The Automated Postal Center (APC) is a self-service kiosk typically placed in Post Office lobbies to provide customers with a convenient alternative to the full-service counter. APCs offer customers a wide range of postal products, services, and information.

Based on the user’s direction via touch screen and PIN pad, APCs can weigh and rate letters, flats, and parcels up to 70 pounds. APCs dispense variable rate postage in any denomination for Express, Priority, First Class, International (under 1 lb), and Parcel Post Mail. APCs also provide customers the option to purchase Delivery Confirmation, Signature Confirmation, Insurance, Certified, and Return Receipt services. APCs allow customers to print Express Mail forms and perform ZIP Code lookup. APCs accept debit, credit, and EBT cards for payment and generate a receipt.

Many APCs are available 24 hours, 7 days per week. There are 2,495 APCs in use today. In its Strategic Transformation Plan, the Postal Service set a goal to double the percent of retail transactions conducted at alternative channels, such as the APC. However, in many cases consumers avoid the APC, and continue to come to the retail counter for transactions.

[poll id="3"] [poll id="2"] [poll id="4"]

What would motivate you to use the APC kiosk or the internet to purchase Postal products?

What other service options could make it easier for you to mail a letter or package?

We invite you to join our discussion by clicking the "Comments" link below.

Comments (74)

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  • anon

    A "how to" video (posted on YouTube or some other accessible site to view at home) that details what can and can't be done on the kiosk would make it less intimidating.

    Jan 30, 2016
  • anon

    The kiosk that I've used many times to mail first class and parcel post today would ONLY give me the choice of priority mail, which was more expensive. Have the kiosks changed?

    Jan 16, 2016
  • anon

    I submitted my payment via credit card as required but did not receive any stamps. This was at the 3400 Coit Road, Plano 75075 It was Sunday and staff were not available. How do I request a refund? I have my receipt. Thank you. Olga

    Jan 04, 2016
  • anon

    Exact problem...paid and did not receive postage. Sunday, 1/17, in Cary 27511.

    Jan 17, 2016
  • anon

    For the customer to be able to print a tracking number for their package

    Dec 29, 2015
  • anon

    I would use the kiosk much more if I could mail packages to Canada.

    Dec 14, 2015
  • anon

    I think is great idea, it well help with the USPS not hiring anymore and overpaying in pensions. Plus that kiosk is easy step by step machine. I love it. Good job USPS.

    Dec 02, 2015
  • anon

    It is absolutely necessary for your self-service kiosks and options to accept CASH! Not every person has debit or credit, and it is difficult to find an office that stays open past 4. People have jobs, and few jobs let out before 4pm. With you making it impossible to get help at USPS, WHY WOULDN'T THE PUBLIC VISIT OTHER VENDORS WHO ACTUALLY SERVE THEIR NEEDS? You have set your company up for failure, then ask why you are failing. With your discriminatory policies, you are putting undue pressure on impoverished people, and impoverished people are the largest group in America. Why must you alienate the people who need you most? Until you can pay cash at the kiosk, you show prejudice against the poor. It proves your prejudice that your hours do not support the working poor. When did government institutions become purely focused on rich people?

    Dec 17, 2014
  • anon

    Email Confirmation would be AWESOME. If these machines allowed you to send an email receipt (optionally), it would be extremely useful. I recently paid extra for delivery confirmation. Unfortunately, the tracking number here comes in the form of a receipt instead of on the bright green tag you get at the counter. The receipt was mistakenly thrown away and now there is no way for me to find out if my package was delivered. If there was an option at the end stating "Would you prefer a printed or emailed receipt?" then allowing you to enter your email address if you selected email, it could EASILY prevent similar occurrences. Just a thought if someone with the APC program at the USPS is reading this.

    Dec 25, 2011
  • anon

    I use the free delivery confirmation tags..that you are speaking of. I used this kiosk for the first time last week. I already had my confirmation tag on it...whe the customer service lady showed me how to use the kiosk. I am assuming that someone takes the paackages from the chute and scans them in..because all we did was put in the zip, select first class and delivery confirmation. I did not have the confirmation number on my reciept..but had saved my end of the green tag..and that number was able to be be tracked just fine.

