E-mail letter

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E-mail letter
Website logo
Web-based hybrid mail service for the secure and binding digital transmission of written communication
languages German
operator German Post AG
Registration Yes
On-line Use since July 14, 2010 possible

The e-mail letter of Deutsche Post , just e-letter called, is a hybrid mail service with a connected site for the exchange of electronic messages ( digital letters ) via the Internet . The aim of the E-Postbrief is to offer greater authenticity , better data protection and greater integrity than a conventional unencrypted e-mail that is compared to an electronic postcard.

The E-Postbrief was discontinued on January 1, 2020 and replaced by the eIDAS letter in accordance with the eIDAS regulation .


Citizens, businesses and administrations should be able to communicate electronically reliably and confidentially via the E-Postbrief. Using the SSL -encrypted web portal , electronic messages can be sent as online letters between customers of the E-Postbrief service.

Only customers of the E-Postbrief service can communicate with each other via electronic E-Postbrief. If the recipient of an E-Post letter does not have an electronic mailbox with a personal electronic E-Post address for the service, the message will be printed, enveloped and delivered by the Deutsche Post DHL Group.

The offer was advertised by making electronic communication “just as binding, confidential and reliable” as the letter. In a ruling by the Bonn Regional Court , Deutsche Post was prohibited from continuing to advertise the product in this way. The service is in competition with the state-sponsored De-Mail service.

For authentication during registration, a PostIdent proof is required, i.e. you must personally present a photo ID to Swiss Post. As part of the registration process, the prospective user is sent a six-digit transaction number via SMS to their mobile phone . Deutsche Post speaks of the HandyTAN procedure . This procedure is also used when using the E-Postbrief portal. In order to clearly identify the user, the main residence is confirmed later by sending a six-digit HandyTAN again and entering a one-off six-digit AddressTAN sent by letter, which is entered in the E-Postbrief portal.

Although the award for use of the service personal address (vorname.nachname@epost.de) as a conventional looks e-mail address, e-mails can at this address according to IETF norm 5322 RFC are received.

1000 MB of e-mail letters can be saved online. In order to be able to continue to receive incoming E-Post letters afterwards, others have to be deleted.

As with normal mailings, the E-Postbrief is deemed to have been received on the same day - but no later than the next day - and any deadlines begin to run. Customers are therefore requested in the General Terms and Conditions (I.6.3) to access their mailbox every working day, but can be informed in real time by SMS about incoming E-Post letters.

Shipping options

E-Postbrief envelope (2015), classic mailing. A data matrix code was imprinted as franking in the printing center .

Two different types of dispatch are possible with the E-Postbrief:

Electronic dispatch

The letter reaches its recipient digitally via the E-Postbrief portal. To do this, the recipient must already be registered as a customer for the service.

Classic shipping

The letter is printed, enveloped, franked and delivered to the recipient in the traditional way by postman. All recipients in Germany can be reached in this way.

Both shipping methods have a base cost of 80 cents. Electronic dispatch is limited to a maximum file size of 20 MB. In the case of hybrid shipping, if the weight is over 20 grams, from the third page onwards and in color printing, additional costs arise. Color printouts cost an additional 10 cents per page. Different prices may apply for business customers.

Before sending an E-Postbrief for the first time, the credit account must be topped up. It is possible to top up with Giropay , credit card or direct debit via direct debit. The credit account is managed by Deutsche Post Payment Services GmbH (DPZ).

In addition, a sender can choose additional services for both shipping methods, which are available at an additional cost:

Additional services for electronic dispatch price Additional services for classic shipping price
Registered mail 2.79 EUR
Registered mail by hand 4.99 EUR
Registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt 2.49 EUR Registered mail return receipt 4.99 EUR
Registered mail, personal receipt 7.19 EUR

Swiss Post will deliver the posted E-Post letters on the next working day if they were posted by 2 p.m. E-Post letters posted later or on weekends and public holidays will be delivered on the next but one working day. The e-mail letters posted on Friday evenings and on weekends will only be delivered on Tuesdays with a delay.

