ZIP Code - What to Put

by Natasha
(South Africa)

ZIP codes are a system of postal codes used by the United States Postal Service (USPS) since 1963.


The term ZIP, an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan,1 was chosen to suggest that the mail travels more efficiently, and therefore more quickly (zipping along), when senders use the code in the postal address.

The basic format consists of five decimal numerical digits. An extended ZIP+4 code, introduced in 1983, includes the five digits of the ZIP code, a hyphen, and four additional digits that determine a more specific location within a given ZIP code.

The USPS provides a free online lookup tool for ZIP codes.

The term ZIP code was originally registered as a servicemark (a type of trademark) by the U.S. Postal Service, but its registration has since expired.2 USPS style for ZIP is all caps, although style sheets for some publications use sentence case or lowercase.

Other countries use a similar system but name it Postal Code or simply Code etc.

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