    Aug 23, 2012
  • anon

    In spain we need something like this, when we go to mail office we have to wait a lot time. We need work, no wait !!!!

    Sep 30, 2011
  • anon

    I came here looking for details about the APC-dimensions, weight of package, etc. If people are going to use these the information about what can be dropped here needs to be readily available AT HOME so I don't get to the APC and find out I can't use it. I know the size and weight of my package is okay but does the APC allow me to drop Click-N-Ship packages (15 ozs.) in it?

    Aug 07, 2011
  • anon

    How hard would it be to figure out the maximum dimensions for the APC and post them somewhere on USPS.com? No wonder the post office is losing money.

    Dec 19, 2011
  • anon

    Marie, the weight limit for all PO drop boxes is 13 ounces if it is being shipped with uncanceled stamps. If it's a preprinted label, such as one from Click-N-Ship, there is no limit. As far as the dimensions go, I'm not sure, but a Large Flat Rate Box (12x12x5) will fit in the chute no problem.

    Aug 13, 2011
  • anon
    Anthony

    I am for automation to avoid long lines that is a plus. It will work because it worked for the secretary of the state branches. I start using the USPS more often because I found that it is cheaper than most shipping companies and my items arrive not broken that is a plus.

    May 23, 2011
  • anon

    I use these machines frequently and only go to the desk if I have questions. I also use online a lot. However, today I had an experience that makes me wary to use these machines. I had a small package returned for .37 postage. I was waiting in line to ask about it but it's so irritating waiting for slow people making up their minds about which stamps to buy that I just went to the machine to buy a stamp and be done with it. Since my daughter had mailed it for me, I thought I'd double check the postage. Second time same amount $1.68. I was annoyed and wanted to say something but now the line was longer. So I just bought a stamp and mailed it. It took an extra couple of days to do this - what if I was in a hurry? Can I trust the calibration on these machines again? Not sure.

    May 13, 2011
  • anon

    I wish the post office I frequent would provide these. This would help a lot during rush hour and for simple things like purchasing stamps, etc.

    Oct 02, 2010
  • anon

    One error in this article, APC does not offer Signature Confirmation.

    May 18, 2010
  • anon

    I love to purchase stamps at the APC and use them when it is inconvenient to go to the PO. I have had packages returned to me, however, because the stamps I used were several days old. There needs to be a massive educational campaign to teach USPS employees that stamps veneded at the APC do not expire. They ate not like meters.

    Feb 08, 2010
  • anon

    I would use the apc kiosk at the post office if I could weigh and mail 'media mail'. If you sell books on line you often have to mail them within three days. since the kiosk is open after hours we could avoid standing on line and taking time off from work just to mail a few books. Also, concerning the size of packages that can fit inside the automated opening, I wish it were a little bigger, especially for Christmas gifts.

    Aug 26, 2009
  • anon

    Anyone know if you can use these APC machines when you're sending packages via the Media Mail rate?

    May 27, 2009
  • anon

    Based on the following FAQ from the Postal Service's site, I don't think so. You can access this by searching for APC on http://faq.usps.com. What is the Automated Postal Center? The Automated Postal Center (APC) is a self-service kiosk that enables you to: Weigh and send packages up to 70 pounds Note: For all transactions you must use a debit or credit card International Mail over 16oz. is not accepted Weigh and send packages with dimensions up to 15" wide X 12" deep X 6" high Purchase postage after an item is weighed on the machine Postage dispensed is an Information Based Indicia and should be placed on the package the same as conventional stamps Send using the following Domestic Classes / Services: Express Mail® items First-Class Mail® items Priority Mail® items Parcel Post packages Certified Mail service Delivery Confirmation TM Insurance up to $500.00 Return Receipts Purchase stamps Pay with debit or credit cards Find a ZIP Code value with a ZIP+4 Finder Lookup information on Postal services

    Jun 01, 2009
  • anon

    The report is on the IG website http://www.uspsoig.gov/foia_files/DA-AR-09-004.pdf

    Feb 26, 2009
  • anon

    I've used the APC for various purposes. What I don't like is when you are forced to buy a book of stamps to complete your transaction. It could be a really great thing if it were used like an ATM.

