Using the Automated Postal Center
In 1998, the United States Postal System (USPS) unveiled its Automated Postal Center (APC). This new feature gave customers the opportunity to bypass the post office lines in favor of a self-service kiosk.
The APC is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offers the most commonly required services within the USPS. The USPS has said that they hope that the APC will both improve the overall customer service with the postal system and reduce costs. However, the biggest obstacle standing in the way is customer uncertainty over how the APC works. In this article we will do a quick rundown on how to use the APC, allowing you to maximize its abilities in order to take care of your postal needs.
Each APC has a touch screen that will walk you through the available mailing options. When first approaching the machine, place your package or letter on the built in scale. You can use the APC to mail any parcel or letter that fits within the acceptable APC dimensions, which includes items up to:
- 15 inches wide
- 12 inches deep
- 6 inches high
- 70 pounds
The next step is to enter the zip code of the recipient. Once you have it entered, the APC will ask you what type of mailing service you would like to use. You will be shown the prices of each choice to help you make your decision. Options include:
- Express Mail (for guaranteed overnight delivery)
- Priority or First-Class Mail (2-3 days)
- Parcel Post (most economical)
- Priority Mail Regional Rate (for flat-rate envelope and boxes)
Once you have picked your mailing service type, the next question the APC will ask you is whether or not you desire to purchase additional mailing services, such as delivery confirmation or certified mail.
At this point you are ready to pay. The APC only accepts debit or credit cards (no cash), so make sure that you have one handy. After your card has been accepted and the payment has been processed, the APC will print out your postage. All you have to do is take the printed postage, attach it to your package or envelope, and place it in the nearby collection chute.
If you have more than one item to mail, you are now ready to repeat the process. Otherwise, your mail, and you, will be on its way.