Certified vs Registered Mail: Difference and Comparison

Certified mail is one of the postal services given to the customer. The sender receives a certificate that the mail has been delivered to the specified person/authority with signature proof.

It also allows the sender to track the item’s safety using the 20-digit tracking code provided upon the mailing of the item.

This code enables the sender to follow each movement of the parcel.

The proof of receipt is kept with the postal office for almost two years in case the sender loses the certificate issued to them in the first place.


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Registered mail comes into play when the item mailed is of high value and requires additional protection.

It is a postal service that aims to prioritize the safety of the item being sent.

For this purpose, these mail items are kept locked in safety boxes. The sender can track these items using the 13-digit tracking code provided when mailing the item.

Registered mail provides additional services compared to certified mail, such as a chain of custody sent to the sender of the mailed item.

Key Takeaways

  1. Certified mail is a service provided by the postal system that offers proof of mailing and delivery confirmation. In contrast, registered mail is a more secure service that provides tracking, insurance, and a chain of custody for valuable or sensitive items.
  2. Certified mail is suitable for important documents or items requiring proof of delivery. In contrast, registered mail is designed for high-value or confidential items that require additional security and protection during transit.
  3. Both certified and registered mail provides additional safeguards compared to regular mail services. Still, certified mail focuses on delivery confirmation, while registered mail offers enhanced security, tracking, and insurance options.

Certified vs Registered Mail

Certified Mail is a service offered by postal services, including the United States Postal Service (USPS), that provides a sender with proof of mailing and delivery of important documents or packages. Registered Mail is a secure postal service offered by many postal administrations around the world.

Certified vs Registered mail


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonCertified MailRegistered Mail
MeaningIn this time of mail, the receiver’s signature becomes essential for the delivery man before the letter can be handed over.In this time of mail, it is ensured that the mail is transported and delivered with additional protection.
FocusIt is focused on delivering the mail to the right person with proof.It is focused on delivering the mail while maintaining safety.
CodeIt has a 20-digit tracking code.It has a 13-digit tracking code.
CostIt is an economical method of mailing itemsIt is costlier in comparison to certified mail.
Item handlingThe mail is generally treated like ordinary mail.The primary item is kept safe in locked boxes.
SuitabilityIt is suitable when proof of delivery is essential.It is suitable when mailing high-value items.
ServiceIt only provides a return receipt and returns receipt after mailing.It provides insurance, restricted delivery, return receipt after mailing, and return receipts.


What is Certified Mail?

Certified mail came into existence in 1755. It was an addon to the Registered Mail system. It is focused on ensuring that the package is delivered to the person/authority and the proof is collected at delivery time.

Thus, certified mail gives more attention to the delivery of the letter. These are sent along with regular mail.

Each certified mail is assigned a unique tracking number, which is around 20 digits long and enables the sender to get a view of the package status.

These mails are not insured. For the insurance of certified mail, the sender has to pay an additional amount of money.

The same is true if the sender wants a return receipt.

These mails resort to government and business mail. If the receiver refuses that they did not receive the mail, the proof of delivery makes them liable.

This domestic mail service has multiple delivery options such as certified mail, certified mail with return receipt, certified mail with electronic return receipt, certified mail with return receipt and restricted delivery, and return receipt after mailing service.

This service sends court documents, tax audit notifications, etc.

In short, it comes handy when the mail includes documents that must be legally recognized.

certified mail

What is Registered Mail?

Registered mail is the postal service that is a costlier mail method than the regular one. This is because it ensures the safety of the item being mailed.

This service provided by postal offices allows the sender to track the mail at every step, using the unique 13-digit code assigned to each mail.

This helps the person ensure the package was safely delivered to the recipient. It started in the mid-1500s in London.

These emails are not shipped with regular mail. The items of these mails are kept secured in locked boxes, and they generally arrive later than ordinary mails.

Usually, 10-14 days is the minimum delivery period. Registered mail provides the sender with a lot of benefits and facilities.

Some of them are proof of mailing, location tracking, proof of delivery, prioritized delivery, recordkeeping, protection against loss or theft, etc.

Registered mail can also provide proof of delivery upon request like certified mail. It offers services such as a chain of custody, returns receipt, and restricted delivery.

The restricted delivery of registered mail refers to the condition that the delivery will only occur when the addressee or the authority accepts the delivery. It prevents the misuse of the mail.

Registered mail opts for mailing valuables such as essential letters etc.

registered mail

Main Differences Between Certified and Registered Mail

  1. Certified mail is the postal service where the delivery person must take the recipient’s signature. On the other hand, registered mail is the postal service that provides a complete chain of custody and additional security to the item being mailed.
  2. Certified mail has a unique tracking code of 20 digits, whereas Registered Mail’s tracking code is only 13 digits.
  3. Certified mail focuses on ensuring delivery and proof of the same, whereas registered mail focuses on keeping the item being mailed safely.
  4. Registered mail is costlier than certified mail.
  5. Certified mail is shipped with regular mail, whereas registered mail is shipped differently.  
Difference Between Certified and Registered Mail
  1. https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-registered-mail.html
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