Free ZIP+4 Code™ Lookup, What the Full 9-Digit Code Is, How It Helps
A ZIP+4 Code or 9-Digit-ZIP Code is a 4-digit code added to the end of a 5-digit ZIP Code. The last 4 digits of each 9-digit ZIP Code indicate specific delivery routes of roughly 1-20 mailboxes, and the five digits before the +4 Code indicate the destination post office or delivery area.
ZIP+4 Codes are also frequently referred to "Plus-Four Codes", "ZIP Code Extensions", "9-digit ZIP Codes", "Full ZIP Codes", or simply "Extended ZIP Codes". No matter what name you use, ZIP plus 4 codes aid the USPS in sorting and distributing mail effectively.
Free, 9-digit, Full ZIP Code Lookup
USPS ZIP+4 Code lookups are a cinch with the right tools. Smarty provides easy-to-use tools for a single ZIP+4 Code lookup, batch ZIP+4 Code lookup (up to millions at a time), and even ZIP+4 lookup via API.
Our API can integrate with your website/program for full ZIP Code lookup capabilities. Plus, our API includes address validation and standardization. We offer speeds of up to 75,000 lookups per second.
In other words, when you need full ZIP Code lookups for all 190,000,000 delivery points in the US, Smarty could finish the entire nation in 42 minutes. Not coincidentally, 42 is also the answer to life, the universe, and everything.
|ZIP+4 Code Lookup - One at a Time||Bulk ZIP Plus 4 Lookup||Lookup Last 4 Digits of Zip Codes via API|
In this article; we'll cover:
- How to Find My ZIP+4 Code Extension?
- What ZIP+4 Codes Are
- Full, 9-Digit ZIP Code Benefits
- How ZIP Codes Became 9-Digit-ZIP Codes
- ZIP+4 Code Database
- What Is My Full ZIP Code?
How to Find My ZIP+4 Code Extension
Quickly find the last 4 digits of ZIP Codes for almost any address in the United States by watching this video.
What ZIP+4 Codes Are
ZIP+4 Codes are 4-digit codes appended to the original 5-digit USPS ZIP Codes. Using the full ZIP Code with the extra 4 digits when mailing via the USPS ensures the fastest, most accurate mailing possible.
These codes indicate a specific delivery route, meaning the actual path the mail truck would travel in a single drop-off. Usually, this comprises ten to twenty homes or locations. The USPS also assigns ZIP+4 Codes to PO Boxes. Typically, each PO Box gets its own +4 Code, which often matches the box number.
The extra 4 digits on ZIP Codes identify segments of fluid postal delivery routes. They're not permanent lines, so those last 4 digits on 9-digit ZIP Codes can change regularly. Five-digit ZIP Codes also change, but they do so infrequently; it's less likely that you will live in a ZIP Code when it changes. Not so for the last 4 digits of zip codes.
The +4 on a ZIP Code can change as frequently as every month. Quantity of postal employees, new construction, remapping delivery areas, etc., are just a few things that cause ZIP+4 Code changes.
Full, 9-Digit ZIP Code Benefits
Here are a few benefits of looking up ZIP+4 Codes/9-digit ZIP Codes as a part of your address data management or shipping processes.
- Faster Shipping - Each ZIP+4 Code represents segments of delivery routes that are usually within a single block of the desired delivery point. That simple 9-digit number makes routing more efficient since the USPS knows which mail person will put the letter in the mailbox. Completing ZIP+4s on your mail can speed up processing and delivery, sometimes by as many as two days.
- Reduce Lost Mail & Misdeliveries - More efficient routing also means fewer opportunities for mistakes along the way.
- Less Returned Mail - Obtaining ZIP+4 Codes requires validation; that means the address is a valid delivery point. It also means the address information is standardized to the USPS address format. Mail delivery is more reliable with a valid, standardized address with ZIP4 Code since the address data is clearly understood.
- Save Money with Bulk Mailings - If you send at least 50 packages or more than 200-500 pieces of mail, you may be able to qualify for commercial mailing discounts. By adding ZIP+4 Codes, Delivery Point Barcodes, and sorting/bundling your mail, you can get discounts up to 5% to nearly 60% off the prices you'd pay at the post office.
- Cleaner Address Data - Addresses must be validated, standardized, and corrected before you get the ZIP+4 Code. So, you get much more than a pretty 9-digit ZIP Code; you get a clean, standard address. Clean, standard addresses are easy to sort and compare. Comparing a table of standardized, verified addresses allows you to identify duplicates, delete redundancies or merge records easily.
