The United States Postal Service provides its customers the facility to track packages, and the name of that service is USPS Tracking. In today’s modern world, you can keep your eyes on every process and when it’s about the packages you ordered using the services of USPS, then it’s easier to get the latest update of that placed order. You may know that the tracking is an end-to-end process and you may keep your eyes from the starting to end of any order.
Here are the most important and useful things to know before you place an order using any USPS services. You should know what you can do and what you are getting while placing the order. There are different ways through which you can easily locate and get the latest update of your package. But, before finding out the tracking methods or ways offered by the national mail carrier, USPS, let’s find out what tracking is and how it works.
WHAT IS TRACKING AND HOW IT WORKS?
Tracking is simply a mechanism that provides end-to-end tracking status of any mail item. You don’t need to put extra efforts to get this mechanism or to use it. It automatically includes with your domestic shipping products. Commercial Standard Mail parcels are not like the domestic shipping products, and that’s why the tracking facility isn’t included with Commercial Standard Mail parcels. But, Don’t Worry! You can easily get and use this facility by paying an extra fee. After that, it will work as an extra service, but this facility doesn’t provide the guarantee of the delivery. If you add any compatible service with the International products, then you may get the signature of the recipient as the proof of delivery. In this way, you can also track the international packages using the USPS International Tracking service.
Do you know how the tracking mechanism works? If you know, then it’s good and if you don’t then let us tell you that it’s a simple process. The post offices or the post office workers make any item trackable. They assign a tracking number to almost every mail item they receive. That mailed item is scanned several times from the acceptance of the mail item to its delivery. Whenever the mail item changes its hands, it is scanned. Now, the U.S Postal Service has upgraded its mechanism, and you may get the more accurate location of your mail item. Your mail item is scanned almost 11 times throughout this process which is the reason you can enjoy the door-to-door tracking. You may use any of the methods given below to locate your package. Before that, find out what tracking number is.
WHAT IS USPS TRACKING NUMBER?
As mentioned above, whenever you place an order, the post office workers assign a number to that order, that number is called USPS Tracking Number. It is also known as label or article number. USPS tracking number is usually a 22-digit number. The number of digits may vary depending on the service you are using. Different services have different types of tracking numbers.
Some examples of the tracking numbers with different services are given below:
|Service||Sample Tracking Number|
|USPS Tracking||9400 1000 0000 0000 0000 00|
|Priority Mail||9205 5000 0000 0000 0000 00|
|Certified Mail||9407 3000 0000 0000 0000 00|
|Collect On Delivery Hold For Pickup||9303 3000 0000 0000 0000 00|
|Priority Mail Express International||EC 000 000 000 US|
|Priority Mail Express||9270 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
EA 000 000 000 US
|Global Express Guaranteed||82 000 000 00|
|Priority Mail International||CP 000 000 000 US|
|Registered Mail||9208 8000 0000 0000 0000 00|
|Signature Confirmation||9202 1000 0000 0000 0000 00|
These are the examples of the different types of tracking numbers. Not all USPS postage provide tracking facility, and that’s why you need to know that which postages provide it. So, if you purchase any product online then make sure that one of the following postage must be included with that:
- Collect on Delivery
- Certified Mail
- USPS Tracking
- Registered Mail
- Global Express Guaranteed
- Priority Mail
- Signature Confirmation
If you find any of the above postages with your product, then you will get the tracking number of your product, and if none of the above-given postage is included, then you may not get the tracking number. But, you can add the tracking facility by paying an extra fee in some cases.
Now the question is where do you find the tracking number?
You tracking number can be found in the following places:
- It can be found on your post office shipping receipt.
- If you bought the insurance at the post office, then it should be on your sales receipt.
- If you shipped from the main site of USPS (USPS.com), then it should be in your email inbox.
- On the bottom of the tracking label (on the peel-off portion).
- In the confirmation email sent by the online retailer.
- If you missed the USPS delivery, then it will be on the back side of the orange slip.
