Easily one of the most popular services available from the United States Postal Service (ranking just behind first-class mail, really), more than 200 million pieces of Certified Mail move through USPS facilities each year. And the number rose higher and higher all the time!
There are a whole host of reasons people choose to upgrade traditional first-class mail to Certified Mail, not the least of which is its trackability. Certified Mail comes with tracking information that you can check almost anytime you like, day or night, something that first-class mail doesn’t offer – and that means you have a much better idea of where your mail is at any one particular point in time but also when it’s going to arrive at its ultimate destination.
Below we run through the Certified Mail tracking process so that you know what to expect, but we also highlight important details surrounding the Certified Mail service that you’ll want to be aware of should you choose to use this option from the USPS in the future. We even touch on another service you’ll want to consider to give you even more information about the mail that hits your mailbox (regardless of whether or not it’s sent certified), but we’ll get to that in time. For now, let’s go through the ins and outs of Certified Mail and tracking it!
Navigating the Certified Mail Tracking Process
Right out of the gate you should know that the tracking info provided by Certified Mail in the fact that you will be notified with proof of delivery of the biggest reasons that people use this service in the first place. First-class mail is fantastic when you need to get something to someone in the US (or overseas) in a relatively short amount of time, but if you want to be able to track that piece of mail as it moves through the USPS infrastructure – and especially if you want legitimate, physical proof of delivery and confirmation of receipt – Certified Mail is the only way to go.
The good news is that the USPS makes tracking Certified Mail relatively simple and straightforward using the same process that they use to track much any other piece of mail or package they handle. You’ll be provided with a tracking number or code when you post your Certified Mail, and that code goes live almost immediately within the USPS tracking system. From that moment on you’ll be able to watch as it gets scanned along every stop on its journey until it hits its ultimate destination – at which point you’ll not only get tracking confirmation that it has been delivered, but you’ll also get proof of delivery returned to you as well. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Why Use Certified Mail to Begin With?
Aside from the ability to track Certified Mail, the security and the proof of delivery features that this mail service provide our huge reasons people take advantage of this (slightly) more expensive service. More than 65% of Certified Mail customers say that the number one reason (aside from tracking) that they use this service is because they get confirmation – cold, hard proof – that what they sent out has been delivered and received.
There’s a lot of security that comes with using Certified Mail that you just aren’t going to get dropping a first-class mail off at the post office or in any of their drop boxes. With first-class mail you never know when your mail gets picked up by the USPS, when it gets processed, when it starts to move along its journey, or when it is going to be dropped off at its ultimate destination. Certified Mail eliminates all of those issues completely!
On top of that, Certified Mail is a lot more “noticeable” for the people that you are sending mail than traditional letters that can get lost in the shuffle. Certified mail has specific labeling and envelope attachments that make it really obvious that it isn’t first-class mail, helping it to “jump out” of the mailbox or a pile of mail. Individuals that receive Certified Mail are always going to want to tear into that envelope, package, or parcel ASAP because they know that it was sent to them very deliberately – and the odds are good it contains something important and possibly even time sensitive.
Sure, there are ways to dress up traditional first-class mail so that it is eye-catching and attractive. But then you run the risk of those pieces being seen as junk mail and dropped into the garbage bin before they are ever scrutinized. Finally, let’s not discount the value of Certified Mail from a record keeping standpoint. The USPS stores all Certified Mail records in their own internal database for up to two years from the day that it was delivered, but you also have the ability to maintain your own individual records indefinitely. You’ll always have a proof of delivery on hand should you need to use that for one reason or another. Businesses especially like to use Certified Mail because it creates a “chain of custody” of sorts and helps them remain in full compliance with legal requirements that are pretty common in the financial, utility service, and other heavily regulated industries.
Is Tracking Including with All Certified Mail?
Tracking is included with every single piece of Certified Mail, without exception, and is a huge part of why people choose to use this service from the USPS to begin with. Having the ability to watch as your Certified Mail moves throughout the country on its way to its ultimate destination, charting and tracking every single stop along the way, is a great way to gauge exactly when your mail is going to arrive as well. You’ll be able to see if there are any hangups, any delays, or any other issues that you might need to account for. But you’ll also be able to get a general feel for when that piece of mail is going to land at its final destination, too.
Of course, tracking information will show attempted deliveries and whether or not they were successful well before you get your physical Certified Mail delivery confirmation. This means you’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your mail arrived exactly when and where you hoped it would before you get your delivery confirmation that you can then keep in your own internal records.