    Feb 03, 2009
  • anon

    The APC in my post office lobby doesn't dispense variable rate postage "in any denomination" -- only in denominations of $1.00 or more (besides offering a sheet of 42-cent stamps). In this way it is not a satisfactory substitute for the vending machines it replaced, but with a little re-programming it could be.

    Feb 03, 2009
  • anon
    ms87gn

    the APC is a great complement to the USPS services. it is not intended to replace the window service. i think we will see more and more of them strategically placed throughout America going forward. I luuuuuuuuv using the one near my home when i get in the EBAY mode. it's sooooooooooo convenient. have a great day!

    Feb 02, 2009
  • anon

    I would like to see the USPS jump on board the electronic age... WE CAN do this by thinking outside the "stamp" so to speak, by offering our customer base e-certified options, e-fax services through our secure servers that time date stamps everything (electronic postmark)that could (if done right) could ultimately eliminate the need for faxes... Atty's, financial institutions, CPA's etc... sending all those documents that they fax now, through our e-USPS secure servers... all for a fee that the USPS collects, without ever having actually touched a piece of paper... e-services such as internet cafe's at USPS installations with a coffee machine, snacks etc...

    Dec 30, 2008
  • anon

    I think the APCs are a great idea. Reminds me of the transition to self checkout registers at the grocery stores. However, it may help the transition to have a real person near to APCs to assist customers as they use the new technology. The grocery stores have realized that having a real person to assist the self checkout systems is critical to making the automated system accepted by customers.

    Nov 25, 2008
  • anon

    (YOUR QUESTION - What would motivate me to use the internet to purchase postal products?) I have a couple 1st - everyone knows you can't tape over USPS postage -your letter/package comes back.: I don't keep stickers in my house. I don't know if I can print out my postal postage purchase on regular paper and then tape it securely to my package/letter. Exposed postage = torn off postage. 2nd - I know about the 13oz rule.: I do not own a scale. How am I supposed to know if I have to go to the window or not? 3rd - I still have to take parcels to a mailbox as I won't leave it out for carrier pick up. And no -- working graveyard -- I will not schedule for the carrier to come some time today to pick it up. Easier to drop it off. (Don't worry USPS you are not the only business not user-friendly to those of us working nontradional schedules) To end on a positive note I am not worried about identity theft from using your service. The USPS has a lot of security measures in place to protect their customers. This is not something that would keep me from using your services.

    Nov 12, 2008
  • anon

    I like the idea of having APCs at malls and airports and other high traffic locations. However, if people are using them to mail packages you almost have to have a human there full time because whatever system you put in place will fill up quickly (unlike with letters and flats). In my day to day life I would probably make regular use of one at the grocery store (mailing bills while buying groceries - no extra stops!). Another cool place would be near the gift shops in national parks, museums, amusement parks and other touristy places. You could buy the postcard, write it out right then, and mail it. No having to get to it later. In this case you would need a high volume site like a National Park, the National Mall, Disneyworld or the Smithsonian. The units are relatively unobtrusive so you might even be able to get one in or near living history sites like Williamsburg, Virginia. Just some suggestions that might be good places to try it out. But really anyplace with high foot traffic where someone might like to mail a momento would work.

    Nov 12, 2008
  • anon
    okely dokely

    Can these be placed in the PO Box area where there is 24/7 access?

    Nov 06, 2008
  • anon
    Sharon

    The Postal Service have APC's at many locations in the PO Box areas in the lobby with 24 hour acess. Can you think of other locations you think the APC could be placed?

    Nov 06, 2008
  • anon

    Any fairly safe 24 hour store. The obvious eg. Walmart, grocery stores, drug stores, convenience stores(ECON,WAWA). Maybe even big truck stops. Seems like there would be a need there for packaging supplies and an APC.