You will get your tracking number one of the following places given above. Once you get this tracking number, then you can easily track any mail item shipped through USPS.
HOW TO TRACK USPS PACKAGES?
There are various ways or methods using which you will get the latest update and the process of your mail item. Following are the best methods to track any USPS package:
1. ONLINE AT USPS.COM
The very first method to track any USPS mail item is the online method through the official site of USPS. United States Postal Service provides the tracking updates on its official website. As mentioned earlier, tracking isn’t included with every shipment and media mail & domestic first class mail shipments are the example of this. These shipments need an extra fee for the tracking facility. Another thing you should keep in mind that USPS doesn’t consider all shipments equally. You will get the detailed information about your shipment if the form of shipping is expensive.
Now, to track package online, you have to find out your tracking number and the places where you can find the tracking number are given above. After that, you will have to follow the given steps:
Step 1: Visit USPS.com: – You have to visit the main site, or we can say the official site of United States Postal Service, and that is usps.com.
Step 2: Select the Tracking Option: – After visiting the main site of USPS, you will find three options to track your shipment(s). First, you can enter your tracking number(s) into the blank space or field given on the homepage, Second, you can select the “Track a Package” option under Quick Tools category, and Third, you can select the “Tracking” option under Track & Manage category. So, select any of the tracking options.
Step 3: Enter Tracking Number(s):
Enter your tracking number into the blank space given. You can enter up to 35 tracking numbers separated by commas.
Step 4: Hit Track button:
After entering the tracking number(s) just click on the track button and the tracking update will be there on your computer or phone screen.
You will see the following information about your shipment:
- Updated Delivery Day
- Postal Product
- Status of item
- Date & time
U.S Postal Service uses a progress bar to describe the Product and Tracking Information. If you want to know the meaning of different types of the progress bar, then continue reading the article.
2. VIEW TRACKING INFO VIA RSS
You may use your RSS reader to track the packages shipped to you via U.S Postal Service (USPS), United Parcel Service (UPS), or FedEx. You have to create a unique RSS Feed for this. Follow the steps below:
Step 1: Get the tracking number after finding out who is transporting your mail items.
Step 2: Open the RSS Reader and navigate to the personalized homepage or open the RSS Reader. Now, select the function to subscribe to an RSS feed by URL.
Step 3: Now Create Tracking URL by appending the tracking number to the following URL:
- United States Postal Service (USPS): – http://www.shaftek.org/code/track2rss/track2rss.pl?type=usps&tracking_number=
- United Parcel Service (UPS): – http://www.shaftek.org/code/track2rss/track2rss.pl? type=ups&tracking_number=
- Fedex Air: – http://www.shaftek.org/code/track2rss/track2rss.pl?type=fedex_air&tracking_number=
- Fedex Ground: – http://www.shaftek.org/code/track2rss/track2rss.pl?type=fedex_ground&tracking_number=
Step 4: Subscribe with the RSS reader of your choice.
Step 5: Copy and paste the URL into the RSS Reader.
Now, you can easily track your mail item.
3. OVER THE PHONE
USPS track package facility is also available over the phone. All the USPS customers can get the tracking updates on a phone call. You just need to call on the following number:
Call on this number and the customer service representatives will help you to locate your mail item. You just need to give them your tracking number and they will give you the latest update of your shipment in return. It’s a simple process. If you don’t want to follow any of the methods above, then you can just call on the number given above. But, don’t forget to have a look on the hours of operation:
Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m (ET)
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (ET)
4. TRACK BY FILE TRANSMISSION
File transmission will help you to track your mail item if you are a certified shipper. Certified shipper refers to the customer who used certified mail as the extra service while placing the order. File transmission is a data file that is transmitted b/w the U.S Postal Service and the sender electronically. Certified mail tracking could be easily done with the file transmission.
5. TRACK PACKAGES THROUGH EMAILS
Tracking through emails is easier now than ever before. You will get the notification(s) about your mail item via emails. The following three types of updates are available if you go for this method:
- Get only the information that is available at the time of the request.
