No stimulus check yet? A Postal Service mail tracking app may be able to help

If you're still waiting for your stimulus check and the IRS' Get My Payment app isn't providing you with the information you need, the US Postal Service may be able to help. The post office has a free service that automatically scans letters as they're processed and then can alert you when the envelope containing your check is on its way.

The service will even send you a picture of the letter from the IRS, so you know what to look out for and when it's coming. Called Informed Delivery, it lets you keep tabs on the letter's progress through notifications on your phone or computer.

There are a few things to keep in mind. Informed Delivery will show you all your documents scanned by the post office, not just your stimulus payment. It won't be able to tell you why you don't have a stimulus payment yet, or what to do if your stimulus check never arrives. And it doesn't replace the IRS portal for tracking your payment, which we like for its ability to give you a ballpark estimate of when your check might be on its way. You can cancel at any time.

Read on to learn how to use the USPS tool to see your stimulus check in the mail and brush up on the latest about the second stimulus check that's been proposed.

How to see your own personal mailbag

It can take three business days to activate your account after you set it up. Once it's live, you will receive an email each morning Monday through Saturday if mail is scheduled to arrive, notifying you of mail that will be delivered, along with a grayscale image of the front of the letter. You can also use the free Android and iPhone Informed Delivery app to be notified.

Am I definitely getting my stimulus check in the mail?

At this point, you're more likely to receive your money in the mail than in your bank account. That's because the IRS deadline to provide your direct deposit information passed on May 13.

The federal revenue agency said its focus is now on sending payments in the mail through the post office -- either as a paper check or as a prepaid debit card called the economic impact payment, or EIP, card. Read on to track your payment envelope in the mail.

Informed Delivery: Quickly check that you're eligible

When the USPS runs mail through its automated mail sorting equipment, it creates a digital image of the front of all letter-size mail, and that includes your stimulus check. The Informed Delivery program uses this digitally captured information to notify you when each piece of mail is on the way.

The service is available to many residential and personal P.O. box addresses but not businesses. It also won't work for some multiunit buildings where the Postal Service hasn't yet identified each unit.

Here's how to check whether it's available in your area:

1. Head to the Postal Service's Informed Delivery page and tap the Sign Up for Free button.

2. Enter your mailing address, and tap Continue.

If the service is available, you can continue to set up an account.

Set up the Informed Delivery service

Setting up your account is straightforward.

1. On the Postal Service's Informed Delivery page, tap Sign Up for Free.

2. After you enter your mailing address and confirm it'll work with the service, you'll need to accept the terms and conditions and tap Continue.

3. On the next page, choose your username, password and security questions. Then, enter your contact information and tap Continue.

4. On the next page, you'll need to verify your identity. Tap Verify identity online if you want to receive a verification code on your phone or tap Request invitation code by mail if you want the Postal Service to mail a code to you. If neither method works for you, may also be given the option to visit a post office to verify your identity in person.

For more on ordering and receiving packages during the coronavirus pandemic, here's how to find household goods when Amazon and other online stores are out of stock, how to order beer and wine online, and how long the virus can survive on packages.