USPS Self-Service Kiosks. You may have seen one of these at a location near you and wondered how to use it.
In fact, you might have been a little intimated. Although the queue for a USPS self-service kiosk is a lot shorter, you didn’t want to go through the embarrassment of not knowing how it works.
Rest assured, you’re not alone.
However, in this guide, we’re going to help you get past that. We’ll provide everything you need to know about the USPS self-service kiosk.
Next time you see one, you’ll be able to use it with confidence.
What is a USPS Self-Service Kiosk?
Essentially, the self-service kiosks provided by USPS allow customers to send packages via a machine. The majority of tasks you can complete with a human USPS worker can be done using the kiosk. This helps you in times when the workers a busy, (you can avoid the queues). It also enables customers to drop off and send packages outside of normal working hours. Essentially, the kiosk is an efficient way to use services provided by USPS.
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What can Self Service Kiosks be used For?
So, what can self-service kiosks be used for? A good question. As already mentioned, most services can be accessed using kiosks.
As long as your package fits the criteria for kiosk mailing, (more on that below) you will be able to send it using a self-service approach.
Packaging Criteria when using USPS Self-service Kiosks
Any normal mail item can be sent using self-service kiosks. So much so, that it is actually easier to list the types of packages you cannot send as the list is quite short.
- Packages that have been labeled as fragile
- Packages that need special transportation
- Packages that have specified needs in the way they have to be handled
- Packages over certain dimensions.
This final point varies between kiosks so it is difficult to state common guidelines here. However, as a rule of thumb, smaller machines will not accept anything over twelve inches.
Larger machines meanwhile can accept packages up to fifteen inches. With kiosks coming in between these two.
To avoid confusion USPS normally lists the dimension guidelines close to (or on) the kiosk.
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What other services can be accessed using a Self Service Kiosk?
You can also use a self-service kiosk to access a number of other services. These include:
- Print Priority Mail Express forms
- Gain access and compare shipping options (prices and the delivery times)
- Lookup and check a ZIP code
- Buy insurance
- Check signature confirmation on mail items
- Check return receipts and delivery confirmations
- Renew a PO box
- Purchase stamps and pay for postal services
- Print a receipt with a USPS tracking number
- Weigh a package
Where are self-service kiosks located?
USPS self-service kiosks are located in the lobbies of U.S Post Offices. Not all post offices have them as yet.
However, you can find the location of the nearest USPS self-service kiosk to you by heading to the website.
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How to Use A USPS Self-Service Kiosk?
Now we are getting to the nitty-gritty. You may be reading this article because you want some information on how to use a USPS self-service kiosk.
The good news is, that they are easy to use. The video above will talk you through all the steps. (For those that prefer a written step-by-step guide, check out the table below).
The latest machines are almost all touch screen controlled and utilize a clear interface so that customers can access the services they need with ease.
The following steps apply to sending a package when using a self-service kiosk
- Find your nearest self-service kiosk.
- Go to the kiosk and select “Package” from the main menu by touching the screen. (Note: the “Select Service” menu is where you will also gain access to the other services the kiosk provides.)
- Click past the warning about prohibited items.
- You’ll now be asked to “Select Mail Type”. Your options are Priority Mail, Packages & Letters/Envelopes.
- After you have chosen your option you will be led through screens that ask you to specify your mail item size and type of USPS Packaging, (if used). [When using your own packaging, you will be asked to place the item on the scales of the kiosk.]
- After this, you will reach a Key Pad screen. This is to enter the Zip Code of the recipient. From there you will type in the rest of their details.
- You will then reach a summary screen of your order. If happy, click to proceed.
- This takes you to the “Extra Services” page. You can select whether you want signature confirmation and insurance etc.
- After this, you will be asked to provide payment, (debit/credit card, and ETB card). NOTE: self-service kiosks do not take cash payments.
- Once payment has been made the labels for your mail item will be printed. Attach the labels to your package and place your item into the slot provided for later USPS pick up.
And that’s it.
For the other services we listed above, the process is similar. Information will be provided on the screen for services such as looking up a Zipcode and checking return receipts etc.
Requesting any printing of information will be done immediately via the printing technology of the kiosk.
The machines really are very intuitive.
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Advantages Of The USPS Self-Service Kiosk?
1. Avoid Queues at the Post Office
The biggest advantage is that you do not have to queue up for a USPS staff member in order to access services.
If your package falls within the criteria (or you simply need one of the other services provided by the kiosk), it is unlikely you will need to queue for the machine.
2. Access services outside of post office work hours
Self-service kiosks operate around the clock. As long as you can access the lobby of the post office, you will be able to pay for related services.
This is especially advantageous for customers that cannot visit the post office during normal working hours.
3. Easy to use
As we have explained, the USPS self-service kiosk is easy to use. It makes for an efficient way of accessing the services you need without needing to deal with human interaction.
4. Lots of services can be accessed via self-service kiosks
Again, as the list above shows, there is no shortage of services you can access when using a kiosk. Over time, more services are likely to be added.
However, it is unlikely that a machine will take over human customer-facing staff completely.
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Disadvantages Of The USPS Self-Service Kiosk?
1. Cash-only payment
A major disadvantage at the moment is that self-service kiosks do not take cash. For some customers, this is going to cause frustration.
2. Only standard mail items apply
Anything that requires “special handling” will need to be done via a human staff member.
In other words, only standard mail items within the size guidelines specified by the kiosk can be sent.
3. Daunting if you have never used one
Although self-service kiosks are easy to use, there will always be members of the public reluctant to try.
This should lessen over time, however, as more and more people become accustomed to using these machines.
4. Not available at all post office locations
You will need to check the USPS website to see where your nearest self-service kiosk is. However, if you live in a rural area where your local post office is not equipped with one, you will have to travel further afield.
Overall, USPS self-service kiosks are a great addition to the post office network.
They have helped to reduce queues and the impact of the machines only continues to grow as more people use them. They are easy to use and we urge that you give one a go.