- Get all mail item updates as the item goes through the mail stream.
- Get all the notifications about every single update, available at the time of the request and the upcoming ones.
Any customer can request for the email updates at the time of purchase online, or anytime afterward. Customers will need the tracking number(s) listed on the USPS.com shipping account. Follow the given steps to use the email notification feature:
Step 1: Visit the USPS main site and enter the tracking number into the blank field given to track the packages.
Step 2: Click on “GET EMAIL UPDATES.”
Step 3: Now follow the easy prompts just to set up the notification option you prefer.
You are done! You will get the email notifications related to the status of your mail item.
WHEN DO WILL EMAIL UPDATES STOP?
Many of the customers asked this question that when they will stop receiving email notifications from USPS then let us tell them that once the mail item is delivered, USPS stops sending email notifications to them and if you requested for the email updates yourself then it will stop within two weeks automatically.
What is the problem if no Updates/Notifications or Tracking Emails are being received? If it’s the problem then the reason might be any of the following:
- If you are not getting tracking emails, then it may be possible that there are no new updates.
- Sometimes the junk mail filter is enabled by default or if you enabled it then check the filter to ensure email updates from USPS are allowed.
- The wrong email address might be the problem. Sometimes the customers fill the wrong email ID and if you are one of them then visit the main tracking page and find out whether any additional event info is available or not and if available then submit the request of another email notification.
6. TRACK WITH USPS MOBILE APP
USPS tracking mobile app is another method to track the shipments. U.S Postal Service provides a mobile application for Android and iOS users. With this mobile app, USPS customers can do a lot more than tracking. For example, customers can ship online, buy stamps, find locations, calculate postage, schedule pickups, hold mail, change address, etc.
This mobile app is available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
7. BY USPS TEXT TRACKING
USPS Text tracking is another way to get the latest update of your mail item(s). U.S Postal Service will send you the latest update or the status of your mail item on your mobile phone through text message. You can request for this mechanism by following two ways:
From the USPS Site:
Online option for Text tracking is available. Customers can request for the text tracking online while tracking their package with the tracking number. After getting the update online, you may register to receive text updates. On the website, you may elect one of the following options:
- Update or notification of delivery/attempted delivery of the mail item.
- All past activities.
- All future activities.
- All past and future activities.
From the Phone:
- Send a text with your tracking number to 28777 (2USPS), and in reply, you will get the latest update or activity of your mail item.
- Send a text with the tracking number and the keyword to 28777 (2USPS). The specific keyword will tell the postal service which information you want to get. See different keywords with their definition below.
Do you know what the differences among these two above notification options are? If not, then let us tell you that if you send the text from your mobile device then USPS will only give you the latest activity for the mail item and if you want to know some additional information about the same mail item then you will have to send an extra text message to know that additional info. On the other hand, if a customer requests from the USPS website then he/she has different choices. He/She may select the option to get all the past or future activities which mean the customer will receive each past or future scanned activity on the package. The user also has the options to receive both past and future activities on the packages. They can also select the option to be notified after the successful delivery or attempted delivery.
HOW TO USE THE KEYWORDS?
Text tracking allows the use of the keyword in conjunction with the tracking number if sent from the mobile. The following table shows different allowable keywords to be used in conjunction. These keywords are not case sensitive. The text should be like this – 9205598765432187654321 AP. If you want to get the listing of definitions to your mobile, then send “KEYWORD” as the content to 28777 (2USPS).
|AA||All past and future activity on the package|
|AF||Future activity only on the package|
|AP||Previous activity only on the package|
|Date||Updated Delivery Date or Expected / Guaranteed Delivery Date, if available|
|Delivery||Updated Delivery Date or Expected / Guaranteed Delivery Date, if available|
|DND||Notification of each delivery or delivery attempt|
|Stop||Stop receiving Text Tracking messages for this label.|
|Update||Updated Delivery Date or Expected / Guaranteed Delivery Date, if available|
|When||Updated Delivery Date or Expected / Guaranteed Delivery Date, if available|
HOW TO REQUEST QUITE TIME?
