What Is the Difference Between USPS Self-Service Kiosks and gopost Lockers?

What Is the Difference Between USPS Self-Service Kiosks and gopost Lockers The United States Postal Service has a variety of locations in addition to its regular Post Offices: contract postal units, national retailers, mail collection boxes, gopost units, and self-service kiosks. The latter two are sometimes confused with one another, but they have different purposes and offer different services. What exactly is the difference between USPS self-service kiosks and gopost lockers?

Both self-service kiosks and gopost units are self-serviced and function 24/7, but this is their only major commonality. USPS self-service kiosks were conceived as a convenient alternative to full-service counters at Post Offices. As such, they provide most of the services that you can get at the traditional full-service counter.

The main purpose behind self-service kiosks is to reduce lines at the full-service counter during normal working hours and give customers access to postal services when Post Offices are closed. They are a great solution for customers who know what they need and what to get it done quickly, as well as for those whose busy schedule doesn’t allow them to swing by a Post Office during business hours Most self-service kiosks are located inside Post Office lobbies, although a few can be found in large shopping malls.

You can use a USPS self-service kiosk to:

  • Mail prepaid packages (however, there are restrictions; for example, self-service kiosks don’t allow to mail packages over a certain size, fragile items – in short, anything that requires “special handling”)
  • Print Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express shipping labels
  • Purchase stamps
  • Print receipts with tracking information
  • Pay for insurance, delivery confirmation, signature confirmation, and return receipts
  • Weigh letters and packages to have them mailed later
  • Compare various shipping options to choose the best one
  • Renew a PO box
  • Look up a ZIP code

Packages shipped via self-service kiosks don’t have to be prepaid or even prepackaged. You can print a shipping label using the kiosk and get a free box to ship your items. However, packing tape is not available at USPS kiosks, so you should bring some with you.

Please keep in mind that self-service kiosks do not accept cash, so if you need to pay for postal services, you will have to pay with a card. You should also know that if you mail a package after hours using a self-service kiosk, it will be collected and processed on the next business day.

A gopost unit consists of a self-service kiosk and dozens of automated parcel lockers. It provides just two services: receiving packages and shipping prepaid packages. Such units are typically installed at various convenient locations like some Post Offices, shopping malls, pharmacies, grocery stores, railway stations and other transportation hubs, etc.

To receive and ship parcels via gopost, you need to sign up for the service at gopost.usps.com/go and receive an account number/access card and PIN, which are required to access a gopost unit. Unlike with PO boxes, gopost users are not assigned specific lockers; a package can be placed in any available locker that accommodates its size.

You can use a gopost unit located at a convenient location near your home or office as your shipping address to receive packages, as well as use it to ship prepaid and prepackaged parcels. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use gopost for all incoming packages you receive; you can limit its use to situations when it’s the most convenient option.

Note that some domestic and international packages cannot be shipped or received via gopost; they include flat-sized envelopes and letters that are less then ¾ inches thick (except for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express), packages over a certain size limit, packages with certain extra services such as special handling or adult signature, inbound international packages that require customs fees, and all outbound international packages.

So, in short, you should use a self-service kiosk if you need one of the many postal services available at the full-service counter, but you can make do with a gopost unit if you need to receive or ship packages with a prepaid shipping label you have printed yourself at a convenient location.