What do the first four tracking numbers mean in USPS? (2024)

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The first four digits on your U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail is a unique service code that indicates the type of mail service you’re using. They can reveal a lot more about how packages are sorted and delivered.

When you place a bulk mail order with the United States Postal Service, your mailer must include a service code. The service code is a series of numbers that indicate exactly how and where your package should be delivered.

The tracking status of a shipment plays a crucial role in business communications. You might want to share the status of a product with your customer and let them know when it will arrive or simply inform them about the shipping delay.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) offers a range of shipping options, with the tracking number being one of the essential pieces of information.

When USPS scans a package, it includes tracking information that can be used to understand the status of your shipment. This tracking information is encoded as numbers printed on the label. The first four digits represent the type of service that used for the package.

If you have your tracking number, here is the USPS tracking link to track your package.

Dissecting USPS tracking number format

When you send a package, you also receive a tracking number, which is the unique identifier for your package. This number allows you to track your package.

Your package will go through several steps before arriving at your customer’s door. As it proceeds along its journey, the package will be scanned, and you will be notified of its location every time it’s scanned. The tracking number, which is the unique identifier for your package, allows you to easily track its progress through the shipping process.

What kinds of USPS tracking numbers are available?

USPS tracking number is typically 22 digits long, such as 8501 2345 6769 8888 9876 00. This format is reserved for packages that are moving within the U.S. You may also occasionally come across tracking numbers like
“CP” or “EC,” which stands for “Export Control Number,” and refers to a package that’s being sent overseas. However, there are other formats as well, outlined below.

USPS tracking number formats

The USPS tracking number formats vary depending on the type of mail you purchase and the services you choose. The tracking number format will indicate how you can track your package, the date you can expect it, and the estimated time of arrival (ETA).

Each USPS shipping label has its own unique tracking number format, and every customer is assigned to only one number pattern. This applies to parcels, postcards, packages, and all kinds of shipments.

Your unique tracking number format will help to track your postal delivery. These numbers are a vital part of shipping and mailing; they help many businesses to know the status of their deliveries. Here are all the USPS tracking code formats:

USPS Tracking: 9400 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
USPS Priority Mail: 9205 5000 0000 0000 0000 00
Certified Mail: 9407 3000 0000 0000 0000 00
Collect on Delivery: 9303 3000 0000 0000 0000 00
Global Express Guaranteed: 82 000 000 00
USPS Priority Mail Express International: EC 000 000 000 US
Priority Mail Express: 9270 1000 0000 0000 0000 00 or EA 000 000 000 US
Priority Mail International: CP 000 000 000 US
Registered Mail: 9208 8000 0000 0000 0000 00
Signature Confirmation: 9202 1000 0000 0000 0000 00

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How to Track a USPS Package

Tracking a mailed USPS package is easy. Once the package is shipped, You’ll receive a tracking number that will appear on your receipt and a confirmation notice in the email address that you used to create the postage label. Your tracking number will be included in that email. The tracking number format is not especially relevant. What’s most important is that you keep a note of the tracking number so you can locate the package on its journey.

To track your package, go to the U.S. Postal Service website. Use the “Track & Confirm” function to enter the tracking number that’s been provided to you. On this page, you’ll find a map with the location of the package at any given time.

What happens if I can’t track my USPS package?

If you have ever lost a shipment from the United States Postal Service (USPS), you know how stressful it can be. You have to get through the various USPS websites, keep track of the date that the package is estimated to arrive at your location, contact the customer service number for some answers to help you resolve your problem. You can do a couple of simple things to make sure that you do not have to go through this process again, though.

The first thing you should do is take careful note of the tracking number once the USPS has accepted the package. You can watch this number to see when it updates and when tracking information is available. In some scenarios, though, you might not be able to track a package once it leaves the country or is located in a particular part of the country due to courier issues and regional differences. If you can’t track a package, it is essential to wait about five days before contacting customer service so that you give them sufficient time to resolve your issues.

If your package has not shown up after seven business days, call the customer service number and tell them that you cannot track your package. They should be able to give you an approximate arrival date based on the location of your package at the time of shipment. If they are unhelpful, ask for a supervisor and continue to press until someone determines what happened with your package and resolves your issues.

Tracking tips

Always make sure you’re packing the item in a way that will allow the shipping label to be scanned.

When you ship a package, tracking events are recorded every time a scanner reads the bar code on your shipping label. However, if you place your shipping label in a location that’s difficult for scanners to scan (for example, around the edges of the box or over a seam), you will never get any tracking events recorded.

If you choose the suitable shipping carrier for your shipment, you will want to make sure that you’re getting tracking events from your package so that you can know when it arrives at its destination. That means placing your shipping label in a location that is easy for scanners to scan.

Tracking events happen every time a scanner reads the bar code on your package. There are multiple tracking events; the most important one is “Delivered” – meaning your package has been delivered! The “delivered” event usually happens when the package arrives at the final destination, but in some cases, may be recorded after the package has been delivered to an intermediary location.

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