When Exactly Does USPS Scan Mail & Packages? (We Checked)

On average, US Postal Service processes millions of mail pieces each day.

That may sound like a lot, but this does happen, considering the number of local post offices in the United States. Plus, almost everything is automated now, making the processing much faster.

Part of the mail processing is scanning. Every mail piece with a barcode is scanned upon entering the USPS system.

Here’s when USPS Scans Mail & Packages:

When your mail and packages are delivered to the post office, they are scanned to enter the tracking system. This allows you to see where your mail and packages are and their delivery stage.

How Late in the Day Can You Send Mail and Packages?

USPS follows a certain schedule when processing mail and packages for delivery, and there are cutoff times when sending them.

Ideally, you’d want to ensure that your mail or packages are at the post office before 5 or 6 pm. That’s because local post offices close during this time.

Of course, the closing time may vary from one location to another, so it’s best to check your local post office for their operating hours.

If the USPS mail carrier picked up your item, you could be certain that it has made it before the cutoff time and will be processed the same day.

If you drop off your item at the post office and hand it to a postal worker before closing, it will also be processed the same day.

So if you opted for Priority Mail Express, it would be loaded into the delivery truck that same night for next-day delivery.

If you used the USPS collection box, it would be processed on the same day as long as it was dropped off before 5 pm because that’s when collection boxes are being emptied.

If you drop off your mail into the collection box after 5 pm, it will be processed the next day.

What Time Does USPS Scan Mail for Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery is a USPS service that allows you to receive preview images of your incoming mail. It also lets you status updates for your incoming and outgoing mail or packages.

This service is free.

For Informed Delivery, USPS scans the mail and packages before they get delivered.

When you sign up for this service, you normally get a notification, with an image preview, around 9 am if you have incoming mail that day.

Read also: Who Does USPS Hire? 8 Common Questions (Answered)

Does USPS Scan Packages on Saturdays?

Since Mondays thru Saturdays are regular working days for USPS, they scan packages even on Saturdays.

Saturday is a normal working day for USPS workers, so you can expect them to do the same tasks they are doing from Mondays thru Fridays, from deliveries to mail processing to other postal services.

Although some post offices close earlier on Saturdays, their office activities are still the same.

How Long Does USPS Take to Scan Packages?

Back in the day, almost everything was done manually, including sorting and organizing packages.

Thanks to modern technology, almost everything is now automated.

On average, it will only take a few seconds for USPS to scan packages.

The process is straightforward. A postal worker must scan the barcode on the package, select the correct action on the scanner, and press enter.

In bigger post offices, sortation machines automatically scan the barcode on packages.

Once the packages are placed into these machines, they will go through a scanning device and be entered into the USPS system before it is sorted.

Why Hasn’t My Package Been Scanned in Over a Day?

Once USPS has scanned your package, it will be entered into the system, which means that USPS has started processing it for delivery.

You will also see its status once it has been scanned.

Sometimes, more than a day has passed, and your package hasn’t been scanned yet.

Here are the most common reasons that your package hasn’t been scanned yet:

  • Your package was dropped off after office hours, so it did not make it to the cutoff time for mail processing.
  • Your package is in the queue at a USPS facility.
  • The post office has gotten a huge volume so that the workers couldn’t scan your package that day.

There were also instances when USPS workers would ship packages out without scanning them. This happens when the volume of mail is too big that USPS can’t handle processing them all on the same day.

Whenever this happens, the first scan would normally show up after a couple of days, but it would show that the package is already in transit.

This means that it will still get to the recipient on time.

Read also: Does USPS Hold Mail & Packages? 9 Scenarios (Explained)

When Does USPS Update the Tracking Status?

Since almost everything is automated nowadays, you would normally expect packages’ tracking status to be updated in real-time once scanned.

USPS typically updates the tracking status of your package within 24 to 48 hours. They often do not update the tracking status of a package in real time as it moves through the system.

Once a package is scanned at a USPS facility, the tracking status is not updated immediately.

You can expect the updates to appear within 24 to 48 hours.

Do USPS Packages Sometimes Not Get Scanned?

Sometimes, USPS packages do not get scanned.

There are instances where USPS would ship packages out without scanning them properly. This happens on days when the volume of packages coming in is too high.

A review done last year on USPS’ scanning procedures in 25 facilities revealed that about 38% of packages had not been properly scanned. This percentage is a bit high and can be very concerning because not scanning can lead to errors.

Even though USPS still has a delivery completion rate of more than 95%, this rate might improve if all packages were scanned properly in USPS facilities.

Should I Worry if USPS Tracking Hasn’t Been Updated in 3-5 Days?

If USPS tracking hasn’t been updated in 3 to 5 days, you shouldn’t really be worried.

Even though the tracking status of packages is normally updated within 24 to 48 hours, sometimes the scanning is missed, which results in a lack of updates.

This is normal during the holiday rush or if the weather is bad.

If there is no status update on the tracking, USPS recommends waiting up to 5 days before contacting them by phone.


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