A bonded courier has the backing of an insurance policy in case something happens with the message he is delivering. Couriers can't get bonding as easily with poor credit records or some types of offences on their criminal background checks. If you're using a courier service, generally the company will bond all of its employees.
The bond covers the value of the contents of the information or materials you are sending. If something happens to your delivery, or the delivery makes it but is late, your fee is guaranteed, and so is the cost of the items lost, when applicable.
While Federal Express, UPS and other similar shipping companies offer next-day shipping, some bonded couriers can guarantee delivery throughout the continental United States within as few as 10 hours, and can offer individualised pickup within as quickly as half an hour in some cases.
With the extremely high level of convenience comes a very high cost of shipping at such short notice and within a tight time frame. However, if you just have to have your documents or other materials in the recipient's hands as soon as possible, there is no faster alternative than a bonded courier.
Several different industries make use of bonded courier services. Several banks offer the courier service to save business owners a drive to the bank to make a deposit. Medical bonded couriers carry vital organs from donors to recipients. Lawyers use bonded couriers to send sensitive documents back and forth for review when time frames are very short.