About Postal services in Finland

General information on postal services

How does Itella ensure the management of postal services?
What services does Posti offer to consumers?

Mail delivery

What is an ordinary letter's journey like from sender to addressee?
Where in Finland are deliveries sorted?
How do newspapers reach their subscribers?
How is it possible that an individual postal item can travel hundreds of kilometres from the sender to the addressee although they live in the same town?
Why are letter boxes grouped?
How does Posti serve residents in sparsely populated areas in particular?
How does Posti ensure mail delivery for aged or physically disabled people?

Mail delivery errors

Will a postal item reach its addressee if its address information is incomplete or erroneous?
What should I do if mail has been delivered to the wrong address?
How often do errors occur in mail delivery?

Addresses, moving and contact information

What kinds of services does Posti offer for holidaymakers or people moving house?
How can I submit a change of address or a notification of a move or interrupt mail delivery?
What does 'Posti contact information services' mean?
What is parcel routing?

Postcards

What does the future of the traditional postcard look like?
What kind of electronic options does Posti offer for sending greetings?

Stamps

Where do stamp topics come from?
What is a personalized stamp?
Are old FIM-denominated stamps still valid?

Post offices and outlets

Why are postal services sometimes transferred and offered in companies?
Are the services offered in post offices and postal outlets managed by independent entrepreneurs different?
Why do post offices' ranges of offerings vary?
Is Posti still involved in advance voting for elections in Finland?
What is SmartPOST?

Posti's phone and web services

What are the opening hours of Posti's Call Centre? In what languages can customers obtain service?
How much does it cost to phone the Call Centre?
Why is it not possible to phone a certain post office directly?
In what other ways can Posti be contacted?

Posti in figures

To how many addresses does Posti deliver mail?
How many postal items does Posti deliver per day and year?
How many kilometres do mail carriers and vehicles travel in a day and in a year?
How many yellow letterboxes does Posti have in Finland?
How many Posti service outlets are there in Finland?
How many calls are made to Call Centre?
How much money do households use for postal expenses?
How many postcards are sent annually?
How many Christmas cards are sent annually?
How many changes of address are submitted on an annual basis?

 

General information on postal services

How does Itella ensure the management of postal services?

Postal services form the cornerstone of our company’s operations. We make sure that letter and parcel services, which are considered a universal service, are available to everyone throughout Finland, five days a week.

According to the Postal Act, universal service products include:

  • Letter deliveries of up to 2 kg, paid with common cash payment methods
  • Parcels of up to 10 kg, sent and picked up from a Posti service outlet
  • Registration and insurance services for the above-mentioned items
  • Universal services include both domestic and foreign services

Further information about the universal service at Finlex.fi.

What services does Posti offer to consumers?

Posti offers services for sending, receiving, special occasions and e-transactions.

Consumers can send letters, postcards and parcels at post offices or drop letters bearing a stamp in a letterbox. In sparsely populated areas, letters to be sent can be left for the mail carrier or in one's own mailbox, provided it is equipped with a collection sign.

Postal items can be received in one's own mailbox, mail slot or electronic Netposti service. Parcels and other items requiring the Addressee's signature can be collected at the post office, or a home delivery service can be ordered for them. The modern Posti parcel points allow to send a parcel to another parcel terminal in Finland or Estonia and to all postal outlets in Finland.

Posti offers a wide range of products for greetings and special occasions, from postcards to gifts. Using a computer, the sender can also select a postcard which will be delivered as a traditional card.

Posti also offers services to people who are moving or on holiday. For more information on these services, visit Posti's website.

 

Mail delivery

What is an ordinary letter's journey like from sender to addressee?

The journey of letters from sender to addressee is based on detailed schedules, involving a large number of processing stages.

  • Postal items can be posted by popping them into one of the 7,400 letterboxes or any post offices located around the country.
  • Items are then collected and transported to post centres or terminals for initial sorting.
  • During the night, articulated lorries or aeroplanes transport letters between post centres.
  • Next, items are further sorted at the destination area's post centre or terminal, from where they are transported to delivery offices responsible for pre-delivery sorting.
  • Finally, items are delivered to their addressees during the next working day.

Where in Finland are deliveries sorted?

The majority of mail is sorted by machine. Finland's seven post centres are located in Helsinki, Tampere, Kuopio, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Seinäjoki and Turku. Itella's logistics centre for handling the majority of sent parcels is located in Vantaa.

See also: Itella Posti plans to renew its sorting machines.

How do newspapers reach their subscribers?

A publishing house may ensure the delivery of its newspapers by using its own delivery company or by purchasing the service from Itella. A significant part of Finnish newspapers are delivered to their subscribers' homes seven days a week during early-morning delivery, occurring during the night and morning. In sparsely populated areas, newspapers are often delivered as part of the basic delivery during the daytime, together with letters. The delivery of newspapers is not regulated under legislation, but the related service levels are defined by the publishing houses.

