The United States Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx all offer online dashboards where you can see exactly what packages (and letters, in the case of the US Postal Service) are scheduled to arrive at your address. They’ll even email and send you text message notifications so you can stay on top of things.
These are all free services, although UPS and FedEx have a few additional paid features. For example, you can sometimes pay to schedule a precise package delivery time with UPS or FedEx, but you can always keep tabs on incoming packages for free.
The US Postal Service offers a free service named “Informed Delivery.” It’s an online dashboard that automatically informs you about mail and packages being sent to your address, and it also provides email notifications.
There are two features here. There’s a “Mailpieces” tab that shows you scanned copies of the front of any letters you have arriving in your mailbox. Letters appear on this dashboard for seven days after they’re delivered. The dashboard only shows letter-sized mailpieces like normal letters and postcards, so any magazines you’re receiving likely won’t appear here.
The scans just show the front of the letters—the post office doesn’t open your mail! But it’s particularly useful when you’re out of town and want to keep tabs on any important mail you’re waiting for.
Whether or not you opt into Informed Delivery, the United States Postal Service is always scanning copies of your incoming mail anyway. When you sign up for this service, USPS is just sharing the data it’s already collecting with you.
There’s also a “Packages” tab that shows packages that are on the way or have recently been delivered to your address. You’ll know exactly what packages are coming to you via USPS and the day they’ll arrive. Packages appear on this dashboard for fifteen days after they’re delivered.
Unlike with letters, USPS does not provide photos of packages.
In the morning, you’ll receive an email notification with scans of the front of any letters you’ll receive in your mailbox later that day and a note about whether you’ll be receiving any packages. You can disable these email notifications, if you like. Just click the “Settings” link on the dashboard to access email notification options.
You can sign up for Informed Delivery online. The USPS will mail you a confirmation code in a letter to the address you provide, verifying that you are who you say you are before allowing you access to this information.
UPS offers a service named “UPS My Choice,” which is also a free service you can sign up for online. With the online dashboard or app, you can see a calendar showing exactly when packages will be arriving from UPS, along with detailed links to any package tracking information that’s available.
They also sell a paid Premium subscription that offers features like the ability to schedule packages for delivery on a different day, delivery packages to another address, and request a two-hour confirmed delivery window. However, you don’t need to pay anything just to track your incoming packages and get notifications.
UPS can send you notifications by email or text message when you have a package scheduled for delivery the next day, another on the day the package is out for delivery, and a final message when it’s delivered, if the delivery date changes, or when it’s ready for pickup at a UPS location.
You can customize your notifications at the UPS My Choice Preferences page on the UPS website. Look for the “Delivery Alerts” options under Alerts.
FedEx offers a similar service named “FedEx Delivery Manager,” which you can sign up for online for free. Using the online dashboard or app, you can view the tracking information for any packages being sent to your address. You can also take any available actions, such as providing delivery instructions or telling FedEx to hold the package at a nearby location so you can pick it up yourself. You may be able to pay to schedule the delivery for another date and time or deliver it to another address, too, depending on the package.
You can choose to receive notifications by email, text message, or even an automated audio phone call. These notifications are customizable, so you can choose what you want to be notified about and how. Notifications are available when a package is first addressed to you, on the day before delivery, on the day of delivery, if there’s a delivery problem, when a package is delivered to your address, or when the scheduled delivery time has changed.
For example, with the default settings, you’ll receive email alerts when a package will arrive tomorrow, on the day it’s out for delivery, and when it’s actually been left at your address.
The US Postal Service’s Informed Delivery service is available nationwide in the USA. Postal services in other countries may offer similar services.
The UPS My Choice service is currently available in the US as well as thirteen other countries, while Fedex’s Delivery Manager appears to only be available in the US at this time. Hopefully UPS and Fedex will expand these tools internationally, as they’re very useful.
Image Credit: Sean Locke Photography/Shutterstock.com.