Zip codes are perhaps one of the cleverest inventions since sliced bread. We use these, as well as area codes, on an almost daily basis. But when you start to learn more about US postal zip code lists, you may start to wonder what it is you are actually looking at. What do those numbers really mean? And you may also want to know where you can get hold of a zip code list as well. Hopefully, the following will lift the veil a little bit.

Understanding ZIP Codes:

Zip codes are numerical codes that designate a specific geographical area of the country. You can learn more about US postal zip code lists and how to look them up, but it may be interesting to understand the meaning of the numbers first. Zip codes have been developed so that mail can be sent and received efficiently, by assigning a numerical number to every geographical part of the country. Zip codes have been assigned by the US Postal Service (USPS) but every country in the world uses the same system, although with different alphanumerical characters. Local post services in other countries are responsible for assigning zip codes there, which is why the systems work differently in different countries. Zip codes are also often referred to as 'postal codes'. There is no difference in meaning between zip and postal.

Some companies receive and send so much mail in this country that they are actually given their own zip code. This can be a bit confusing, but it helps postal workers to make it easier for mail to arrive in the right place. Hence, don't be surprised to see a zip code that actually refers to a company name instead of their location.

Where To Find US Postal ZIP Code Lists:

Because zip codes are assigned by the USPS, they also maintain the database of currently used codes. You can learn more about US postal zip code lists by simply navigating to their website. Other websites also have codes, and these tend to be fully accurate as well. All you have to do is fill in a few details in terms of what you are looking for, and search. You can either type in an address and find the zip code that is associated with it, or you can type in a zip code and find out which geographical area it refers to.

The USPS website, as stated, is only one place to lookup zip codes. The information is completely free, which means that a lot of services have been started to help people find codes. You should never have to pay for these services, since they are available through the mentioned website. Because there are so many available, however, you might want to cross reference them somewhat, so that you don't accidentally send your post to the wrong place. When you write an address on an envelope, the zip code takes precedence over everything else, so if you get that one wrong, it is unlikely that your post will arrive at its destination.