English: Letters in a post office box in a US ...

English: Letters in a post office box in a US post office lobby. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was waiting to write about this until it was active on the USPS website but it still doesn’t seem to be (at least not in my account) so this info is all based off a letter I received from my local postmaster. It appears that, until they get the website updated, you have to call your local postmaster to opt into these features for now. In short, in the near future, USPS Post Office boxes will be getting the following new features:

  • Email or Text Message notification of new mail: This service is, to me, the most overdue. Just like they say, they’ll email or text you whenever you get new mail in your box so that you don’t have to bother going to check it when you know there’s nothing new. Just about all the third party postal boxes already had this service so it’s very nice to see the USPS finally catching up. The letter from my postmaster calls this, “Real Mail Notification Services.” Does this mean real-time notification or that they’ll only alert you for “real mail” aka not junk mail? I’m hoping the latter.
  • Street Addressing: The ability to use the actual Post Office street address for incoming mail. Their letter advertises that this would give your business more credibility but I’m more excited about the fact that this would let us get packages such as FedEx and UPS delivered to our PO Boxes through this loophole (which the letter calls “private carriers”. It’s also great for those official registrations (hello, US Government) that don’t let you use a PO Box for your public address.
  • They’ll sign for packages for you. Leave your signature on file with them and they’ll accept signature required mail and packages on your behalf. The downside? They’ll only do it for USPS services, not retail services like UPS and FedEx.

As a PO Box owner, I’m really glad to see them adding some of these services and I’m frankly amazed to see them playing nice with UPS, FedEx and other retail carriers with the street addressing feature. This really does eliminate most of my objections to a USPS PO Box over those at retail centers and at least brings them up to speed (services wise, price is another story) with their competitors.

But are changes like these enough to save the USPS? What do you think?