Have you just run into the term “USPS Tracking Plus” and started to wonder what it is exactly…. and if you need it? This article will help answer your Tracking Plus questions.
Understanding USPS Tracking Plus
USPS Tracking Plus is an enhanced service offered by the United States Postal Service (USPS) that allows you to track your packages better. Most importantly Tracking Plus extends your searchable shipment history longer than before.
Standard Tracking History:
- Non-signature parcels: 120 days
- Signature parcels: 2 years
Tracking Plus Tracking History:
- Non-signature parcels: Up to 10 years
- Signature parcels: Up to 10 years
If you’re someone who frequently sends or receives important mail, this service can provide you with added convenience and peace of mind. But before you decide to opt for USPS Tracking Plus, it’s important to understand its features and how it works. In this article, we will delve into the basics of USPS Tracking Plus, its key features, the cost associated with the service, its benefits, and how to use it effectively.
The Basics of USPS Tracking Plus
USPS Tracking Plus is a comprehensive tracking service provided by the USPS. It is designed to provide you with detailed and accurate information about the whereabouts of your packages, as normal, but then the “Plus” component means you have a longer history of your online tracking details.
Imagine you’re a small business owner or law office who relies on USPS services to ship your parcels or documents to customers across the country. With USPS Tracking Plus, you can easily monitor the progress of your packages but then you can also get a details proof of delivery for up to 10 years into the future, as opposed to being limited to just 2 years on domestic signature-required parcels.
Why Pay For Tracking Plus?
There are few compelling reasons to pay for Tracking Plus — it’s really offered for long-term information about past shipments. You might need this information for some of the following reasons:
- Proof of delivery to resolve disputes or claims against you, your business, or contractual requirements
- Evidence of mailing, delivery, and delivery attempts for legal purposes (example: proof for court proceedings)
- Source-of-truth data that third parties will accept (for financial, legal, regulatory, and similar requirements)
The USPS suggests that the Tracking Plus program will be most useful for law firms, pharmaceutical companies, e-commerce business, and financial institutions, but any business that is shipping important items or mail via the USPS could benefit, so long as there is a exists a long span during which evidence of delivery might be needed.
Key Features of USPS Tracking Plus
USPS Tracking Plus offers a range of features that make it a valuable tool for anyone who relies on USPS services. Let’s take a closer look at some of these key features:
- Real-Time Tracking: With USPS Tracking Plus, you can track your packages in real-time. This means you’ll receive regular updates on the current location and estimated delivery time of your package. Whether your package is in transit, out for delivery, or has been delivered, you’ll have access to the most up-to-date information.
- Delivery Notifications: USPS Tracking Plus allows you to receive notifications via email, text message, or through their online portal. This keeps you informed about any changes in delivery status, such as attempted delivery, successful delivery, or delays. You can customize your notification preferences to ensure you receive updates in the most convenient way for you.
- Proof of Delivery: USPS Tracking Plus also provides proof of delivery for your packages. This can be crucial when dealing with important or valuable items. Having a record of the recipient’s signature or other proof of delivery can help protect you and your customers in case of any disputes or claims.
How Much Does Tracking Plus Cost?
Tracking Plus is not a free service and it requires both a USPS account and a fee based on the data you need.
Tracking Plus is a per piece cost, not a subscription service, so keep in mind that it can get quite expensive at scale, hence the focus on use by businesses for extended data retention.
There is a range of prices for Tracking Plus upgrade fee:
- A 6 month extension of date retention for an unsigned parcel will cost an additional $0.99 on top of normal shipping fees.
- A 10 year extension of data retention for a signed parcel can cost you $6.75 on top of normal shipping fees.
These fees are not refundable, even if you don’t end up needed the tracking data in the future. You might also need to pay for a report if you need a tracking statement in the future.
How to Use USPS Tracking Plus
Steps to Activate USPS Tracking Plus
Learning about USPS Tracking Plus is a straightforward process. Follow these simple steps to get started:
- Go to the USPS website and sign in to your account, or create a new account if you don’t have one already.
- Once logged in, navigate to the Insurance and Extra Services page to get details about the program
To activate Tracking Plus you must:
- Choose the packages you want to track and then go to the label’s information page, the URL will look something like this: https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction!input.action?tLabels=12345678901234567890123
- Scroll down to the Tracking Plus section
You will see this:
Select the duration, accept the terms, confirm the selection, and then add the selection to your online cart. You can then do your checkout, paying for the service. There will be no tax on the transaction, just the listed price.
After you place your order you will get a success notification which will include:
- Order number
- Confirmation email to your main USPS address
And that’s it! You’ve enabled Tracking Plus for that parcel and you will have verified evidence of shipment and delivery for years to come.
You can only activate Tracking Plus online. It is not available through a third-party shipper or via USPS counter service.
Shipment Types Can use Tracking Plus
You must use one of the follow shipment services to be able to upgrade to Plus tracking:
- Priority Mail Express
- Priority Mail
- USPS Ground Advantage
- Parcel Select Non-presort
- Parcel Select Lightweight
- Library Mail
- Bound Printed Matter
- Media Mail®
- First-Class Mail (letters and flats)
- USPS Marketing Mail parcels
- USPS Marketing Mail Nonprofit parcels
Tracking Your Package: A Walkthrough
Once you’ve activated USPS Tracking Plus for your package, keeping an eye on its progress is simple. Here’s how to track your package:
- Log in to your USPS account.
- Navigate to the USPS Tracking section.
- Enter the tracking number provided and click on the “Track” button.
- You’ll be presented with detailed tracking information, including the current location of your package and the expected delivery date.
Frequently Asked Questions About USPS Tracking Plus
1. Can I track international packages with USPS Tracking Plus?
Yes, USPS Tracking Plus is available for both domestic and international (outbound) parcels. However, the level of tracking detail may vary depending on the destination country.
2. Is USPS Tracking Plus available for all USPS services?
No, USPS Tracking Plus is not available for all USPS services. It is primarily available for Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service, and select other mail classes (listed above). Make sure to check USPS’s official website for a comprehensive list of compatible services.
3. What should I do if my package is not updating on USPS Tracking Plus?
If your package is not updating or there is a delay in tracking information, it’s advisable to contact USPS directly. They can provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding your package.
4. Do I need to buy Tracking Plus at the shipment time or can it be done later?
You can enable Tracking Plus after the shipment has been made but before the tracking data has expired from the USPS system. This means any time after shipment up to 60 days post purchase of the shipment will be an OK time to upgrade to Tracking Plus.