Difference Between ZIP Code and Postal Code (With Table)

ZIP Code vs Postal Code

The ZIP Code and Postal codes are the codes that are generally used while writing an address. The codes help to identify the city and the post offices of the place to which the parcels or the letters are sent. It will make a quick difference in the locations. In a city, there may be places with the same names.

The codes help to find a difference between those places which share the same name. The codes may be a sequence of numbers. Sometimes the codes may also include alphabets and punctuations. The pattern of usage of the codes may differ from one country to another country. There is always a thin line difference between the postal code and the ZIP Codes. But the aim of using both the codes is to route the mails to the correct person.

The main difference between the ZIP Code and the Postal Code is that the ZIP Code can be used only in the United States whereas a Postal Code can be used anywhere in the world.


Comparison Table Between ZIP Code and Postal Code (in Tabular Form)

ParametersZIP CodePostal Code
The locations of the codeThe ZIP Code is used only in the United States.The Postal Code is used in other countries apart from the USA.
Year of introducing the codesThe ZIP Code was introduced in the year 1963.The postal code was introduced in the year 1959.
Usage by the countriesThe countries that make use of the ZIP Code for their delivery system are the United States and the Philippines.All other countries except the USA and Philippines make use of the postal codes for their delivery system.
PurposeThe ZIP Codes were introduced just for reference and identification of the locations.The postal codes were introduced to have the reference, identify the location, to know more about the census and also to plan the routes
The sequenceZIP Code is only a sequence of numbers.The Postal Code is an alphanumeric code.


What is ZIP Code?

The acronym ZIP stands for Zone Improvement Plan. The ZIP Code is used for making a delivery of the letter or a courier that the people would like to send them to the other states.

The  ZIP Code can be used only in the United States of America. The ZIP Code specifies the exact location of a post office or the address where the post should reach. Each ZIP Code contains 5 digits. The ZIP Code is divided into three parts. They are:

  1. National area
  2. Regional area
  3. Delivery area

The United States Postal services are divided into ten areas of ZIP Code. The first digit in the ZIP Code represents the National area. The next two digits of the ZIP Code shows the regional area. The last two digits mention the associated post office which is the delivery area.

The ZIP Codes of an area are not fixed according to the boundary of the States. They are just fixed to increase the efficiency of the mailing service. In this way, the ZIP Codes can also cross the border of the states. Initially only a 4 digit ZIP Code was introduced. But later an extended ZIP Code called as the Zip +4 Code was introduced which included 5 digits. There are four types of ZIP Codes. They are:

  1. Unique
  2. Post office box only
  3. Military
  4. Standard
Difference Between Registered and Unregistered Trademark (With Table)

An unique ZIP Code will be assigned to a single address that covers a huge volume of area.

Post office box only can not be used for any other kinds of delivery other than the post boxes of specific areas.

The Military ZIP Code is used only when the mail is to be sent to the U.S military.

The ZIP Codes that are not used for the above-mentioned purposes will fall under the standard ZIP Code.

ZIP Code

What is Postal Code?

Many countries around the world use the Postal system to route the mails to the specific geographical locations. The Postal codes may either contain only numbers or a combination of alphabets and numbers. Some of the postal codes contain punctuation marks. The choice of the pattern of the Postal codes vary from one country to another country. Through the Postal codes the information such as Street name, district, municipality, country and region.

The Postal Code is not used only for routing the mails. It is also used to find other organizations that are nearer to the mentioned postal address. It also helps in the economic development of a country. The database of the Postal Codes are sold when the companies want them to access different locations.

Postal Code

Main Differences Between ZIP Code and Postal Code

  • A plan to the route can be obtained with the help of the Postal Code. But using a ZIP Code a route can never be traced
  • The ZIP Code is only a combination of numbers. But a postal code contains numbers, alphabets, and sometimes punctuation marks are also included
  • The pattern of the ZIP Code remains the same. But the patterns of the Postal codes keep changing
  • The ZIP Code can be used only in certain countries but a Postal Code can be used worldwide
  • The number of digits of the ZIP Code is fixed. But the number of digits of the Postal Code vary



The advent of the ZIP Codes and the Postal codes have helped the mail embassies in a greater way. Inna postal address these codes play a vital role.  Hence the mentioning of the codes in the right order is a must. Since the ZIP Code is divided into parts and has the same pattern, it is easier to trace but it is not the same with the Postal Code.

Nowadays to make the work easier some websites provide the ZIP Code and the Postal Code of the place that we want to use in the address. This feature will save time when we need not search for the codes at the post office.


Word Cloud for Difference Between ZIP Code and Postal Code

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on ZIP Code and Postal Code. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Difference between ZIP code and Postal Code

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