    Nov 12, 2008
  • anon

    gift shops at high traffic tourist sites. (see post below)

    Nov 12, 2008
  • anon
    Answer Man

    Post Offices locate the APC in the PO Box area where they can. The APC is certainly a welcome addition where it is available during hours the Post Office counter is closed.

    Nov 06, 2008
  • anon

    I'll have to find an APC and try it out. Sounds intresting.

    Nov 01, 2008
  • anon
    Sharon

    You can find an APC Kiosk by inquiring on USPS.com. I think once you use it you will always use it!

    Nov 04, 2008
  • anon

    Thanks, found out on USPS.com closest APC is 32 miles away.

    Nov 09, 2008
  • anon

    Only 32 miles. I found out the closest one to me is 92 miles away. However that distance must be as the Crow flies because where they say it is is over 120 miles away by the shortest road.

    Jul 18, 2009
  • anon
    Answer Man

    Snap: One huge problem I have with my local APC: It is not available when the Post Office is closed, which is after 5 PM on weekdays! After 5, the APC seems to taunt late arrivers from behind the locked glass doors. The self-service machine could serve their needs if only it were not behind locked doors.

    Oct 30, 2008
  • anon
    Sharon

    Answer Man: I wonder if not having access to the APC during after hours could be why some of the Post Offices are not getting the use expected.

    Oct 30, 2008
  • anon

    I work graveyard and the APC at my local post office is in the lobby. (24 hour access). I use it regularly and it works great since I am rarely on a daytime schedule.

    Nov 12, 2008
  • anon

    I see the APC in the postal lobby all the time but I do not seem to have the time to figure out what it can do for me. My bet is that I am not alone. The Postal Service has done a terrible job of marketing the machine. If the Post Service is serious about the APC machine then it would educate the public via commercials or with personnel in the lobbies. Finally, the APC should be placed where the market is.

    Oct 30, 2008
  • anon
    Sharon

    Answer man: I am glad you tried the APC. It is really easy! If others would give it a try they would also be repeat users because it is so convenient especially when the lines are long or the Post Office is closed. In addition, the Postal Service would have the confidence to place the kiosk in retail spaces for sure!

    Oct 30, 2008
  • anon
    Answer Man

    I used the APC for the first time yesterday at the Aspen Hill Post Office. What a breeze! I mailed two large envelopes needing weight and postage. There was a line of about 10 people at the counter and one person at the APC when I arrived. My time from the car to the APC and back was 6 minutes. Using that machine is soooo easy it will forever change the way I mail!

    Oct 30, 2008
  • anon

    Discounts and other incentives like "Free" Delivery Confirmation with purchase would motivate me to use an APC kiosk. In addition, make services to mail packages internationally on the APC kiosk.

    Oct 29, 2008
  • anon
    grannybunny

    Dear BMEU Clerk: From the customer's standpoint, the only required scans on Delivery Confirmation are for delivery efforts, not for processing along the way. However, many units also scan these items prior to "the last mile." These internal scans are accessible to ACE Users via the Blue page. The new Intelligent Mail barcodes will make it possible to locate items throughout the system. In a related vein -- related to APC's, anyway -- according to today's Link, there is a FULL-SERVICE POST OFFICE in the Pittsburgh International Airport!

    Oct 24, 2008
  • anon
    BMEU CLERK

    Grannybunny, It is now 11/4. I talked to my daughter in law, she said he got one package a week later, (as expected, the scanned one.) The second one has not arrived and only has an acceptance scan. I still maintain that scans are useless if the employees along the way don't do them. 2 points. Why would I try and sell a service, to the public, that I can't back up with personal experience and why would I want to waste my money again?

    Nov 04, 2008
  • anon
    Answer Man

    The last 2 time I visited my local Giant Food Store there was a line up at the DVD Rental self-service machine while at the same time a customer was using the Coinstar self-service machine nearby. It seems that self-service is much more popular than in the past. Where would you like to see APCs located?

    Oct 24, 2008
  • anon

    I would use APC if it was located in a convenient place. This would help me to avoid using leave from work to get to the post office before closing.

    Oct 23, 2008

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