Automated Package Verification
Save Time by Doing It Right
To continue providing affordable and efficient shipping, USPS® has automated how we verify postage on Click-N-Ship® and PC Postage® package labels. Below, we detail our Automated Package Verification (APV) process and offer some tips to help you improve your shipping process and correctly calculate postage to ensure you're not overpaying or underpaying.
How to Calculate Postage Correctly
Weigh Your Item and Round Up
USPS rounds up to either the next pound (lb) or ounce (oz). For example, if your package weighs 3 lbs 5 oz, it would be charged at the 4 lb-rate. If you have an item for shipping by First-Class Package Service® that weighs 7.3 oz, it must be charged at the 8 oz-rate. This applies to all mail classes—domestic and international.
Select the Right Mail Class
For example, First-Class Package Service-Commercial can only be used for packages under 15.999 oz; anything over the weight limit must be shipped with Priority Mail® service. Domestic Regional Rate Boxes A and B have 15 and 20 lbs limits respectively.
Measure Your Package
Measure the length, width, and height of the package. Dimensional (DIM) weight1 rates apply to domestic Priority Mail®, Priority Mail Express®, Parcel Select®, and Parcel Select Lightweight® packages larger than 1 cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches). If the DIM weight (Length x Width x Height ÷ 166) is greater than the actual package weight, you’ll need to pay the DIM weight price.
If you give inaccurate dimensions and/or don’t pay the DIM weight rate (when it applies), you’ll pay a dimension-noncompliance fee.
You’ll also pay an extra nonstandard fee for sending a nonstandard size via First-Class Package Service, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, Parcel Select, or Parcel Select Lightweight if your package measures:
- Between 22 and 30 inches long: add $4.00
- More than 30 inches long: add $15.00
- More than 2 cubic feet (3,456 cubic inches): add $15.00
Label Your Package Correctly
USPS provides a wide range of shipping options to help you meet your mailing needs. Make sure that the label you are using matches the packaging. For example, if you are using a Flat Rate Box, you should also use a Flat Rate label. Anything shipped in Priority Mail packaging requires a Priority Mail label. Also, ensure you place the label on the long side of the box. Labels should not wrap over the ends or edges, and all barcodes should face up in the same direction.
Double-Check the Zone
If you are using PC Postage software, verify that the origin address is up-to-date before printing the label. Please note USPS charges for zones not ZIP Codes™; use the Domestic Zone Chart to get the zone for your destination ZIP Code™. To get the most accurate postage cost by zone and weight, use the Business Price Calculator.
About Automated Package VerificationExpand All
How did USPS streamline the APV process?
USPS invested in new APV technologies that automatically detect and correct certain package postage overpayments or underpayments.
How does APV improve the package verification process?
APV catches certain instances of postage discrepancies during processing and credits or debits the shippers directly. This allows USPS to rely less on the slower, manual postage-due verification process. In the manual process, mail with a postage discrepancy is either returned to the sender for correction or delivered to its destination, in which case the recipient must pay the postage due. This process may delay shipments, and/or the recipient may unexpectedly have to pay extra postage, which erodes the quality of the customer experience. Some mail that is not paid properly and is not detected by APV may be manually processed for postage due.
Why did USPS implement APV?
Implementing APV has ensured we can maintain the most competitive and economical shipping prices for our customers.
Which platform entities has USPS implemented APV on?
USPS has implemented APV across Click-N-Ship and PC Postage platforms entities of Endicia, Stamps.com, Pitney Bowes, eBay, PayPal, and EasyPost.
How will I be notified?
If USPS finds discrepancies between postage-paid and postage-owed, you will be notified through your Click-N-Ship or PC Postage vendor. Payment adjustments are facilitated through Click-N-Ship and PC Postage platforms.
How accurate is the APV process?
USPS extensively tests the state-of-the-art APV mail processing network. We routinely calibrate the equipment to ensure we capture the most accurate information to streamline your shipping experience.
Who do I contact with questions?
If you have questions about your notice or APV, please email email@example.com. For any questions about your account or billing, please contact your PC Postage provider directly.
How does a postage discrepancy occur?
Generally, if the package characteristics (e.g., weight, dimensions, zone, etc.) that the sender inputs when generating the Click-N-Ship or PC Postage label do not match the actual characteristics of the package, USPS processing equipment will discover and note the discrepancy. The most common instances that result in a different price include:
- Incorrect weight
- Incorrect dimensions
- Service on label does not match packaging (e.g., First-Class™ labels cannot be used with Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express® packaging materials)
How long do I have to submit a dispute?
You have 60 days from the date of the notification to file a dispute for a given transaction.
How can I check the status of my dispute?
Most responses can be expected in 2-5 business days, and at most, 15 business days. The status of your dispute claim is available from your PC Postage provider and may be updated daily.
When will I receive my refund?
If your dispute is upheld, you may be due a refund. All payments are processed by your PC Postage provider on behalf of USPS, so please reach out to your PC Postage provider directly for questions regarding billing or your account.
Where can I find answers to my additional questions?
For more frequently asked questions, please see our resource on PostalPro.