a single letter or package; which is where the USPS Forwarding services come in. The USPS offers a number of mail forwarding options to cater for different needs people may have in terms of the type of mail that can be forwarded, for how long the forwarding service lasts, how fast the mail is forwarded, among other considerations. The following are the main types of forwarding options the USPS offers:
1. Regular Mail Forwarding
Also known as standard mail forwarding, regular mail forwarding is the most popular option particularly for people making a temporary move. Most people prefer regular mail forwarding mainly because of its minimal fees and cost-effectiveness. The service can be used for at least 15 days and at most one year. After the first six months have expired, you get a chance to renew the forwarding for an extra six months.
The enrollment process is quick and easy and can be done online or in person at your post office of choice. If you enroll at a post office, the process is free of charge. However, you will be required to provide identification documents before it can be approved. If you choose to register online, you will be billed $1 via credit card. Your credit card information is required to verify your identity.
Every piece of mail you get is forwarded separately to your new address on a piece-by-piece basis. Packages will not be forwarded and are held on your behalf at the post office if you have a hold mail service. Magazines are forwarded but only for a maximum of 60 days.
2. Premium Mail Forwarding Service
The premium forwarding service is a lot more expensive than the regular forwarding service but comes with a lot of perks too. The service is especially useful for people and businesses that receive mail regularly but need to change the address on a longer-term basis. With this service, any mail you get is held by the post office and collected, and then all the mail that has been received in one week is packaged and sent collectively to your new address as one priority mail package.
To enroll, you have to pay the sign-up fee of $20.10 retail or if you enroll online $ 18.45. You then have to pay $ 20.10 for every week you receive your forwarded mail. Most mail is packaged on Wednesdays and sent via priority mail service. Depending on the distance, your package should arrive within 3 business days.
Any priority mail items are forwarded immediately or included in the weekly package, whichever is faster.
3. Hold Mail Service
Suppose you are going somewhere for about a month. In such a case, you might not need a mail forwarding service especially if you are going overseas or if you just don’t need your mail forwarded. The USPS offers the hold mail service to cater for just that. With this service, the post office will hold your mail for a period of 3-30 days after which you can pick it up at the post office or have it delivered to you.
The hold mail service is not necessary if you are sure all your mail will fit in your box for the 30 days you are away. However, if you expect a lot of mail, the service comes in handy.
4. Informed Delivery
In the modern world, even the USPS has to keep up with technology. The informed delivery service allows you to interact with your incoming mail in one convenient, online location. The service allows you to receive notifications of incoming mail, track mail, and packages, leave delivery instructions in case you are not home and reschedule a delivery after missing one. The service also gives you a preview of incoming packages using grayscale images of the exterior and address side of letters.