Additional services

In addition to the E-Postbrief, the user can use other services. This includes the integration of external e-mail accounts in the portal and SMS notifications via the inbox. The originally integrated fax function was discontinued on June 30, 2019. In addition, the sender can not let his messages encrypt only through the portal, but also by e-mail letter itself encrypt and / or with a personal certificate signing . According to the general terms and conditions of the E-Postbrief, this signature does not meet the legal requirements for the written form. There are no additional costs for using these services. As of September 2012, Deutsche Post AG changed its general terms and conditions for its electronic mail delivery. It does without personal certificates and encryption - for reasons of transparency, clarity and ease of use, it says in the FAQ on the new terms and conditions. “In addition, from 25 September it will no longer be possible to apply for personal certificates or to encrypt and sign E-Post letters personally. The general security standard already offers you the best possible protection [...] so that you can communicate securely and confidentially online without the additional options 'personally encrypt' and / or 'personally sign'. "

In the first half of 2012, the identity check E- Postident was introduced, which was evaluated by the Commission for Youth Media Protection of the State Media Authorities (KJM) as an overarching youth protection concept . From 2012 to 2014 it was possible to send e-mail letters from the standard software Microsoft Word (from version 2003) using the free E-Postbrief add-in (www.epostbrief-word.de). A new free add-in E-Post for Word has been available for Microsoft Word (from version 2013 Service Pack 1) since 2016 . A connection for Lotus Notes is planned for 2013 [obsolete] . Michael Fuchs, a member of the management team at SAP , told Financial Times Deutschland that he wanted to integrate the product into SAP's standard software. For computers that work with Windows Vista or newer, there has also been stand-alone desktop software since 2014 that enables the sending of E-Post letters from any application using a virtual printer and offers numerous additional options. However, from January 1, 2020, this option will only be reserved for business customers.

With the E-Postscan service, Swiss Post offers its customers the ability to intercept all letters sent to their address, scan them and then send them first by E-Post letter and then on paper. Swiss Post offers large mail-order companies such as insurance companies and telephone providers a discount on postage if they send their letters to customers electronically and in encrypted form to Swiss Post before they are sent.


The E-Postbrief service started on July 14, 2010, two days later 250,000 users were already registered. At the same time, a large advertising campaign started. In the first ten days, there were delays in the final activation due to the unexpectedly large number of visitors. By November 2010, over a million private individuals had registered as users, but it was only actively used by around 100,000 people.

In November 2012, Lotto Hessen stopped using the E-Postbrief. According to their own information, only 4000 users had used the offer. The trust company achieved an average weekly turnover of 13,000 euros. The process is very safe, but has not been able to prevail.

In 2010, Deutsche Post announced that it would apply for accreditation as a De-Mail provider for the E-Postbrief as soon as the De-Mail Act came into force. In March 2012 it declared that it would support the De-Mail standard until December 2012. However, in April 2013 it stopped the attempt to have the E-Postbrief service accredited as a De-Mail service until further notice. The attempt failed because of the requirements of the data protection for data reduction when used PostIdent method.


