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.

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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 (101)

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  • anon

    I used the kiosks all the time finding them time-saving with the hours I work and convenience. I never had a problem UNTIL my cards were replaced with chip cards. The kiosks do not accept the chip card at all. I asked the man at the counter when they were planning on upgrading and he said he didn't know. The holidays will be upon us soon and a lot of money will be lost if people are not able to use their cards at the kiosk. Do you know when this will be changed.

    Jul 14, 2016
  • anon

    Can I put a tracking number on an envelope at a self serve kiosk?

    Jul 13, 2016
  • anon

    Where is the tracking number on my receipt from a self-service Kiosk?

    Jul 08, 2016
  • anon

    If I could be assured that the postmark given by kiosk would be current and honoured to establish mailing of item.

    Jul 06, 2016
  • anon

    Clear guarantees of upgrade or replacement of postage if the Kiosk fails to dispense its postage label for USPS one-rate-boxes. The machine took all my data, charged my credit card and printed the postage but NOTHING came out of the machine postage printer except my receipt from the receipt slot. So my after hours trip to the post office was for nothing and I need to go back and talk to a human about getting my postage... hopefully no one threw threw the postage label away.

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    Who do we contact if we purchase stamps from the kiosk but no stamps were dispensed? My card was charged and I got the label I purchased but the stamps never came out. I just want my stamps not a refund but I work during business hours.

    Jun 22, 2016
  • anon

    When I lived in Greenbelt Maryland, most of the area post offices had self service kiosks that were maintained and operational. This was a huge convenience in an area where the post offices have long lines and are always very busy. Now I live in the Greenville South Carolina area and only two post offices in the suburbs have the self service kiosk. Neither of these is my local post office, zip 29681. It seems that the postal employees don't like to maintain the kiosk and would rather have customers wait in line. Why can't every post office have a self service kiosk?

    Jun 19, 2016
  • anon

    I hate that I cannot select media mail on the APC. Our Post Office the THE Slowest (I usually go to one 3 cities away and it take less time (haha), so I love the APC because I: 1. know exactly what I want to ship and how to ship it 2. don't need a human to handle anything special. I can understand the USPS wants to make sure we are using media mail ONLY for media (and I'm a book maven); however, we certify that we are not shipping anything that's not allowed via the APC, so we should be able to do this as well. I'd even be OK if you had to know a code to use it.

    Jun 18, 2016
  • anon

    I agree about media mail as well. I am able to do it from ebay shipping, so I would love to be able to do it at a kiosk (and on Click-n-Ship, but that's another matter). It's the same commitment and assent to search, right? Thanks.

    Jul 09, 2016
  • anon

    I completely agree about Media Rate packages! I run a small Vinyl Record Store internet site, and would use the kiosks almost exclusively if I could send Media Rate with modest insurance from them.

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    The self-service kiosk, located at 2 Federal Square in Newark, NJ, is just as inefficient as the workers, yet not as ghetto.

    Jun 18, 2016
  • anon

    I recently tried to purchase a money order at the USPS here in Staten Island, NY. The clerk laughed at me and embarrassed me in front of customers. I thought It would be legitimate to use a Federally Funded Program to pay one of my student credit card bills. Well despite the fact that I checked on the official USPS website to verify the EBT cash form of payment, I was denied. Please help me or follow up with the Stapleton Post Office at located at 160 Tompkins Ave, Staten Island, NY 10304. This incident happened 1:00pm -1:30pm on June ,17th , 2016. I am absolutely angry about this and will also notify my local State officials to make a complaint about all of what has happened so far. After speaking with my attorney, I'm thinking about filing a lawsuit or maybe a grievance of some kind. I will notify the Attorney General for New York State and I will be contacting more people about this matter. I am just so angry. - Jorge L Melendez

    Jun 17, 2016
  • anon

    It would be useful to be able to purchase money orders at kiosks using debit cards.

    Jun 11, 2016
  • anon

    I have had two envelopes go missing after mailing through the self-service kiosk. They both went from Dallas to Austin and should have taken 2-3 days, First Class. I could have just put stamps on them, but thought that with a receipt I would be able to track it if it was lost, but I don't see tracking info anywhere. Do we have to pay for tracking to be able to trust that the USPS can actually deliver the mail?

    Jun 07, 2016
  • anon

    I am having the same issues. Package was expected from TX to CA on July 5th it is now the tenth and I shipped it out on the 30th of June. No tracking info anywhere on the kiosk receipts. Where did the package go? That was my first time using that kiosk and never again will I. I'll wait in a long line in a short staffed post office with rude workers rather than a kiosk that ruins my business, plus my reputation, and looses my packages as a bonus. SO NOT HAPPY.

    Jul 10, 2016
  • anon

    I agree. I am currently looking for a kiosk in my area and that's how ingot to this website. We need to be able to search for the kiosks as so many have been REMOVED from our local post offices.

    May 27, 2016
  • anon

    It would be beneficial to provide a list of post office locations that have a self service kiosk.

    May 19, 2016
  • anon

    The non-availability of a post mark from the kiosk that will show the day I used the kiosk to purchase postage makes it pretty useless to me. Processing certified mail with a return receipt is not very easy via kiosk, and so I always go to the counter. If you fix the post mark issue with the kiosks, I might go through the extra hassle of using the kiosk for certified mailings. Short of that, the kiosk is not very helpful.

    May 11, 2016
  • anon

    We need more of the self-service machines and to be able to mail internationally. There is still a long line sometimes at our local self-service kiosk.

    Apr 23, 2016
  • anon

    I'm fine with the kiosk, but just found out, although date/time is on it, its postage doesn't count as "postmarked" for legal purposes. Bad, BAD!! If you just want to reduce lines, kiosks might be helpful. However, what most insanely busy folks nowadays need is a iron-clad way to mail something at the last minute. Before you field another 2500 kiosks, try changing them to actually "take control" of the item at the moment postage is imprinted. How hard can that be??? (at least for flat things)

    Apr 19, 2016
  • anon

    I think today is a public holiday, but I urgently need postcard stamps. What would help me is to know what services I can get at an APC machine. (Do they do postcard stamps, or just letters?)

    Apr 18, 2016
  • anon

    If all greeting cards were the same price, there is no reason to wait in line to purchase a card at the post office; why not automated check out for such purchass? Half hour wait to stand in line for regular postage & purchasing is archaic today!

    Apr 10, 2016
  • anon

    The self-service kiosk today would only give me the expense options of Priority Mail or Express Mail for a large flat envelope, not the less expensive options of First Class or Parcel Post. I went ahead and paid for Priority Mail rather than wait in line 5 or 10 minutes to mail it at the counter but felt ripped off. Why have the less expensive options been made unavailable at the kiosk?

    Mar 15, 2016
  • anon

    Anything that weighs more than 13 ounces will put you in the Priority mail category. The Express mail option is available if you need the parcel there sooner than whatever the Priority mail timeframe was.

    Apr 30, 2016
  • 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

    How hard is it to get a bank account and a debit card.

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    A- The machines get broken into. Cash would make this problem even worse. The PO near me has had this problem. You can no longer get regular stamps because of it. You can buy stamps but you get machine printed so that they are not available to be stolen. Then comes the cost of maintaining the machines for the damage along with the machine not being available until repaired.

    Feb 06, 2016
  • 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

    The 37 cents was probably a nonmachineable surcharge, not a weight problem. Sometimes people don't account for the width of a package- sometimes they are too wide, or a package being ridgid, and these items have to be sorted manually.

    Apr 30, 2016
  • 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

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