How is it possible that an individual postal item can travel hundreds of kilometres from the sender to the addressee although they live in the same town?

Posti transports and delivers some 12 million items on a daily basis. Processing such huge volumes requires machine sorting, which is centralised in eight post centres located around the country. For this reason, each postal item travels through at least one sorting centre on its route from sender to addressee.

Why are letter boxes grouped?

When letterboxes are located in a group of several boxes, mail delivery is smoother and the mail carrier's work is made easier. Grouping enables easier delivery when a vehicle is used.

A vehicle designed for mail deliveries promotes occupational health and safety and well-being at work. As a result of the correct positioning and grouping of letterboxes, driving the vehicle is safe and disturbs other traffic as little as possible when the vehicle does not have to cross roads, reverse out of driveways and crossroads or stop at letterboxes as often.

Harmonious groups of letterboxes create a tidy and uniform town and landscape. A correctly located letterbox or group of letterboxes does not form an obstacle to snow ploughing or other road maintenance.

By locating and grouping letterboxes in the correct way, Finland Post aims to manage the costs of labour-intensive mail delivery. The management of delivery costs is also necessary in order to maintain a five-day delivery network in the future.

Location of letterboxes and groups of letterboxes

How does Posti serve residents in sparsely populated areas in particular?

In sparsely populated areas, where the local postal outlet is at a distance of over five kilometres, mail carriers will, on request, deliver parcels and other items requiring the Addressee's signature when conducting the basic delivery, free of charge. This service can be agreed by calling the Posti Customer Service at 0200 71000 (local call/mobile call charge). This service is not available in the areas of Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen.

In sparsely populated areas, ordinary letters bearing a stamp can be posted by leaving them with the mail carrier for transporting. Some localities also allow residents to use a collection sign placed on their own mailbox, allowing the residents to send postal items directly from their own mailboxes. The mail carrier will collect such items when next delivering mail to the customer. A collection sign enabling the use of this service has been distributed to people living in areas where the distance to the nearest Posti letterbox is exceptionally long.

How does Posti ensure mail delivery for aged or physically disabled people?

For aged or physically disabled people, delivery of mail is always arranged on a case-by-case basis. Read more at Posti.fi.

 

Mail delivery errors

Will a postal item reach its addressee if its address information is incomplete or erroneous?

Yes, it probably will but its delivery may be delayed. Smooth mail delivery is based on complete and legible address information displayed on postal items. Mail undergoes a number of sorting and processing stages before actual delivery. Any slight error in the postal code during the mechanical sorting process may misdirect mail, which may cause a one or two-day delay in delivery.

Items which cannot be sorted mechanically will be sorted by hand. If there is uncertainty about the addressee, mail is returned to the sender, and if there is uncertainty about the sender, mail is forwarded to Posti's Jyväskylä Investigation Service. The Investigation Service makes use of Posti's comprehensive address register in an attempt to track down addressee or sender information. If this does not work out either, mail is forwarded to FICORA's undeliverable postal items unit, which is authorised to open letters and parcels in order to find out to whom the mail belongs. Incomplete, outdated or illegible address information often leads to delivery delays.

What should I do if mail has been delivered to the wrong address?

Despite highly automated mail processing, people are still involved, which is why misdeliveries are possible, albeit uncommon. In the case of misdelivered postal items, Posti would be grateful if the recipient would mark the item with 'väärin jaettu' (misdelivered) and return it to the nearest yellow letterbox, postal outlet or to the mail carrier. If you have any questions, you can call Posti's Customer Service at 0200 71000.

How often do errors occur in mail delivery?

Delivery of mail requires rapidity and accuracy, and it is work carried out by people. Mail delivery and sorting is conducted daily by some 17,000 people, to enable the delivery of 12 million items every working day. Considering the large scale of our operations, mistakes cannot be avoided completely. It is possible that, on occasions, postal items are delivered to the wrong addressee, delivered late or fail to reach their addressees.

An ordinary letter is transported, processed and delivered without individual tracking and the Addressee's signature. Annually, customers make approximately 18,000 missing item inquiries, of which some 11,000 concern ordinary letters. Approximately half of these inquiries can be solved. The unsolved cases, however, do not always involve items which were lost while they were in the possession and under the responsibility of Posti. Often the missing cases were caused by a factor independent of Posti. For instance, if the item's address information is incomplete or erroneous, delivery of the item may be impossible. In addition, a certain number of items disappear due to vandalism or crimes targeted at letterboxes or mailboxes.

The Finnish Communication Authority monitors the implementation of postal services falling within the scope of the universal service obligation, including the delivery speed of letters. Quality criteria for postal services have been laid down in legislation.

