USPS charges money to change your address

I went to the Post Office looking for a change of address packet, only to find the colorful flier to the left. I was surprised the Post Office was so advanced and accepting change of address requests online. I moved just a year ago, and could only fill out a paper form and mail it in.  Little did I know, the online form would cost me money.

You go through several screens of the online address change request before you realize there is a fee. It’s only $1, but it’s the principle of it. The Post Office says the fee is charged to your credit or debit card to verify you’re who you say you are, and prevent fraud. It matches the address you currently live in or the new one with the address on file with your credit card.

Why can’t the Post Office just put a $1 hold on your account to verify it’s legitimate? Hotels and gas stations do this to make sure you have enough money in your account. Maybe this wouldn’t make the banks too happy since there ultimately wouldn’t be a charge on your account, but there has to be a better way. Even better disclosure would work for me. The card you pick up at the post office says nothing about a $1 fee.

They say it’s to verify your request against the address on file with your credit or debit card. However, why can’t they just put a $1 hold on your account to verify it’s legit and then refund it?

You can also change your address on the phone, but it won’t save you the $1. The only way to avoid the $1 fee is to mail in a form that you print off online. It’s called Form PS 3575. Your local Post Office may have it, too, but good luck having someone find it for you. You can also ask your mailman to deliver the form to your address. Then you can deliver the form to the Post Office or mail it.

If fraud is a concern at USPS, why don’t they ask for your identification when y you try to change your address with the paper form? Why is it only online? If fraud is really the main concern, maybe everyone needs to be subjected to scrutiny not just the users who submit the form online. Maybe then I’d feel that my $1 really serves a purpose and isn’t just  way for USPS to make money off me and other movers.

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11 responses to “USPS charges money to change your address

  1. I agree, Jenn!

  2. I completely agree! I found your site while googling information for the change of address fee. I think it’s absurd. A hold can verify your identity just as much as charging you could. If it’s a fee, just call it a fee. I don’t even think I’d be upset with it. An “Online convienence fee” of some sort. Don’t try to pass it off as something else. As Judge Judy says “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!” Lol!

    But, on a completely different note, they did say that you get instant access to over $500 in discounts. Do you remember what they were?

    • Amanda – So glad you found this. I think the discounts are those coupons you get like 10% off at a big box store for moving supplies, or 20% off a moving company, or $10 off if you spend $20 at a home store. I got them in the mail. The majority of them are meaningless, but some might help if you need things for your new home. Happy moving! It’s never a fun task!

  3. I’ve seen other business do this, but they REFUND the charge afterward. When opening a new account, Paypal, in a similar but entirely opposite fashion, makes a DEPOSIT to your credit card, but it is only pennies…of course, that entity actually makes a profit, I guess when you lose 10 million a year you need to come up with new reasons to charge people, but its a bit unethical, this ruse of claiming it as a fraud prevention measure, when so many other business have shown this can be accomplished without cost. It’s ironic, though, because to get the paper (no-cost) form you have to stand in line and interact with a USPS employee…the same activity they try to discourage by giving you a LOWER rate for doing online when mailing packages. Scratching head…

  4. Really?? All that whining over $1?

  5. You can actually verify such information without even putting a hold on the card. A simple address verification can be completed without charging the card at all. I would figure most people would gladly pay $1 rather than dealing with the post office in person and messing with a bunch of paperwork. Is your time worth less than a dollar? If so, I have some projects I’d like you to come work on for me.

  6. Just moved. USPS wants $20. I happily non-comply. And let them deal with the fallout!

  7. America is what? 300 Million ppl?
    how many % would change address each yr?
    at $1 per change, that would net a cool $3million per % per year.

  8. I feel the same as some these people. charge online and not paper. People that do paper don’t have to prove themselves so why online?

  9. Its a scam, they Post office only charges $.99. The website below explains it or just type “Post Office charges $19.95 to change address” and a ton of webistes come up letting you know it is a scam.

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/delivery/usps_coa.html