- Enriched Address Data - When you give Smarty an address and ask for the ZIP+4 Code, we give you the ZIP+4 Code along with the validated, standardized address. We also provide up to 45 points of data about the addres, including county information, lat/long coordinates, time zone, whether the address is residential or commercial, and more data that can be used for business intelligence and to understand your mail recipients better.
That's right. Your mail can show up faster, cheaper, and more reliably if you label things right, plus you get less returned mail. Bet you're scrambling to look up those full ZIP Codes now. Grab those extra 4 digits now.
How ZIP Codes Became 9-Digit-ZIP Codes
Fully understanding the last four digits of ZIP Codes requires knowing about 5-digit ZIP Codes too.
These are the codes you know. They look like this.
The Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP) was something the USPS came up with to make it easier to ship letters and packages across the country. ZIP helps divide the country into different "zones" according to the distribution of mail, which accelerates sorting and delivery.
On July 1, 1963, the Post Office Department launched the Zone Improvement Plan. At the same time, they introduced the world to Mr. ZIP or "Zippy." Zippy is the official ZIP Code mascot pictured on our ZIP Codes 101 page. They also released the ZIP Code jingle:
As the US population has increased and scattered since 1963, it's been necessary to expand the system to make room for everybody and their dog. That's where the "plus 4" part comes in. We're getting ahead of ourselves, so let's start with the basics.
If you're mailing a letter from Boston to Seattle, the mail carrier in Massachusetts doesn't care what the street address of the destination is. It's what you might call "outside his jurisdiction." He just needs to know which mail carrier to send it to so the appropriate mailperson can get it to the address.
A postal worker can only cover so much ground on a given day. And since the USPS has a standard of delivering in the rain, sleet, or snow, that rules out the possibility of doing the service of delivery in stages (some today, some tomorrow). That means any given post office only serves what it can reach in a day. ZIP Codes reflect that.
Typically, a ZIP Code ties to a post office; by that, we mean every one of the latter has one of the former. You might think of ZIP Codes as a mailing address for a particular post office. Some handle more than one ZIP Code, but a one-on-one game plan is a standard.
It's essential to note that ZIP Codes aren't "boundaries." They're a collection of delivery routes. They don't follow geographic or administrative boundary lines; they can cross city, county, and state lines. They follow where the delivery trucks go.
Some ZIP Codes are a bit different in function. Among them are "military" ZIP Codes, which include everything from military bases (domestic or otherwise) to battleships at sea. Then there are "unique" ZIP Codes. Businesses and organizations sometimes get their own ZIP Code that they don't have to share with anyone due to the volume of mail they send and receive.
These frequently benefit from bulk mailing discounts since the organization usually has a mail department that (1) presorts mail before giving it to the USPS and (2) distributes mail internally, so the USPS doesn't have to. Like standard ZIP Codes, "military" and "unique" ZIP Codes circumscribe their delivery area. For a more in-depth guide, visit our ZIP Codes page.
ZIP+4 Code Database
For many users, the best way to access the USPS ZIP+4 database is through a CASS Certified USPS address validation vendor. Like Smarty. Since the last four digits of ZIP Codes update frequently, even month-old data isn't reliable. Checking addresses regularly against the database will ensure your data remains clean.
The ZIP+4 Code database can be accessed free directly through the USPS site or the USPS address validation API. In our USPS APIs article, you will find a comprehensive list of uses and limitations of the USPS web-based tool and API
What Is My Full ZIP Code?
If you want to ask, "What is my ZIP Code with the extra 4 digits?" All you need to do is use one of the three buttons at the top of the page, enter your address, and you'll have your +4 code instantly. That was easy!
The quiz will include three things:
- ZIP+4 Codes indicate delivery routes.
- Using ZIP+4 Codes gets your mail there faster and more accurately.
- We at Smarty (formerly SmartyStreets) can get you those codes.
If you want to try it on a single address, you can now use our single address verification tool. Our blindingly fast USPS address verification API provides the appropriate ZIP+4 Code for every address we process. Go ahead and perform some postal address verification.
Or you could call us instead if you'd rather talk to an actual person. (We'd offer a fake person, but we don't have one of those on staff.) Either way, we can help you ZIP your address and ZIP it well.