Do you mail in your tax returns? Have you ever received a summons for jury duty? If so, it’s likely you’ve sent or received Certified Mail — a special service from the U.S. Postal Service that provides proof of mailing to the sender.

With its distinctive green label, Certified Mail is easily recognizable. It can be added to other mail products like First-Class Mail or Priority Mail for an extra fee. And with its proof of mailing, full tracking through the postal network, and confirmation of delivery/attempted delivery, Certified Mail is a valued service for people, businesses, and governments.

U.S. legal and financial systems rely on Certified Mail transactions, which can be used as evidence in legal proceedings that a document was sent or received. Many businesses and governments are required to send certain types of notices by Certified Mail. Even when it isn’t required, customers often choose to send important documents like tax returns, contracts, or cashier’s checks with Certified Mail because of the increased confidence in delivery.

As noted in our new white paper, Delivering Peace of Mind: Certified Mail and the U.S. Postal Service, Certified Mail is the highest-selling USPS ancillary service, earning $670 million in revenue in fiscal year 2016. When revenues from base postage and related services like Return Receipts and Adult Signatures are added, total revenue associated with Certified Mail is estimated to exceed $1 billion.

Yet, recent declines in Certified Mail use suggest it’s time for innovation. The Americans we surveyed expressed broad interest in innovating Certified Mail, such as providing a digital receipt to the sender or offering a fully electronic version of Certified Mail that could be used to transmit electronic documents. Many respondents said such developments would likely increase their use of Certified Mail.

Do you use Certified Mail? What do you like about the service? What product enhancements would make you more likely to use Certified Mail? What other ways could the Postal Service improve their Certified Mail services? 

Comments (6)

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  • anon

    I observed a postal truck in the handicap parking spot at about 12:15 located in the shopping mall at 522 N. Orange St. neat Vons grocery store. I feel this is in insult to me and all handicap persons who need that place to park. I know " just for a minute" is the excuse that is given but it is still against the law and carries a fine for someone who does. How is this OK for USPS to allow this to be acceptable.

    Dec 08, 2017
  • anon

    I am writing to voice my recent experiences with first class mail. There were 4 items that went missing. One was forwarded to me from the person that received them in error. I did make a report but I was told that it is unkown what happened. After a truck was in my neighborhood I found a large box in the middle of my street. I hand delivered it to the address 2 blocks away. I contacted my bank to encourage them to find a more reliable way to send billpay items. What is being done to improve delivery?

    Dec 06, 2017
  • anon

    In my view, the existing electronic Signature Confirmation service should replace the "old school" certified mail--comparable cost, better tracking, recipient signature with the date it was received and signed for, signature image available online, which can be printed out if a hard copy is required, etc. Within my organization, a university, I have been encouraging those who have been using certified mail in the past to switch to the electronic Signature Confirmation service and have experienced no issues or complaints.

    Nov 29, 2017
  • anon

    I would be cautious about using digital service for things like this. Too many tales of packages/items being scanned as delivered when they're still in the truck. Sometimes a hard copy notice can be the most trusted thing.

    Nov 29, 2017
  • anon

    My neighborhood off of Fanny Brown Rd. Raleigh 27603 is experience failure to deliver or pick up mail on Mondays. It has happen more than once in the recent weeks and I find this unacceptable. There must be something that can be done to stop this failure of service!!!!!!! If anyone can tell me how to contact the appropriate person to complain to i would appreciate it. How dare the postmaster in the Raleigh area allow this type of service. The person in charge of the Tryon Rd. post office needs to be fired!!!!!

    Nov 28, 2017
  • anon

    MY COMPLAINT 1. A CERTIFIED LETTER WAS DROPPED IN MY MAIL BOX ALONG WITH REGULAR MAIL 2. A CERTIFIED LETTER WAS LOST 3. POSTMAN DID NOT LEAVE A NOTIFICATION SLIP TO INFORM ME THAT I HAVE A LETTER WAITING TO BE PICKED UP AT THE POST OFFICE.

    Nov 27, 2017

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