Many of us don’t want to get the updates during off-hours. So, what you should do to not getting the updates from USPS during off hours, send “Quiet” as the content to 28777 (2USPS). In response, you will get a text message with “USPS Text Tracking, Quiet Time Enabled.” The Postal Service won’t send you any update on the phone between the hours of 11 p.m and 7 a.m (CST). This service will resume automatically at 7 a.m (CST).
If you want to remove Quite Time then only send “Awake” as the content to 28777, and in response, USPS will send you “USPS Text Tracking, Quiet Time Disabled.” Send this text anytime.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON USPS TEXT TRACKING?
- If you want to stop receiving text notification, then you can simply send “STOP”, “ARRET”, “UNSUBSCRIBE”, “CANCEL”, or “QUIT” to 28777 (2USPS). By sending this request, you won’t receive any update or notification for any tracking number. If you want to stop notifications for any specific tracking number, then send “STOP” with the tracking number to 28777 (2USPS). This way you won’t receive only the notifications for that specific tracking number.
- USPS text tracking is only available for those users who use the US-based mobile number in the US or have the US-based mobile number but not living in the US. In 2015, the postal service added this feature for the users who use Canadian based mobile numbers.
- Users don’t need to register with USPS to participate in text tracking. However, USPS will ask you to opt-in this service when you will try this feature for the first time.
- For additional help or support, any user can call the following number – 1-800-222-1811 and to get help from the mobile, send HELP, AIDE, or INFO.
These are the methods to get the US Postal Service tracking information of any mail item sent via USPS. You may choose any of the methods given above. It’s completely up to you which method you choose. All the methods are simple and you will easily get the tracking information for any package. USPS.com tracking is the most used method where a user visits the main site of USPS, enters the tracking number and finds the latest update for the package.
ADDING ADVANCED TRACKING AND CONFIRMATION
By adding advanced tracking and confirmation, you can easily get the delivery update and the confirmation of the package. You can do following things for that:
- Request for Signature Confirmation: You may request for signature confirmation. This way, only the recipient (whose name is on the package) will be able to receive the package and if the letter carrier doesn’t find the recipient at home at the time of delivery, then he/she will take that package back to the post office. The recipient will also have to show the photo ID. You can also request a copy of signatory’s name with an extra cost of $3. PO Box delivery won’t be possible in this case.
- Add the Return Receipt: You can also request for return receipt. In return, you will get the confirmation via email or mail. If you want to receive the confirmation via mail, then it will cost you $2.70, and if you want to receive the confirmation via email, then it will cost you $1.35. You will get the signatory name and the pickup site address as well.
- Hold on to Receipt: As mentioned above, the receipt contains the tracking number, and with the help of the tracking number you can easily get the tracking report. There isn’t any need to track these type of mail items actively because you will be informed after the successful delivery.
- Visit the USPS.com: Visit the main site of USPS. The further process is the same we mentioned above. Enter the US post office tracking number and track the mail item.
- Delivery Confirmation: Delivery confirmation will be sent to you as per your request (via mail or email).
USPS TRACKING COSTS
“How much does USPS tracking cost?” is one of the most asked questions. Let us tell you that you need not pay a single penny for the tracking mechanism. It’s included automatically with most of the products. You are paying for the product’s postage, not for this mechanism. This mechanism is included for free. But, it’s not included with every product, and for the products with which it’s not included, you will have to pay an extra fee for this.
USPS.COM TRACKING UPDATES
The US mail tracking page of USPS.com has been updated, and now you see it in a new look. The U.S Postal Service wants to give additional info of the mail item to their customers. The updated tracking information includes the progress bar which is easier to understand and also the customers can understand the status of their mail items at a quick glance.
Let’s see the meaning of each progress bar:
- If you see “PRE-SHIPMENT,” then it means that the info about the package or mail item has been provided to the postal service, but that package hasn’t been processed yet through the U.S Postal Service network.