How Accurate is Certified Mail Tracking?
The accuracy of the tracking information provided to Certified Mail customers is top-tier, especially since the USPS has invested so much time, money, and energy into their own infrastructure over the last few years. Today’s tracking info provided from the USPS is light years ahead of where it was even just 20 years ago. Not only are you going to get more up-to-date information about your Certified Mail pieces as they move across the country (or are delivered around the world), but you’re also going to get more relevant information as well. You’ll know what each stop for your Certified Mail is all about, why a piece of mail is being held up in one specific location or why it’s being rerouted to another processing facility, as well as when it hits the final USPS location before it goes out delivery.
All of that information can be very useful for you even if you don’t necessarily have any way to impact the journey that your Certified Mail is traveling on. Just the peace of mind alone, knowing that your mail hasn’t been lost somewhere along the way, is enough of a reason to check tracking every now and again.
How Often Will Certified Mail Update?
There are no hard and fast rules for how often Certified Mail tracking will update, though you should reasonably expect updates every day or so. Truth be told, every time your Certified Mail moves from one location to the next there is going to be a tracking update pushed out. This means updates happen when your Certified Mail is accepted by the post office and entered into the system, when it moves from the originating post office on the first leg of the journey, when it arrives at the next processing facility (and any subsequent processing facility), when it leaves those facilities, and when it hits its final USPS location – which is usually the post office closest to the delivery address.
Because of the speed of Certified Mail (when it’s being sent domestically to addresses in the United States, anyway) you can generally expect an update every 24 hours, or sometimes multiple updates in a 24 hour block of time. Sometimes, though, you won’t get updates for a day (or maybe even two days) – particularly around the busy mail seasons (like the holiday season, for example).
Do I Have to Do Anything Special to Track My Certified Mail?
Absolutely not! You don’t really have to do anything special at all to track your Certified Mail aside from jumping on the USPS website (www.usps.com) and using their tracking tool with the tracking information that you have been provided. You can also punch your tracking code directly into search engines like Google to bring up their own tracking systems, shortcutting the process a little bit and sort of streamlining things.
If you use Gmail you’ll be able to track many of your Certified Mail packages directly from your Gmail account (on desktop, anyway) – so long as you have had your USPS Certified Mail confirmation receipt with tracking information sent to that email address. At the end of the day, there are multiple (really easy) ways to track your Certified Mail and none of them are all that special, all that unique, or at all challenging.
What Should I Do If Certified Mail Tracking Isn’t Updating?
If you have noticed that your tracking information just isn’t updating as often as you thought it would, or spend more than 48 hours since you last saw and update to your Certified Mail tracking info, it may not be a bad idea to reach out to the USPS directly and see what’s going on. Customer service can be reached on the phone by dialing 1-800-275-8777 (Monday through Friday, with Saturday hours available as well) or you can jump on their website and live chat or shoot them and email.
Of course, you can also pop down to your local post office and ask any questions you might have about your Certified Mail tracking updates. They’ll usually be able to look things up for you using their own internal systems which may or may not be able to provide you with any extra insight or information about where your mail is and why it isn’t moving as quickly as you’d hoped it would.
US Global Mail Simplifies All of Your Mail Tacking Needs – And That’s Just the Tip of the Iceberg!
If you love the advantages of Certified Mail – specifically being able to track your mail and then getting confirmation that it’s actually been delivered – and would love to get those same services for every piece of mail that ever hit your own mailbox you are going to really like US Global Mail. The premier virtual mailbox service for more than 20+ years, US Global Mail is the modern mailbox alternative to legacy solutions like PO boxes from the USPS.
As a US Global Mail customer you’ll get a permanent physical street address that you can have all of your mail, all of your packages, and all of your parcels sent to (from any shipping provider, something you can’t do with a PO Box) and get immediate confirmation upon its arrival at your mailbox, too. Not only that, you’ll get a digital scan or photograph of the package, parcel, or envelope so that you know exactly what’s in your mailbox at any one particular point in time.
This eliminates having to pop down to the post office to check and see if your PO Box has what you’re looking for, only to find your PO Box empty and your time wasted. There are a myriad of other benefits to becoming a US Global Mail customer as well (deeply discounted mail forwarding to any address on the planet at prices up to 80% off, free check depositing features, extra safety and security bonuses, dramatically improved privacy features, etc.) that you’ll want to look into, too. For more details about all that US Global Mail offers visit their website today or reach out to their customer service team!