USPS's Informed Delivery Service Shows You Your Mail Before It's Even Delivered

Get a morning email that lists the letters and bills you'll receive later in the day.

Now that a coronavirus outbreak is spreading across the U.S., even the walk to your mailroom or mailbox to see if you’ve received anything important can feel like running a risky, germ-dodging gantlet. On most days, you’re probably questioning if it’s even worth the trip.

Great news: You don’t have to wonder. The U.S. Postal Service offers Informed Delivery, a program that lets customers preview their mail in email form. Users who sign up for the free service get a morning email with photos of the envelopes that will hit their mailbox later that day.

Informed Delivery expanded to the majority of the U.S. in 2017 and has been especially helpful for people who travel often and want to keep track of their mail back home.

It’s also been useful for large households: Family members or roommates who don’t usually check the physical mailbox can look at the email and know if any letters will arrive for them that day.

The program was also meant to keep snail mail relevant in our email era by making it “more interesting” to young people who are always on their phones. And on another serious note, Informed Delivery is a great way to find out if someone is stealing your mail.

Now, when your best course of action is staying inside, it can save you a trip outside.

USPS already photographs every piece of mail that runs through its automation system, so Informed Delivery doesn’t mean a new level of surveillance.

You can sign up for Informed Delivery on the program’s website.