  • At the time of its market launch, the legal scholar Marcel Bisges criticized the fact that, from a formal point of view, the E-Postbrief does not offer all the possibilities that the ordinary letter fulfills, namely not the written form. It does create better means of proof and is more cost-effective if the sender and recipient have an e-mail box. However, he is not a competitor for traditional e-mail, so the Post's attempt to regain market share that had been lost to e-mail failed for him. Furthermore, the Stiftung Warentest criticized at the same time that the prices for an E-Postbrief are on par with the postage costs for a normal letter, and registered mail by E-Postbrief is sometimes even more expensive. The institute also saw the system as immature, especially the printing service. The main points of criticism were the slow delivery time, poor handling of e-mail attachments and misprints, which still have to be paid for. In the end, she stated that, when sending letters , one could not be sure what the recipient would receive when sending them out . Deutsche Post responded to the criticism with an FAQ.
  • The E-Postbrief does not fall under the secrecy of letters like a normal letter , but under the telecommunications secrecy . The confidentiality of letters can only be revoked by a judge under certain conditions. The revocation of telecommunications secrecy can also only be ordered by a court. In the case of imminent danger , this can also be ordered by the public prosecutor's office, whereby this must be confirmed by a court within three days according to Section 100e Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure .
  • In accordance with the General Terms and Conditions (IV.4.2), Swiss Post stores the address data of all customers in an address directory that is accessible to other customers of the E-Postbrief. Business customers can instruct Deutsche Post to determine a person's E-Postbrief address using a postal address and with the help of this address directory.
  • Anyone who does not have a mobile phone or does not want to disclose their phone number to Swiss Post cannot currently register for the E-Postbrief service (GTC, I.6.5 and IV.2.1).
  • There is no provision for integrating the E-Postbrief into existing business processes and software (e.g. forwarding to verified e-mail accounts is not possible). Therefore, customers of the E-Postbrief must use this service in addition to normal e-mail.
  • When it comes to security, it is also criticized that Deutsche Post AG follows the principle of " security through obscurity " in its communication . All that is known is that the E-Postbrief portal uses HTTPS encryption to secure communication between user and operator. The message is therefore available as clear text on the portal server. As an option, Deutsche Post offered its own certificates up to September 2012, which encrypted E-Post letters from the sender to the recipient. Self-created private keys are not supported to this day because Deutsche Post does not currently offer a certification service. Incoming file attachments from E-Post letters are automatically scanned by a virus scanner. As a provider of postal and telecommunications services, Deutsche Post AG also delivers E-Post letters with suspicious files, but stores them in a special quarantine area.
  • Consumer advocates mainly criticize the cumbersome registration process and several controversial clauses in the general terms and conditions of the E-Postbrief. This includes the obligation to check your e-mail on a daily basis, although holidays or illness are not excluded. Deutsche Post also keeps customer data even if an E-Postbrief account has already been deleted.

Replacement by the eIDAS letter on January 1, 2020

The E-Postbrief was discontinued on January 1, 2020 and replaced by the eIDAS letter in accordance with the eIDAS regulation . Purely electronic letters can no longer be sent from December 31, 2019; E-Post letters with classic delivery (hybrid E-Post letters) can still be sent without restriction via the E-Post portal and the E-Post app; Recipients with a digital inbox on E-Post will also receive a digital copy of the letter free of charge. When asked by heise.de, a spokesman for the Post stated restrictively that the eIDAS letter would only be offered to business customers in the market launch phase. Sending an eIDAS letter requires fully legitimized senders and recipients (see also: Postident ).


