In an era of rapidly expanding online shopping, the USPS has introduced a game-changing solution – the USPS Parcel Locker. This innovative system promises to increase convenience and security for both postal carriers and recipients.
The concept of a USPS parcel locker is unfamiliar to many individuals. In some post offices, you might have noticed a collection of parcel lockers. As commerce and technology develop, we will see many innovations in postal service along with other sectors.
This guide will give you all the information about USPS Parcel Lockers, including what a parcel locker is, how it works, its advantages and disadvantages, etc.
What is a USPS Parcel Locker?
A USPS Parcel Locker is a secure, self-service mailbox provided by the USPS as part of its package delivery services. These lockers are typically situated at USPS post offices and residential areas. These are a good system for securely storing packages. Parcel lockers simplify the process for people to receive oversized packages that may not fit inside regular mailbox sections.
Types of Parcel Lockers at USPS
Parcel lockers come in two types. One type of parcel lockers are owned by the USPS, that are found in post offices. They are easily available to the public. The other type of parcel lockers is privately owned (company), which are located in businesses.
You may need to register for an account with the individual business in order to use a privately held parcel locker.
Check out a brief explanation of each parcel locker type:
USPS-Owned Parcel Lockers
USPS-owned parcel lockers come in three types:
|1||Standard Lockers||These are designed for packages under 20 pounds.|
|2||Large Lockers||These lockers are made to handle packages exceeding 20 pounds.|
|3||Package Pickup Lockers||These types of lockers are designated for returned packages at the post office.|
Privately-Owned Parcel Lockers
Privately owned parcel lockers fall into two different types:
|1||Residential Lockers||These are designed for packages destined for residential addresses.|
|2||Business Lockers||These types of lockers are designed for packages destined for commercial establishments.|
You are obliged to give your own lock & key regardless of the locker type you choose. This is necessary to ensure the safety of both you and your package.
How Do USPS Parcel Lockers Work?
USPS Parcel Lockers offer mailbox and post office box holders a convenient way to collect packages outside regular hours or during busy times.
When a package is delivered to a USPS Parcel Locker, you will typically see a tracking update that reads “Delivered to Parcel Locker.” If you do not check the tracking information, you will receive a key inside your mailbox.
This key, attached to a plastic tag, corresponds to a specific parcel locker identified by a number or letter. Find the matching locker, insert the key, and it will remain unlocked until you retrieve your package.
Once you collect your package, leave the locker empty. There is also a possibility that USPS may keep your multiple packages in the same locker. Postal workers will reset the locker for the next customer to use.
Also Read – Does USPS Deliver on Saturday?
Advantages of Using USPS Parcel Lockers
There are several benefits to using a USPS Parcel Locker. Here are some of them;
Parcel lockers provide the convenience of retrieving your packages at your convenience, eliminating worries about missed deliveries.
USPS Parcel Locker is a secure way to receive packages, as they are locked and protected from being taken by anyone else.
Using a parcel locker is cost-effective as it eliminates the need for shipping and handling charges as your package is delivered directly to the locker.
4. 24 Hours Access:
You have round-the-clock access i.e. 24 hours to these lockers, So, you can collect your package any time it’s convenient for you.
Disadvantages of Using USPS Parcel Lockers
One disadvantage of using USPS Parcel Lockers is the need to have your package collected within a specific time frame. Typically, these lockers hold packages for a maximum of three days, after which they will be returned to the sender.
Therefore, if you are likely to be out of the city for some time, it is advisable to send your packages to a trusted friend or family member who can hold them until you return.
Also Read – What Does Shipping Mean?
How Much Do Parcel Lockers Cost?
The major shipping companies offer parcel lockers to domestic users for free. Their availability is dependent on whether the service has been rolled out in your area.
Each service has a different number of days that you can collect your mail. Below, we’ve outlined the rules of the five largest mail carriers.
|Locker Service||Free Storage Allowance*||Price|
|USPS Gopost||15 working days||Free|
|UPS Access Point||7 working days||Free|
|DHL Lockers||7 working days||Free|
|FedEx Ship&Get||5 working days||Free|
|Amazon Lockers||3 working days||Free|
USPS Smart Parcel Lockers
In the year 2022, the USPS unveiled an upgraded version of its parcel locker, known as the Smart Parcel Locker. Instead of traditional keys, these smart lockers use 6-digit access codes, which are transmitted to recipients via text messages or email.
After reaching the post office you simply ensure to enter your access code at the Smart Parcel Locker Kiosk. Once you enter the code, you will be directed to the specific locker where your package is stored. It is important to note that packages must be retrieved from these smart parcel lockers within 5 days of their delivery.
Currently, there are only 66 Smart Parcel Locker locations in the United States, a limited number compared to the vast network of more than 30,000 US Post Offices across the country. However, it is expected that in the future, we will see Smart Parcel Lockers in more and more post offices in the US.
How Much Do Smart Lockers Cost?
The cost of smart lockers may vary depending on their specific configuration. However, for a typical unit with 20 to 25 lockers and a refrigerated unit with 8 to 10 lockers, the hardware cost totals $21,000.
Additionally, the one-time cost for shipping and installation should remain under $2,000. There may also be a monthly maintenance fee, which can range from a few hundred dollars depending on the company which is the owner of the locker.
