The United States Postal Service (USPS) is an integral part of our society, providing mail and package delivery to every address in the country. As consumer payment methods evolve, many wonder – does the post office take credit cards? The short answer is sometimes. Read on to learn all the details about paying with credit at the post office.
Overview of Post Office Payment Options
The post office accepts cash, checks, debit cards, and money orders for most transactions at post office locations. For online services like Click-N-Ship, registered users can pay by credit card. However, at the post office counter, cash, debit cards, checks, and money orders are standard.
This is because the post office aims to keep costs low on basic mailing services that everyone needs access to. By avoiding credit card transaction fees, they can pass those savings on to consumers.
However, credit cards are accepted for some premium services and products at select post office locations. The key is knowing what you can and can’t pay for with a credit card at the post office.
Paying for Stamps with a Credit Card
The most common post office transaction is buying stamps. Unfortunately, you cannot purchase stamps with a credit card at the post office counter. The two payment options for stamps at the counter are cash or debit cards.
Stamps are considered a basic necessity for communication. To keep this cost affordable for everyone, the post office does not accept credit for stamp purchases.
However, you do have a couple options for ordering stamps by mail and paying with a credit card:
Stamps by Mail – Order stamps delivered to your mailbox from USPS online and pay by credit card.
Stamps To Go – This pilot program allows you to order stamps online and pick them up at your local post office. Pay by credit card online when placing the order.
So if you want the convenience of paying for stamps with a credit card, opt for delivery or order online for in-store pickup.
Mailing Packages and Letters with a Credit Card
Mailing packages, letters, and postcards also cannot be paid for with a credit card at the post office. Like stamps, these are considered essential services that the post office aims to keep affordable for all customers.
To mail a package or letter at the counter, you’ll need to pay with cash, check, money order, or debit card. The exception is international mail, where credit card payments are accepted for some services like Global Express Guaranteed.
However, you can pay by credit card online if you prepare your packages and letters at home:
Click-N-Ship – This online service allows you to print shipping labels for packages at home. Registered users can pay postage with a credit card online.
Stamps.com – This online postage service also lets you print postage labels with credit card payment.
So while credit cards aren’t accepted at the counter, paying online is an option if you don’t need or want to visit the post office for mailing needs.
Paying for PO Boxes with a Credit Card
Many customers rent post office (PO) boxes to receive mail securely. Can you pay for PO box rental with a credit card?
Most post office locations do not accept credit cards for PO box rental payments. Cash, checks, money orders, and debit cards are standard.
However, a handful of post office locations now feature self-service kiosks that allow credit card payments for PO boxes. These kiosks allow 24/7 access for PO box rental and payment.
To find a location with credit-enabled PO box kiosks, use the Post Office Locator and filter the results by selecting “Self-Service Kiosks” under “Features”.
If your local post office doesn’t have a self-service kiosk, you’ll need to plan to pay for your PO box with cash, check, or debit card for now.
Paying for Money Orders with a Credit Card
Money orders are a popular option for safely sending payments through the mail. You cannot purchase postal money orders with a credit card at the post office.
The two options for buying money orders are cash or debit card. The post office does not accept checks or credit cards for money orders.
Because money orders have a maximum value of $1,000, the post office aims to keep fees affordable by only accepting cash or debit payments.
If you need to pay by credit card, consider using a wire transfer service or third-party payment processor like PayPal. Or you can order a prepaid debit card to use for purchasing money orders if you don’t have a bank account debit card.
Premium Services that Accept Credit Cards
While credit cards aren’t accepted for basic mailing services, the post office does allow credit card payments for some of its premium mailing and shipping options.
If you want extra services beyond standard shipping, paying by credit card is likely an option. Here are some examples:
Priority Mail Express – The fastest domestic shipping option.
Certified Mail – Provides delivery confirmation with a receipt.
Registered Mail – The most secure option with package tracking and insurance up to $25,000.
PO Box Street Addressing – Lets you use a PO Box address for packages.
Global Express Guaranteed – Fast international delivery to select countries.
These services involve additional fees, which is why credit card payments are accepted. Just look for services labeled “Premium” at the post office to see what you can pay for with a card.
Paying for Select Products with a Credit Card
In addition to premium mailing services, a credit card can also be used to pay for some product purchases at the post office.
Many locations have an expanded selection of products beyond just stamps and packaging supplies. You may be able to pay by credit card for:
Prepaid debit cards and gift cards
Money orders for some countries like Haiti and El Salvador
Commemorative stamps and collectible stamp gifts
Passport services like photos and application acceptance
Select office supplies and gifts
If your local post office has an expanded retail selection, look for the products labeled as “Retail” which may accept credit cards. The standard mail services will still require cash, check, or debit.
Paying Online with Credit Cards
To enjoy the convenience of paying by credit card for post office services, the best option is going online. All of the following USPS online services and tools accept credit cards:
Online postage through Click-N-Ship and Stamps.com
Filling PO Boxes online
Purchasing Return Receipts for mail and packages
Buying postage and supplies through the Postal Store
Scheduling package pickups
Change of address filing
Insurance claims and mail inquiries
The online services offered by USPS give you much more flexibility in terms of credit card acceptance. Just register for the tools you need and add your card to have access to credit payment options.
Which Credit Cards Does the Post Office Accept?
If you find a service, product, or online tool that allows credit card payments, you may be wondering – which credit cards can I use?
The post office accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express credit cards. Both personal and business credit cards are accepted.
Debit card payments also accept all major providers like Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
Using a credit card that earns rewards like cash back or points can maximize the value of your payments. Just don’t forget that cards aren’t accepted for basic mail services at the post office counter – only premium add-ons, retail products, and online tools.
Why Doesn’t the Post Office Take Credit Cards?
With credit cards being so widely accepted today, why is the post office so restrictive in their credit card acceptance? There are a few reasons:
Cost control – By avoiding credit card transaction fees on high-volume basic services like stamps and standard shipping, the post office keeps their costs down. This allows them to offer lower rates to consumers.
Universal service – As an agency designed to serve all Americans, the post office needs to ensure everyone can afford the basic sending and receiving of mail and packages, regardless of payment method.
Fraud prevention for money orders – Not accepting credit for money orders helps keep this secure payment method from being used fraudulently.
No need – With online shipping, collecting payments is not as necessary at the retail counter locations. Allowing online credit payments meets customer needs.
While it can be inconvenient at times, the limited credit card acceptance at the post office makes sense given their role and responsibilities as an essential government agency tasked with providing universal mail services.
The Bottom Line
Does the post office take credit cards? In limited cases only. For routine transactions like buying stamps or mailing letters at the counter, be prepared to pay with cash, check, or debit card. A credit card can only be used for premium services, select retail products, or online shipping and tools.
Hopefully this breakdown clar