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Deutsche Post brings the secrecy of letters to the Internet - the E-Postbrief is coming ( Memento from 23 September 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  2. CDU secretly reads e-mails. Retrieved December 8, 2019 .
  3. Postcards more secret than emails , on heise.de
  4. a b Deutsche Post discontinues electronic E-Postbrief on teltarif.de
  5. How is the security of the E-POST letter guaranteed? ( Memento from July 23, 2012 in the web archive archive.today ), on epost.de
  6. This is how the E-POSTBRIEF works ( Memento from January 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  7. a b Official Start Post collects 55 cents each for online letters , newspaper report by Spiegel Online from July 14, 2010
  8. Judgment of June 30, 2011 (PDF; 505 kB) on vzbv.de , accessed on August 16, 2011.
  9. a b c d E-Postbrief service description ( Memento from August 21, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 173 kB)
  10. Access to declarations of intent, arbitrary written form (§ 127 BGB), interpretation of the agreement of the declaration by registered letter as a mere rule of evidence ( memento of August 4, 2012 in the web archive archive.today ), BGH, judgment of January 21, 2004 - XII ZR 214 / 00, on lrz.de
  11. a b c The E-Postbrief - The Yellow Peril? , on gutjahr.biz
  12. epost.de "Communicate securely online with the E-POSTBRIEF" ( Memento from February 14, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  13. All prices1 of E-POST for private customers , on deutschepost.de
  14. a b All E-POST prices for private customers
  15. No stamp to hand? Send your letters online and we will do the rest for you. In: deutschepost.de. Retrieved April 22, 2019 .
  16. Can I integrate my e-mail account into the E-POST portal? Archived from the original on March 20, 2013 ; accessed in June 2011 .
  17. epost.de - How do I find out that I have received an E-POST letter? ( Memento from January 23, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  18. Alexander Kuch: E-Post letter: Deutsche Post discontinues fax service. In: teltarif.de. May 24, 2019, accessed July 5, 2019 .
  19. Signing and encrypting using a personal certificate ( Memento from April 6, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  20. AGB ( Memento of May 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  21. Setback for E-Post letter - no secure electronic signature. Heise.de, August 14, 2011, accessed on August 15, 2011 .
  22. De-Mail before the start , on heise.de
  23. Deutsche Post DHL: Deutsche Post guarantees protection of minors on the Internet ( memento of August 2, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) , press release, May 30, 2012, accessed on August 7, 2012.
  24. E-POST for Word at https://www.deutschepost.de/de/i/internetmarke-porto-drucken/e-porto-add-in.html
  25. Saskia Brintrup: E-Postbrief is making slower progress than expected , onlinekosten.de, February 13, 2012, accessed on February 26, 2012.
  26. E-POST mailer from Deutsche Post AG
  27. deutschepost.de: E-POST MAILER. Retrieved December 5, 2019 .
  28. Benedikt Müller: Digital copy: Knowing what's in the mailbox tomorrow. In: sueddeutsche.de. April 16, 2019, accessed April 17, 2019 .
  29. a b RP-Online from July 24, 2010: Customers are waiting for activation Delays in the E-Postbrief
  30. Reference to the massive advertising campaign
  31. Komba Magazin, issue 1/2 2011, page 41
  32. handelsblatt.de: The E-Postbrief is now really there ( memento from November 5, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), November 4, 2010
  33. Correspondence on the Internet: De-Mail for you , on faz.net
  34. "De-Mail is already in the E-Postbrief" ( Memento from September 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 527 kB), in the entrepreneur magazine Creditreform
  35. Deutsche Post - E-Postbrief: Frequently Asked Questions ( Memento from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on August 29, 2010
  36. onlinekosten.de: Deutsche Post also relies on De-Mail , March 7, 2012, accessed on March 17, 2012
  37. E-Post vs. De-Mail: Deutsche Post is finally leaving De-Mail , Heise online , accessed on April 12, 2013
  38. Deutsche Post does not want to deliver De-Mails , Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , accessed on April 12, 2013
  39. ^ Marcel Bisges: The E-Postbrief of the Deutsche Post AG . In: NJW-aktuell , issue 31/2010, p. 14 f.
  40. a b E-Postbrief Sending letters by email on test.de
  41. Spiegel Online: Product testers call E-Postbrief "immature"
  42. CURRENT DEBATE - E-Postbrief and Postident procedure: New ways of communication? Retrieved September 6, 2010 .
  43. E-Postbrief - PGP encryption through certificates , on ralfbachmann.de, accessed on December 8, 2019
  44. How is the data encrypted with the E-POSTBRIEF? ( Memento from January 26, 2014 in the web archive archive.today ) on epost.de
  45. Robert Khromov: The e-mail letter: expensive, legally questionable, of limited use. In: Akademie.de. July 28, 2010. Retrieved July 23, 2012 .
  46. No more e-mail letters, now comes the "eIDAS letter". In: heise.de. November 26, 2019, accessed December 8, 2019 .
  47. Why the Deutsche Post only half-buries the E-Postbrief. In: paketda.de. December 3, 2019, accessed December 8, 2019 .