- If you see “ACCEPTED”, then it means that the mail item has been tendered to the Postal Service physically.
What does IN-TRANSIT mean?
It means that the mail item is on the move to its final destination. You may see the updated tracking info below the bar.
- If you see “ALERT” then it means that there is an issue or the delay in the shipment of the mail item. In this case, contact 1-800-ASK-USPS to know the status of the mail item.
- If you see “DELIVERED” then it means that your mail item has been delivered to its final destination. If you selected extra services like signature confirmation or used Priority Mail Express, then the first initial and the last name of the recipient will also be displayed.
- If a customer sees “STATUS NOT AVAILABLE” then it means either the tracking number you entered is incorrect or there is no updated information available in USPS package tracking. So, check the tracking number again and try again later.
- If you entered more than one tracking number, then you can see the detailed information about each and every tracking number by clicking the “+” sign that is next to the item status.
USPS TRACKING FAQ
WHAT IF YOU LOSE TRACKING/RECEIPT NUMBER?
Many of the USPS customers reported that they have lost their tracking number and what they could do in this situation. So, let us tell you and those who have lost their tracking number that you cannot find or track your package without the tracking number. You should contact your local post office or the post office where you left your package for shipment.
The tracking number is the only confirmation of delivery and USPS doesn’t keep the records of tracking numbers. The number is available only on the package and receipt. You have to wait for 3-4 weeks (28 business days for the international packages) and after this, ask the recipient about the delivery. If he/she says that the package has been delivered, then it’s okay and if not then visit the local post office and ask them to keep trace on the package.
It will need some information like your name, recipient name, time & date of the order, etc. If they are unable to track the package and the package is insured, then you can file a claim.
CAN YOU TRACK THE ITEMS MAILED FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES?
You cannot track the mail items which are mailed from foreign countries in the United States. The postal service says that these type of mail items can be tracked in foreign countries but not in the US. Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) and Priority Mail Express International (PMEI) items can only be tracked internationally. These are the only two mail classes which can be tracked in the US and other countries.
USPS TRACKING NOT UPDATING:
Is your tracking report not updating with time? If yes, then the package may not be scanned by the shipping carrier. You get the information when the package is scanned by the shipping carriers. The tracking report will not be available if you just received the shipping confirmation notice. You have to wait for 2-3 business days for this. If you find that tracking isn’t updating because of another reason then you may contact USPS by calling:
On hearing the questions keep hitting the “0” button and eventually you will get someone on the phone. Tell them your problem and ask them to find out the status of your package. They will track down the package for you and if they find that it’s taking some time, then they will get back to you within 24-48 hours.
CAN YOU TRACK FIRST CLASS MAIL?
You cannot track first class mail. Additional services like tracking, signature confirmation, etc. are not available for first class mail. If you don’t get your first class mail within five business days, then contact USPS customer service. Call on 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) and register your complaint. They will return your mail item whenever they find it.
HOW LONG USPS KEEPS RECORD OF TRACKING AND CONFIRMATION OF DELIVERY?
The United States Postal Service don’t keep the record of tracking and confirmation of delivery for the lifetime. These are available for a limited time. The time depends on the mail classes and services.
- USPS Tracking Service: USPS keeps the record of tracking service up to 120 days or 4 months. It doesn’t matter whether it is USPS Priority Mail tracking report or Registered post tracking report.
- Certified Mail service, Registered Mail service, Numbered International Mail services, and Priority Mail Express service: Up to 2 years.
- Adult Signature Required/Adult Signature Restricted Delivery Mail: Up to 3 years.
- Signature Confirmation: Up to 1 year.
Final Words: It is the detailed information about the USPS Tracking service. There are numerous ways available and also mentioned above through which any USPS customer can get the latest update of any mail item. With these methods given above, you can track Certified Mail, Registered Mail, Priority Mail Express, etc. mail classes. Additional services are also available for those who want the detailed tracking update of their packages. Also, keep in mind that not all forms of tracking are similar.
*If you have any Question or Suggestion then feel free to leave a comment below*