Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why You Should Change Your Address with USPS

Nearly 30 million Americans move from one address to another each year. They all have one thing in common. They need to submit a change of address form to the post office. By filling out a USPS Change of Address form, they instruct the post office to stop mail addressed in their name to their old address and deliver it to their new one. This is an important thing to do for many reasons.

First, filing a Post Office Change of Address may prevent identity theft. If mail continues to be delivered to your old address and the house is vacant, someone may come by and steal the mail that has accumulated in the mailbox and use the information for shady purposes. Bank statements, credit card offers and statements, and similar mailing are very valuable to identity thieves. Changing your mailing address can prevent this.

Second, it can help protect your credit score. If you forgot to change your address with one of your creditors, or if they have not updated the information by the time you move, you will never see the next bill or statement they send out. If you don't pay it by the due date, it can hurt your credit score and your ability to borrow for other things. It is easy to miss paying a bill with all the commotion of moving. It is especially easy if you never receive the latest statement. If you have changed your address with the post office, you will receive these mailings and be reminded to pay before the due date.

Finally, you don't want to miss any important personal correspondence. It is common to receive mail from friends, relatives, your place of employment, etc. when you move. Some of this may be important and you will want to receive it at your new address if it was addressed to your old one.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Post Office Change of Address: Temporary vs. Permanent

On your Post Office Change of Address request, you are asked to indicate whether the change of address is temporary or permanent. If it is temporary, you are asked to enter the date you wish to discontinue forwarding. The Postal Service recently reduced the maximum time limit for a temporary change of address from one year to six months. If you plan on returning to your old address within 6 months, you can check "Temporary" on the form and fill in the date you want the forwarding to stop.

The Post Office will continue forwarding mail right up until that date, so you may want to pick a date that is about a week before you actually return, so that mail is not still being forwarded while you are returning to your old address. If you do not want mail accumulating in your box, you can ask the post office to hold it until you pick it up or have it delivered to you on the date you choose.

Checking "Permanent" on the form means that you do not expect to return within 6 months and that the post office should forward your mail until you instruct them to do otherwise. (The maximum forwarding time is 1 year, after which the mail will be returned to the sender).

Monday, March 9, 2009

What Happens When You Submit a Post Office Change of Address?

When you turn in a post office change of address, you are instructing the post office to forward certain mail addressed in your name to your old address to your new address. The post office will forward First Class, Priority mail, and Express Mail for one year from the start date you indicate on the form. They will stop delivering mail in your name to your old address on the start date. It may take 7 to 10 Postal business days to begin receiving this forwarded mail at your new address.

The Postal Service will forward Periodicals for 60 days. This would include things like newspapers, journals, and magazines. Standard Mail such as most catalogs, coupons, flyers, and other advertising mail is not forwarded without special instructions from the sender. Non-profit Org. mail is also not forwarded. So if you want to continue receiving mailings from a non profit organization such as a church, synagogue, or charity, be sure to notify them of your new address.

After the forwarding time expires, the post office will return mail that is still addressed to your old address to the sender. They will include a sticker on the mailpiece notifying the sender of your new address. This will happen for an additional 6 months. After 18 months, the change of address request expires and the information is no longer kept on file. Mail that still is being sent to your old address at that time will be returned to the sender as "Unable to Forward" or "Attempted Not Known".

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Where should You Submit a Post Office Change of Address?

Of course, you can still submit a post office change of address the old fashioned way. Go to the Post Office, find the right form, fill it out by hand, and turn it into the clerk or drop it in the mail. If you happen to catch your letter carrier, he or she might even have a form in their mail pouch or truck. But now there is an easier and more secure way.

Changes of Address can now be submitted online. And there are websites that make this easy. You can change your address with the post office in as little as 2 minutes. You simply fill out an easy one page form, hit submit, and you are done. The Post Office will send you confirmation of the change to your old and new addresses and will even confirm by email.

Why is this better? First, it obviously saves you time and hassle. It would take much longer than 2 minutes to go to the post office and do this. Second, it reduces the possibility of error. The information the post office receives, is the information you entered and confirmed online. When you fill out a form by hand, a postal employee has to be able to read your writing correctly and then enter the correct information into the system without mistakes or typos. Something as small as reversing 2 numbers in an address can mean that your mail will go to the wrong place. By doing it yourself online, you can be assured no mistakes are made. Third, it reduces the paper trail. Your letter carrier receives a notice that you moved and that your mail should be forwarded, but your new address stays secure within the system.

Changing your address at a site like OnlineChangeOfAddress.com can also save you money. They will send you coupons and money saving offers for products and services for your new home. You can save $100s of dollars if you take advantage of the special offers.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Post Office Change of Address: Family or Individual?

On the change of address form it asks you to check "family" or "individual" to help identify exactly whose mail should be forwarded. If everyone in your household has the same last name, and they are all moving to the same new address, you can simply fill out 1 form and check "family". Any mail addressed to your old address with that last name on it will be forwarded to your new address.

However, if the situation is in any way different from what I described above, an individual change of address form should be filled out for each person in the household who is moving. If there are different last names in the household, forms should be filled out for each last name. If only one or more individuals in the family are moving, an individual form should be filled out for each person who is moving. If you receive mail in a business name. A separate form should be filled out for the business.

By "family" the form is referring to people at an address with the same last name. The postal service does not have information on who comprises your family.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Premium Forwarding Service - How to Get All of Your Mail While You are Away

The Postal Service now offers Premium Forwarding Service for people who will be temporarily away from their homes for at least 2 weeks and up to one year. With this service, the postal service will forward all mail (including standard mail and non-profit mail) to your temporary address once a week. They package it together and send it to your temporary address by Priority Mail. This is the only service that ensures that you will receive ALL of the mail that is addressed to you from your old address.
This service is popular with "snow birds" who move temporarily to a warmer climate in the Winter. It is also good for people who go on extended business trips, or who go on extended stays to care for a family member or relative, or even college students who get a lot of mail.
There is a charge for this service (currently $10 to enroll, and $11.95 for the weekly reshipment). These fees may increase with other postal rate increases.
This service is not for everyone, but if it is important to you to receive all of your mail while you are away, it may be worth it to you. To enroll in this service, you must visit your local post office.