Registered Mail vs Certified Mail: What’s the Difference?

What if your business lost a crucial package and it was all your fault?

This may sound like a bad dream. But this dream can become real for any business that doesn’t understand Registered mail vs Certified mail.

Wondering which option is best for you and your business? Keep reading to learn more about these services and their benefits.

What Is Registered Mail?

We’ve put together a solid guide to learning about Registered mail. First, though, we need to define exactly what this kind of mail actually is.

Simply put, Registered mail is the very first kind of secured mail ever offered by the postal service. And it remains the most secure form of sending valuable items through the mail (more on this in a minute).

Over time, USPS thought it was important to offer its customers as many options as possible. That is why they began to offer Certified mail in addition to Registered mail.

What Is Certified Mail?

Registered mail has worked well for the USPS since 1855. However, it had a certain cost that was prohibitively expensive for customers who needed to mail items of less weight and lower value.

This is where Certified mail comes in. This is a form of mail that offers many of the benefits of Registered mail but at a lower price.

Does this mean that Certified mail is always the right decision for you and your business? Not necessarily. It’s important that you understand the different pros and cons of each of these different mail services.

What Are the Pros of Registered Mail?

We already mentioned one of the benefits of Registered mail: its reliability. This is a system the USPS has been using for the better part of 200 years, and the system has proven itself very reliable over all these years.

Another big benefit for Registered mail is that you can purchase additional insurance for the things you are mailing. You can insure things for up to $50,000, making this an ideal way to mail very valuable items while still enjoying peace of mind.

You can also get delivery confirmation with Registered mail, so you don’t have to worry about “he said/she said” when it comes to delivery. And this form of mail is the preferred way to send things to your friends and loved ones stationed at military bases around the world.

Of course, no system is completely perfect. Therefore, it’s important to understand the cons of Registered mail as well as the pros.

What Are the Cons of Registered Mail?

What are the cons of Registered mail? One of the biggest cons is the lack of tracking.

Certified mail offers some very robust tracking features that Registered mail lacks. In fact, this useful site lays out exactly how Certified mail tracking works.

That means you cannot monitor your packages as the postal service ships them. This is doubly annoying if you or the receiver are wanting very specific ETAs for packages.

Speaking of ETAs, Registered mail has a reputation for being relatively slow. Typically, the USPS delivers packages between 10-14 days, so someone will have to wait up to 2 full weeks to receive their item.

Compounding this is the fact that you cannot purchase any kind of expedited shipping and that the USPS offers no delivery window guarantees. So, if you or the receiver have “the need for speed,” then Registered mail may not be your first choice.

Finally, as we mentioned earlier, Registered mail is more expensive than alternatives such as Certified mail.

What Are the Pros of Certified Mail?

Certified mail has a number of special benefits that come with it. The first is the verification of a received package.

As with Registered mail, you automatically get a mailing receipt. This provides proof of when you mailed something, and that proof is actually good enough to hold up in a court of law.

One of our favorite benefits is the tracking number. Every Certified mail receipt comes with a special tracking number that you can input online.

You can track your delivery status at any time with this number. And with Certified mail, you can get verification of a delivery either online or via telephone.

Finally, there’s the speed factor. You can send Certified mail as fast as you can send First Class or Priority Mail. This is why many people prefer using Certified mail to ship important items and documents, especially within the same city.

What Are the Cons of Certified Mail?

Certified mail has a number of very special benefits. However, like Registered mail, it comes with a number of drawbacks you should be aware of.

First, you cannot insure Certified mail like you can insure Registered mail. Registered mail delays occur because of the “lock and key” way that the USPS ships items. Because Certified mail is not shipped that way, the items cannot be similarly insured.

Second, you must purchase Return Receipt Service separately when it comes to Certified mail. Otherwise, you do not get the record that an item was delivered to the intended recipient.

So, Which Is Best For Me?

This brings us back to the central question: which kind of mail is best for me or for my business? The truth is that it depends on your exact needs.

Pound for pound, Certified mail is the best option for most people. It offers more features than Registered mail does, has fewer drawbacks, and it costs less.

However, Registered mail remains the only safe way to ship expensive items with a high level of insurance. If you are shipping something rare and expensive, Registered is the best choice.

For just about anything else, though, Certified mail is the best choice.

Registered Mail vs Certified Mail: The Bottom Line

Now you know more about registered mail vs certified mail. But do you know who can help your business succeed?

Here at Axcess News, we bring you all the news your business can use. To see how to craft a more successful startup, check out our comprehensive article!

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.