What is a Zip Code?
A ZIP Code is a postal code that is used by the United States Postal Service. It was introduced in 1963, the basic format comprised of five digits. However, an extended ZIP+4 code was introduced in 1983. It comprised of five digits of the ZIP Code having a hyphen and four digits that designated a more specific location.
What is a Postal Code?
A postal code is also locally known as postcode, ZIP code, postcode, or PIN in different English-speaking countries throughout the world. It is a series of digits or letters or both, and sometimes it also involves the use of spaces or punctuation added in a postal address in order to sort mail.
The characters that can be used in postal codes are:
Letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet
The Arabic numerals 0 to 9
What is the difference between postal and zip code?
Unlike postal codes, which can contain a mixture of numbers and letters, zip codes only contain a combination of numeric values. Regardless of their name or structure, most countries leverage a coding system—whether a zip code, postal code, or other structure—to ensure the rapid and efficient delivery of mail to users.
There are many different synonyms of postal code:
- CAP: The standard term in Italy; CAP is an acronym for codice di avviamento postale (postal expedition code).
- Eircode: The standard term used in Ireland.
- CEP: The standard term in Brazil; CEP is an acronym for código de endereçamento postal (postal addressing code).
- NPA: The standard term used in Italian-speaking Switzerland and French-speaking Switzerland.
- PIN code / Pincode: The standard term in India; PIN is an acronym for postal index number.
- Postal Code: The general term used in Canada.
- PLZ: The standard term in Germany, Austria, German-speaking Switzerland and Liechtenstein; PLZ is an abbreviation of Postleitzahl (postal routing number).
- Postcode: This solid compound is popular in many English-speaking countries and is also the standard term in the Netherlands.
- ZIP Code: The standard term in the United States and the Philippines; ZIP is an acronym for zone improvement plan.
- PSC: The standard term used in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
In February 2023, 117 of the 190 member countries of the Universal Postal Union had postal code systems. There were only a few postal code systems that are alphanumeric, and most of them are numeric. Usually, postal codes are assigned to geographical areas.