The United States Postal Service, UPS and FedEx all offer dashboards online where you can see exactly which packages (and letters, in the case of the US Postal Service) are scheduled to arrive at your address. They will even send emails and send messages so you can keep track of things.
These are all free services, although UPS and FedEx have some extra paid features. For example, you can sometimes pay to schedule an exact package delivery time with UPS or FedEx, but you can always keep track of incoming packages for free.
United States Postal Service
The US Postal Service offers a free service called “Informed Delivery.”; It is an online dashboard that automatically notifies you of emails and packages sent to your address, and it also provides email notifications.
There are two functions here. There is a “Mailpieces” tab that shows scanned copies of the front of all letters you have received in your mailbox. Letters are displayed on this instrument panel for seven days after delivery. The dashboard only shows letter-size letter sizes like regular letters and postcards, so not all journals you receive will likely be displayed here.
The scans only show the front of the letters – the post office does not open your mail! But it is especially useful when you are out of town and want to keep track of all the important emails you are waiting for.
Whether you choose informed delivery or not, the United States Postal Service always scans copies of your incoming mail anyway. When you sign up for this service, the USPS only shares the information they already collect with you.
There is also a “Packages” tab that shows packages that are on their way or have recently been delivered to your address. You know exactly which packages will arrive to you via USPS and the day they arrive. Packages are displayed on this instrument panel for fifteen days after delivery.
Unlike letters, the USPS does not provide images of packages.
In the morning, you will receive an email with scans of the letters you receive in your mailbox later the same day and a note about whether you receive any packages. You can disable these email notifications, if you wish. Just click the “Settings” link on the dashboard to access emails.
You can register for informed delivery online. The USPS will send you a confirmation code in a letter to the address you provide and verify that you are who you say you are before giving you access to this information.
UPS offers a service called “UPS My Choice”, which is also a free service that you can sign up for online. With the online dashboard or app, you can see a calendar that shows exactly when packages are coming from the UPS, along with detailed links to all the package tracking information available.
They also sell a paid Premium subscription that offers features such as the ability to schedule packages for delivery another day, delivery packages to another address and request a confirmed delivery window of two hours. However, you do not have to pay anything just to track your incoming packages and receive notifications.
UPS may send notifications by email or text message when you have one package scheduled for next day delivery, another on the day the package is out for delivery and a final notification when it is delivered, if the delivery date changes or when it is ready to pick up at a UPS location.
You can customize your notifications on the UPS My Choice Preferences page of the UPS website. Look for the “Delivery Alerts” options under Alerts.
FedEx offers a similar service called “FedEx Delivery Manager”, which you can register for free online. Using the online dashboard or app, you can see the tracking information for all packages sent to your address. You can also take any available steps, such as providing shipping instructions or asking FedEx to keep the package nearby so you can pick it up yourself. You may be able to pay to schedule the delivery for a different date and time or deliver it to another address as well, depending on the package.
You can choose to receive notifications via email, text message or even an automatic audio call. These notifications can be customized so that you can choose what you want to be notified about and how. Messages are available when a package is first addressed to you, the day before delivery, on the day of delivery, if there is a delivery problem, when a package is delivered to your address or when the scheduled delivery time has changed.
With the default settings, for example, you receive e-mail notifications when a package arrives tomorrow, the day it is out for delivery and when it has actually been delivered to your address.
The US Postal Service’s Informed Delivery Service is available nationwide in the United States. Postal services in other countries may offer similar services.
The UPS My Choice service is currently available in the US and in thirteen other countries, while Fedex Delivery Manager only seems to be available in the US at this time. Hopefully, UPS and Fedex will expand these tools internationally, as they are very useful.
Image credit: Sean Locke Photography / Shutterstock.com.