USPS Approval 101

What You Won’t Believe About “USPS Approval”

In order to stamp “US Mail approved by the Postmaster General” on a mailbox, the manufacturer must demonstrate that their manufacturing process is sound, and that the mailbox product meets a certain level of quality and integrity when subjected to harsh environmental conditions. However, the USPS does not include level of security as a criterion for curbside locking mailbox approval. In fact, we have found that the vast majority of USPS approved security mailboxes can be opened with a small screwdriver and very little effort; some boxes can even be broken into by hand. With many of the “hopper bin” incoming mail slot type boxes, one can simply reach in and retrieve the mail with no tools and no force!

At Epoch Design, we believe that no matter what the requirements, if manufacturers are going to use the terms “USPS Approved” and “Security Locking Mailbox” on their product package, they had better be able to back it up with some level of security. I believe many consumers see this terminology and trust that a government entity, the USPS, is looking out for the security of their mail to some degree. Furthermore I think that it is irresponsible, if not dishonest, for companies to manipulate the consumer thought process in this way.

I am not saying that all locking mailbox manufacturers use these misleading tactics. Indeed, there are several very secure curbside locking mailboxes available other than the Mail Boss (though they all cost more). But far and away, the vast majority of secure locking mailboxes are, in fact, not secure. Making the public aware of this reality is not a small task. In this busy world, not everyone has the time to invest in differentiating the first-rate from the inferior products.

I believe it is up to the companies that produce first-rate locking mailboxes to do what I have done here – Make consumers think twice before buying an inferior product, and let them know they have better alternatives.


  1. Rick on February 10, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Question: how do we leave mail for the mail-person? That is not explained in your instruction sheet with my new box or on-line.

  2. Gene l on July 26, 2018 at 9:43 am

    A blue mail box is on my private property. Can I charge the postal service rent? Thank you, Gene.

    • Jacob on October 5, 2021 at 9:34 am

      Gene, generally all mailbox’s are on private property. The box itself is the property of the USPS.

  3. Lynn Frary on October 22, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Can I order a neighbor to remove his mail box if it is on my property?

  4. Carole Goode on November 1, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    If you have a rural box, it should have a flag attached to the side of the box. Simply place your outgoing mail in your box, and close the door, then raising the flag. The carrier will remove your mail, then lower the flag.

  5. Melania on March 23, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    We have had a rural mailbox at the beginning of our road with many boxes in a row for at least 30 years. For many years we have opted to not receive mail in our box and posted this on the box. We have recently decided to receive mail at this house again and went to change our notice. We found that someone else had painted our box and put their address on it without ever discussing it with us. When I asked them to return our box they said our box had been “abandoned” and they had a right to take it over. Is this true? I’ve asked 2 different post offices and they said we should get our box back and it is not allowed to take over someone’s box. Can you clarify this for me?

  6. Bradley Buffinton on May 16, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    Are all mailboss products approved by postmaster general?

    • Gabriel w/ MailBoss on May 18, 2020 at 10:46 am

      Hi Bradley, thanks for your inquiry. Yes, all of our curbside mailboxes are U.S.P.S. approved! Wall-mount mailboxes do not have a postmaster approval process, so they are not, but are designed to similar specifications and have been used for years without issue. Give us a call if you have any further questions at 1(800)589-7990.

  7. Sue on April 1, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    Is it legal to repurpose a mailbox/post, placed on private front lawn property for use as a free neighborhood book/magazine exchange, with street walk-by access from the sidewalk?

    I live in Garland, Tx 75040 and thought this a nice neighborhood exchange with added recycling benefits.

    My thanks,

  8. Kerri on December 6, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    Does USPS approved mean that the mail carrier’s key will allow them to open the package compartment?

    • Gabriel w/ MailBoss on December 11, 2023 at 2:54 pm

      Hi Kerri, great question! The answer is no, a mail carriers ‘master key’ is used for Cluster Box Units (CBU) only. CBUs are where there are typically 12-20 mailboxes mounted on a single post – everyone has an individual key for their unit and the mail carrier accesses all 20 delivery points with 1 central access door key.

      Individual curbside mailboxes are only accessed using the upper, non-locking door stamped ‘US MAIL’. The mail carriers won’t carry keys for individual locking mailboxes. In this way a Mail Boss unit is actually more secure than a CBU – because the master key locks are not the most secure option as if a key is stolen (which is happening more and more across the country) then they will have access to a lot of mailboxes!

      Mail Boss locking mailboxes currently utilize 1000+ different unique keyways, and there is NOT a master key for our locking system.

  9. Joe Mac Donald on February 6, 2024 at 11:48 pm

    If a person is provided a locking mailbox within a USPS owned clusterbox unit, is the mail carrier obligated to insure that the individual (as well as the overall) unit is securely locked after mail has been deposited?

    • Gabriel w/ MailBoss on February 27, 2024 at 10:08 am

      Hi Joe, we do not make cluster box units that you refer to. You will want to reach out to your local post office or postmaster with this issue. I suspect that your carrier is responsible for locking up the clusterbox unit after they have completed delivery.

Leave a Comment