 

Addresses, moving and contact information

What kind of services does Posti offer for holidaymakers or people moving house?

In order to have your mail delivered to the correct address from the correct date, you should submit the change-of-address notification or notice of delivery interruption well in advance. On the Internet and by telephone, you can also submit a notification for family members moving at the same time.

Posti will automatically inform a number of companies and organisations of changed contact information. A listing of these companies and organisations is available on the Posti website.

Holidaymakers can choose either a fixed-term change of address, or delivery interruption. A fixed-term change of address redirects your mail to your holiday address. If you wish to redirect newspapers, too, you should contact the newspaper publisher. During delivery interruption, incoming mail will be retained for the designated period, and will be available for collection at your local post office.

How can I submit a change of address or a notification of move or interrupt mail delivery?

The quickest and most inexpensive way of filing a change of address is via the Internet at www.changeaddress.fi. The change-of-address telephone service (0203 456 456) is available 24/7. The notification can also be filed on a form at all post offices.

What does 'Posti contact information services' mean?

By using these services, consumers can direct their mail delivery, submit a change of address, redirect mail to the summer cottage or interrupt mail delivery for the duration of a holiday trip. A change of address can also be reported to the Local Register Office through the same service. In addition to your home address, other contact information can be updated with the service, such as a telephone number, e-mail address, and addresses to your workplace or summer cottage.

The service is available on the Internet at yhteystietosi.posti.fi (Please note: no 'www.' in the address.)

What is parcel routing?

Usually, parcels are routed to the customer's nearest postal outlet, specified according to the customer's home address. When ordering from an online store, the customer may select the parcel pickup location from among the options offered by the online merchant. The locations include Posti pickup locations. Posti's Parcel Routing Service provides more choice. It allows consumers to route online store parcels to the Posti service outlet of their choice, which include pickup locations, postal outlets and parcel points. The service can be activated online.

 

Postcards

What does the future of the traditional postcard look like?

The postcard has held its ground throughout the 2000s and, in particular, cards are sent seasonally, e.g. at Christmastime, or for other special reasons. A paper card is seen as valuable in itself even with Facebook and other social media tools offering ways to remember friends on special occasions. (Read more about the study in Finnish.)

What kind of electronic options does Posti offer for sending greetings?

Cards can be sent via the Internet, the addressee receives a genuine paper postcard by mail.

Read more on the Posti website

 

Stamps

Where do stamp topics come from?

In Finland, anyone can suggest a topic for a stamp. All you need to do is to compose a free-form proposal in writing. On this website you can submit your suggestion and provide reasons for why this topic should be perpetuated on a stamp. Each proposal will be reviewed. Publishing decisions are made by the Stamp Committee nominated by Itella Corporation, comprising both Itella representatives and outsiders. Some 400 proposals have been received on an annual basis.

What is a personalized stamp?

In the spring of 2003, Itella Posti Oy was the world's first company to introduce a personalized stamp application customers could use to design their own stamps on the Posti website.

The personalized stamps can be either 1st or 2nd class stamps, in a sheet of 10 stamps.

Read more about the personalized stamp service for private consumers (Posti.fi) and companies (Itella.fi).

Are old FIM-denominated stamps still valid?

No, FIM-dominated stamps have not valid since the end of 2011. 

 

Post offices and outlets

Why postal services are sometimes transferred and offered in companies?

The renewal of the post office and outlet network was initiated due to changes in customers' needs and consumer behaviour. Internet and the phone have also become popular channels with regard to postal errands. Increased competition in parcel services, on the other hand, is affecting the number of items handed out from post offices. Together, these factors have generated a need to enhance Posti's service operations.

Through co-operation with independent entrepreneurs, we can guarantee a nationwide network which is as comprehensive as possible.

Posti pickup points and Posti Parcel points have recently been introduced alongside Posti shops and postal agency outlets operating in conjunction with businesses. Pickup points are for retrieving shipments, purchasing stamps and submitting customer return items.

Are the services offered in post offices and postal outlets managed by independent entrepreneurs different?

No. Postal outlets located in connection with enterprises offer all of the same postal services as in Posti's own outlets.

Why do the ranges of offering vary by post office?

The product ranges in Posti's own outlets support the basic task of a post office: receiving and handing out items. For instance, packaging materials and gift items suitable for mailing fit in well with such a range, while sweets boost other sales.

Posti's outlets operating in connection with other service companies indeed vary, but their basic offerings also include products and services related to mailing and packaging.

Is Posti still involved in advance voting for elections in Finland?

