How Accurate Is USPS Tracking?

If you are expecting a package from the United States Postal Service (USPS), you might be wondering how accurate their tracking system is. After all, you want to know when your package will arrive and where it is at any given time. In this article, we will explore the USPS tracking system, how it works, and how reliable it is.

What Is USPS Tracking?

USPS tracking is a service that allows you to track the status and location of your package online. You can access the tracking information by entering your tracking number on the USPS website, or by using the USPS mobile app. You can also sign up for email or text notifications to get updates on your package.

USPS tracking provides you with the following information:

  • The date and time your package was shipped
  • The date and time your package was delivered or attempted to be delivered
  • The current location of your package
  • The estimated delivery date of your package
  • The delivery confirmation or signature confirmation of your package (if applicable)

How Does USPS Tracking Work?

USPS tracking works by using a barcode system that assigns a unique tracking number to each package. The barcode is scanned at various points along the delivery process, such as when the package is accepted, processed, sorted, transported, and delivered. Each scan updates the tracking information on the USPS website and app.

The USPS uses different types of scanners to scan the barcodes, such as handheld scanners, fixed scanners, and mobile scanners. Some scanners are connected to the internet and transmit the data in real-time, while others are offline and upload the data periodically. This means that there might be some delays or gaps in the tracking information, depending on the availability and frequency of scanning.

How Accurate Is USPS Tracking?

So, here is the big question – is the tracking provided on USPS’ website accurate? Can it be relied upon to determine the date your package will arrive?

Thankfully, the answer is yes. USPS tracking is very accurate and provides real-time updates. USPS tracking is accurate 95% of all the time1.

Part of the reason it’s so accurate is that the USPS is a federal organization. Since it also handles delicate and private information, it takes great responsibility in ensuring that deliveries, and thus its tracking information, is accurate2.

While only Priority Mail Express has a hard guarantee on when the package will arrive, USPS will go to great lengths to ensure your package arrives on the estimated delivery date provided. This may include expediting certain packages if they end up behind, or delivering certain mail first in order to ensure your package gets on the truck more quickly. This is why certain package services like Priority mail are well, prioritized1.

The same can be said for packages running late. As for hard data, here is an interesting case study. 12 News sent 33 packages across the United States, with GPS trackers inside of them, during the weeks before Christmas – the busiest times of the year for the United States Postal Service. Out of the 33 packages, 29 of them arrived either on time or early – a success rate of 88%. Overall, that’s pretty good3.

When you take into account that the Christmas season is by far the hardest time of the year for USPS, we can be reasonably certain that the normal success rate is actually much higher than that!

So, we can conclude from this experiment that USPS is indeed very accurate in its tracking. Anecdotally, my companies have shipped over 100,000 packages in the last few years and we very rarely see them arrive late as well1.

What Are The Limitations Of USPS Tracking?

While USPS tracking is generally very accurate and reliable, there are some limitations and challenges that might affect its performance. Here are some of them:

  • Human error: Sometimes, human error can cause mistakes in scanning or updating the tracking information. For example, a package might be scanned incorrectly, or not scanned at all. This can lead to missing or inaccurate tracking information.
  • Weather conditions: Extreme weather conditions can cause delays or disruptions in the delivery process. For example, snowstorms, hurricanes, floods, or wildfires can affect the transportation and delivery of packages. This can result in late or undelivered packages.
  • Technical issues: Technical issues can affect the functionality and connectivity of the scanners or the website. For example, power outages, network failures, software glitches, or hardware malfunctions can prevent or delay the scanning or updating of tracking information.
  • Package size or shape: Some packages might be too large or too small to be scanned properly by some scanners. For example, oversized packages might not fit in some scanners, while letters or envelopes might not have enough space for a barcode label. This can result in incomplete or missing tracking information.

How To Improve The Accuracy Of USPS Tracking?

While most of these limitations are beyond your control, there are some things you can do to improve the accuracy of USPS tracking and ensure a smooth delivery of your package. Here are some tips:

  • Use the correct address: Make sure you use the correct and complete address of the recipient, including the zip code, apartment number, street name, and any other relevant information. This will help the USPS to deliver your package to the right location and avoid any confusion or errors.
  • Use a clear and visible label: Make sure you use a clear and visible label for your package, with the tracking number and the address printed in large and legible fonts. This will help the scanners to read the barcode and the address easily and accurately.
  • Use a sturdy and secure packaging: Make sure you use a sturdy and secure packaging for your package, that can withstand the handling and transportation of the delivery process. This will help to protect your package from damage or loss, and prevent any tampering or interference with the tracking information.
  • Track your package regularly: Make sure you track your package regularly on the USPS website or app, or sign up for email or text notifications. This will help you to monitor the status and location of your package, and alert you of any issues or delays. You can also contact the USPS customer service if you have any questions or concerns about your package.


USPS tracking is a very accurate and reliable service that allows you to track the status and location of your package online. It provides you with real-time updates and estimated delivery dates for your package. While there are some limitations and challenges that might affect its performance, there are also some tips you can follow to improve its accuracy and ensure a smooth delivery of your package.

We hope this article has helped you to understand how accurate is USPS tracking, and how you can use it to track your package. If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!

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