Are USPS Parcel Lockers PO Boxes?
Many people are confused that both parcel lockers and PO boxes are the same. But, these are actually two distinct things.
PO boxes serve as substitute mailboxes for sending letters and packages directly, while parcel lockers do not serve as addresses for receiving mail and packages, and you cannot send packages to them directly.
Still, if you send a large package that can’t fit in a PO box, USPS can move it to a parcel locker at the same post office and provide a key inside the PO box to access it.
You have no control over whether USPS will use a parcel locker during the delivery of your package. USPS will typically use a parcel locker if the package being sent or received cannot fit into a standard mailbox or PO box due to its size.
Also Read – Does UPS Deliver To PO Boxes?
Who Can Deliver to Parcel Lockers?
Parcel lockers are particularly accessible to USPS for package delivery, especially for packages that are too small for standard mailboxes. After a locker holder uses the parcel locker key to retrieve their package, only a USPS postal employee has the ability to remove the key using the master key, ensuring the safety and security of your packages.
How to Get Packages From a Parcel Locker?
In this section, you will know how you can get the packages from a parcel locker.
- First, you should find a locker that best suits your needs. To do this, go to the USPS website, enter your zip code, and you’ll receive a list of available parcel lockers near you.
- Once you have selected the suitable locker, now wait patiently for your package to arrive.
- When your specific package arrives, you will receive a unique code or key. This code or key gives you access to your locker, so you can retrieve your package.
- In the case of privately operated lockers, as mentioned earlier, you may need to register with the company to use their services. Nevertheless, many parcel locker providers may allow you to access their lockers without even requiring you to create an account.
- Once you get the code or key, you can walk up to the locker, input the code, and unlock the locker with ease. You can then retrieve your package.
What is the Package Storage Period in a Parcel Locker?
Typically, the package is kept in the parcel locker for about 7 to 10 days. If you do not collect your package from the locker within this time frame, it will be sent back to the sender. Hence, if you are expecting a package, it is necessary to periodically inspect your parcel locker to ensure that you receive it on time.
USPS Parcel Locker Location
Many post offices have USPS Parcel Lockers. To find a USPS parcel locker location near you, you can visit the official USPS website or use their mobile App. They have a locator tool that allows you to search for nearby parcel lockers based on your address or zip code. This will provide you with the latest information on available locations.
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1. What does it mean when USPS says “Delivered to Parcel Lockers?
When USPS says “Delivered to Parcel Locker”, it means that your package has been successfully delivered and placed inside the parcel locker. Parcel lockers are secure compartments often found in centralized package delivery areas, such as some post offices and apartment complexes.
2. How do I find my USPS parcel locker?
The USPS uses parcel lockers when packages are too large for the mailbox. If your package goes to a locker, the mail carrier leaves a key in your mailbox. Typically, these parcel lockers are located near mailboxes and have large compartments.
3. Why was my package sent to a parcel locker?
When a package does not fit into a standard mailbox slot, it will be placed inside a parcel locker by the mail carrier.
You don’t have to be home to receive your package. USPS parcel locker is a great solution, where your package remains safe, and from there you can get your package.
4. How long can a package stay in a parcel locker?
The length of time a package can remain in a parcel locker may vary depending on the policies of the specific locker provider or post office location. Typically, packages are kept for a limited amount of time, which is a maximum of 10 days. After that period, packages may be returned to the sender.
Hence, It is essential to check with the post office location or locker provider where the parcel locker is located to obtain accurate information regarding their policies. We would say that it would be best to collect the package from the parcel locker as soon as possible after delivery.
5. Does USPS leave a key for parcel lockers?
Yes! If your package is placed in a USPS Parcel Locker, you will receive a single-use key in your mailbox. After unlocking the parcel locker using the key, it will be locked in the keyhole. Only post office employees can unlock it.
6. How do you open a parcel locker without a key?
You generally cannot open a parcel locker without a key. USPS Parcel Lockers are specifically designed to require keys for access, and these keys are only issued to individuals placing mail inside the locker.
Any tampering with USPS property is considered a Federal crime. If you have been notified that your package is in the parcel locker, but have not found the key in your mailbox, it is advisable to contact your mail carrier or visit your local post office for assistance.
7. Is a parcel locker a mailbox?
A Parcel locker is not the same as a mailbox. While both are used to receive mail or packages, a mailbox is a small box where letters and small packages are placed for postal delivery.
In contrast, a parcel locker is a secure storage unit, often found in post offices and residential areas. It is designed to receive and temporarily store large packages. When a package is delivered to the parcel locker, the recipient accesses the parcel locker using the code or key given to them.
Also Read – Does USPS deliver on Sundays? 2023 Updates
USPS Parcel Lockers have revolutionized the way we receive packages, providing convenience and security to both senders and recipients. These lockers provide solutions to common delivery challenges, such as missed deliveries and package theft. As online shopping continues to grow, USPS parcel lockers are becoming an essential part of modern mail delivery services.
Hello, I’m Kevin, a passionate philatelist from Brooklyn, NY, with years of experience in collecting and studying stamps. Through my blog, I aim to share my knowledge and insights on all things related to stamps, including where to buy them and their current market value. As a trained researcher, I pride myself on providing accurate and trustworthy information to my readers. Feel free to reach out to me through the contact form with any questions or suggestions. Happy stamping!