Advance voting for presidential, parliamentary or local elections has taken place in postal outlets since 1970. While advance voting locations in the entire country were previously defined by the Ministry of Justice, as of 2002, municipalities have been responsible for arranging advance voting. On a case-by-case basis, Itella and municipalities negotiate over which postal outlet will serve as the advance voting facility. Agency shops run by retailers cannot serve as advance voting venues.

What is Posti Parcel point (SmartPOST)?

The Posti Parcel point is a new, simple way of sending and receiving parcels. When you order a product from an online store, you will be notified of the parcel’s arrival by SMS and you may conveniently pick up your parcel from the Posti Parcel point you have selected.

Find out more about Posti Parcel points.

 

Posti's phone and web services

What are the opening hours of Posti's Call Centre? In what languages can customers obtain service?

Posti Customer Service for consumers is open from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For service in English or Finnish, call 0200 71000 (local call/mobile call charge). For service in Swedish, call 0200 27100 (local call/mobile call charge).

How much does it cost to phone the Call Centre?

A customer calling our Customer Service will pay a local call charge or mobile call charge to the customer's telephone operator company. The time subject to charge will begin immediately after Posti replies to it, meaning that the queuing time for the Customer Service is charged, too. No supplementary fees will be charged from the caller.

Why is it not possible to phone a certain post office directly?

Telephone communications have been centralised in Posti's Customer Service. This frees up the employees working at the post offices to concentrate on serving customer who arrive at the post office. Customer Service is able to use the same information systems as the post offices, so, for instance, information concerning an arriving parcel will be visible at Customer Service. If necessary, a call will be forwarded to the post office concerned.

In what other ways can Posti be contacted?

In addition to calling, customers may submit questions or feedback on our website. In addition, feedback forms on paper are available at each post office.

You can also send e-mail, to asiakaspalvelu@posti.fi.  

 

Posti in figures

To how many addresses does Posti deliver mail?

Five-day mail delivery coveres 5.4 million consumers and 250,000 enterprises and organizations.

How many postal items does Posti deliver per day and year?

Every working day, Posti delivers almost 12 million items letters, magazines, newspapers and direct mail. Every year, some 3 billion items are processed.

How many kilometres do mail carriers and vehicles travel in a day and in a year?

Our fleet of 4,000 commercial vehicles records a total of more than 125 million kilometers each year. We also deliver mail by foot and by bicycle. About 1,400 delivery routes are handled by bicycle every day. Finland ist the first country in the world to receive all mail through carbon neutral delivery.

How many letterboxes does Posti have in Finland?

People can post their mail in 7,000 letterboxes and in all post offices across the country, most of them are yellow. In the busiest mailing locations, there are blue letter boxes for 1st class mail only and yellow boxes are used for 2nd class items.

Read more about the new letter sending policy.

For the locations and emptying schedules of all letterboxes, as well as the information of Posti shops and postal agency shops, please visit Posti's website at www.posti.fi.

How many Posti service outlets are there in Finland?

Posti's service network is one of the most comprehensive in Finland. Itella Posti provides its consumer and corporate customers with a diverse, nationwide postal network. The service network consists of full-service post offices, parcel points and pickup locations, plus corporate service points, stamp retail outlets, letterboxes, home delivery services and the Netposti electronic mailbox service.

The plan is to increase the number of new kinds of service outlet (currently 1,300) by around 200 by the year 2016, bringing the number of Posti outlets to 1,500.

Every municipality in mainland Finland has at least one full-service postal outlet.

The post offices located in the Åland Islands are under the responsibility of Posten på Åland, an independent postal company.

Post Office Search

How many calls are made to Call Centre?

The Call Centre answers around 2 million telephone calls and 90,000 e-mail queries per year.

How much money do households use for postal expenses?

Finnish households spend a little more than EUR 20 per year on sending letters and cards, or EUR 31 per year including parcel services.

How many postcards are sent annually?

The annual number of postcards sent in Finland totals some 65 million, most of them are Christmas greetings. Also Valentine's Day greetings and Easter greetings are popular.

How many Christmas cards are sent annually?

The importance of sending Christmas cards seems not to have decreased significantly and e-greetings are not encroaching on the Christmas card tradition. The progress in the number of traditional Christmas cards sent:

  • 20 million exceeded in 1978
  • 30 million exceeded in 1982
  • 40 million exceeded in 1985
  • 50 million exceeded in 1995
  • In the 2010's began slight degrease.
  • In 2013, Finns posted around 37 million Christmas greetings.

The Christmas postage specified below has been in use since 1990.

How many changes of address are submitted on an annual basis?

Every year, more than 850,000 households and around 25,000 companies file changes of address of various types (permanent or fixed-term, mail delivery interruption). Some 85,000 households redirect their mail to a summer address, or agree on a delivery interruption.

The contact information service is one of the most popular online postal services. The service was used to report almost 400,000 changes of address, which accounts for nearly half of all reported changes of address.