Anyone who’s waited by the mailbox for an important letter or much-needed paycheck will want to be first in line for a new free service USPS is rolling out widely in mid-April. Residential customers who sign up for Informed Delivery will receive a daily email with high-quality photo scans of their incoming envelope fronts, reports NBC News. The emails display up to 10 images—if there are more than 10 on a given day, the rest can be viewed via a link that stays active for seven days. After receiving “tremendously positive” feedback in pilot test runs, executive program director Bob Dixon says the program has been particularly appealing to people living with roommates, since they’re not always first to retrieve their daily mail.
Frequent travelers are another group utilizing the service, which Dixon personally attests to as one of Informed Delivery’s first users. He tells NPR that he was able to flag a jury duty summons while on the road and asked his son to set it aside so it didn’t get lost in a towering mail pile. With the rate of mail delivery declining (61.2 billion pieces of first-class mail were handled by USPS in 2016 compared to 98 billion in 2006), the service is one way the post office is innovating and trying to remain relevant. "Our emerging consumers, younger folks, are digital natives," Dixon says. "That's how their communications are coming to them." USPS has opened sign-up for Informed Delivery at: informeddelivery.USPS.com. (Finland's postal service tried to innovate in a different way.)