A postage meter is a mailing system that prints postage directly on the envelope (or an adhesive tape) for any type of mail — first, second, third, or fourth class; air mail, registered mail, special delivery, or other special services.
The meter is the critical part of your mailing system. It prints the indicia and stores the postage.
The base is essentially an envelope handler, designed to transport the item to be stamped through the meter. The four main parts of a base include the feeder,sealer, stacker, and tape dispenser.
A feeder guides envelopes through the meter. Although you can get a low-end meter without a feeder, feeding a large mailing by hand can be pretty tedious.
A sealer moistens the envelope flap and closes it.
A stacker clears mail from the machine after it is stamped. Low-end stackers are no more than a catch tray placed at the edge of the meter. Power stackers can stack more envelopes by using a conveyor mechanism to move the stamped pieces away from the meter’s edge.
In some cases, it is not possible to print an indicia directly on to a mailing piece – like with a large package. In these cases, strips of adhesive paper, called tape, are fed through the meter and affixed to the package. The tape is stamped with the indicia or postage amount.
A scale weighs letters or packages, based on the then-current rates, and indicates how much postage to apply to your mail piece. Interfaced models automatically apply that amount when running the piece through the meter. Some scales also allow you to rate shop to see if a different carrier is less expensive.
Who sets postage rates ?
The USPS® sets the rates and regulations we follow.
What are the reasons for having a postage meter ?
Printed postage has many advantages. It promotes a professional image for your growing business, gives you the ability to assign exact postage, saves trips to the post office, and allows you to send mail in different classes and track the costs of specific mailing campaigns — all of which can save your business up to 20 percent in mailing costs in the long run.
If I send out a package, how would I get the stamp that your postage meter creates onto the package ?
You would run a self-adhesive postage meter label through the postage meter and attach it to the package.
What will the actual “stamp” that the postage meter creates look like ?
Above is a sample of an Information-Based Indicia (IBI), along with a sample company logo, which could be imprinted by the postage meter on an envelope. See below for a description of the Information-Based Indicia Program (IBIP) initiated by the USPS®. Your company logo can be replaced with a company advertisement, which you can change and customize. The 2-D barcode includes the following information: licensing post office, rate category, date of mailing, postage amount, device or meter ID number.
What is IBIP ?
The USPS® initiated the Information-Based Indicia Program (IBIP) to enhance the security of postage metering by supporting new methods of applying postage to mail. The information-based indicia (IBI) is printed by the postage meter or other forms of PC postage systems on mail pieces. The IBIP program is designed to give the post office greater visibility and security of mail. In addition, the use of the 2-D barcode removes levels of sorting within the mailing process cycle, which in turn will speed the delivery of a mail piece.
What is franking ?
This is a term generally used in Europe in regards to postage meters. Franking is synonymous with stamping, metering, or posting. An envelope that has received postage has been “franked.” Here in the U.S, you will most probably hear the term “metering your mail,” where the word “metering” comes from the word postage meter.
What is a franking machine ?
A franking machine is the same thing as a postage meter. This is a term generally used in Europe when referencing postage meters. Here in the U.S, they are referred to as postage meters, mailing machines, or mailing equipment.
Why can’t I get my postage meter from the USPS® ?
Federal regulations prevent the USPS® from competing with private enterprise. The Postal Service is a regulatory authority, determining product compliance with regulations and supplying product authorization on the basis of demonstrated compliance. The USPS® only regulates manufacturers that provide postage meters; they are not allowed to supply them.
What if I make a mistake when printing my postage with my meter ?
Unused indicia or postage printed with your meter may be considered for refund only if they are complete, legible, and submitted within 60 days of the date in the meter stamp. These unused meter stamps are refunded at a postal retail window. For specific details, read “Directions For Spoiled Postage“.
Will I be able to use my postage meter for all types of mail ?
Postage meters are currently authorized for use on all mail services (except periodicals), including Domestic First-Class Mail® services, Priority Mail® services, Express Mail® services, Parcel Post™, International Mail, Presorted First-Class Mail discount services, and Extra Services.
If I am sending a package or envelope that requires extra postage, how will I know to how much I should set the postage amount ?
Our PostBase meters come with integrated postal scales. Simply place the envelope or package on the scale, and the correct postage is determined and set immediately.