USPS Announces Informed Delivery Program

April 7th, 2017 Comments off

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What if you could receive a digital image of a letter before it even arrives at your doorstep? Informed Delivery, a pilot program offered by the USPS, makes that possible! Just imagine: if you’re on the road, at work or in the middle of a vacation, you can see black-and-white images of the exterior and address side of incoming envelopes. That puts you ahead of the game and allows you to stay on top of what’s about to arrive at your door. What’s more, the service is free and can be accessed via your phone, tablet or computer.

How does it work? 

Go here to determine if you live in an eligible ZIP code and delivery point. If you are, you’ll be prompted to sign into your personal USPS.com account profile to sign up. You’ll be able to receive an email (the maximum is 10 envelopes) that shows images of your incoming mail each morning. Notifications are sent on mailing days only, so they won’t be sent on postal holidays. The images are stored for seven days. At this time, Informed Delivery only provides images of incoming envelope-shaped mail.  However, there are plans to offer this service in the future for other mailpieces, such as packages.

Making Informed Delivery work for you 

Just imagine how powerful the combination of using both Stamps.com and Informed Delivery could be!  Stamps.com makes it easy to print envelopes at home and transforms your home office into a powerful mailing center for outbound mail.  Now, if you qualify for the Informed Delivery program, your advance knowledge of incoming mail will keep you organized, efficient, and on top of your business or household correspondence!

Use Stamps.com to print directly to envelopes

Remember that Stamps.com’s Envelopes section allows you to print directly to envelopes. Mail printed under this option is considered metered mail and always includes a date. In order to print PC Postage directly onto an envelope, you can log into your software and click on the Envelopes option on the left side of your screen. In the “Mailpiece” drop-down menu, select “Letters.” Your “Print Details” to the right of this menu will display the available envelope types. Select the envelope type you would like to use.

Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

What’s the ZIP Plus-Four for?

March 17th, 2017 Comments off

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You may have noticed the extra appendage of numbers added to a ZIP code called the plus-four, ZIP + 4, or add-on code. What is it for? The USPS considers the five-digit ZIP plus those additional four digits to be the most complete kind of delivery code. Introduced in 1983, the plus-four is a helpful ally in the ongoing drive for even more efficient delivery and sorting.

What do the numbers mean? 

What is the breakdown of the plus-four and what do the numbers mean? The first two numbers of the plus-four identify the larger area known as the sector. The last two identify the segment. Segment and sector are actually terms that identify very specific geographical areas that pinpoint more than just a numbered house on a street. As explained at this USPS source, “the final four digits identify geographic units such as a side of a street between intersections, both sides of a street between intersections, a building, a floor or group of floors in a building, a firm within a building, a span of boxes on a rural route, or a group of Post Office boxes to which a single USPS employee makes delivery.” It can also identify an individual high-volume receiver of mail.

The plus-fours and Stamps.com

The good news is that the guesswork is gone when it comes to using Stamps.com. Our software can help the USPS expedite the sorting and routing of the mail, ensuring that your recipient is not waiting for too long for your shipment. The Stamps.com software will apply the plus-four automatically for you as part of the Address Matching System (AMS) cleansing process. After you enter an address in the delivery address box, and click on Print Sample or Print Postage, Stamps.com will first have your address checked against the AMS.

You can modify your AMS settings within the software. You can do this by going to File and then Preferences in the main menu on the top of the software. Then, click on the Address tab. Here you can move the AMS slider. Setting it to “High” will always add the plus-four to your delivery address. The levels of “Medium” and “Low” will generate alerts for you when the plus-four cannot be verified. The plus-four is important!

Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

How Are Stamps Made?

March 10th, 2017 Comments off

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Last year, 12 billion postage stamps were sold to customers across the United States. These billions of stamps bear a wide variety of images, ranging from seashells and coastal birds to Jimi Hendrix and Wonder Woman. Ever wonder how images are selected for use on postage stamps? Ever hope that your art could appear someday on a postage stamp?

Sending in a Proposal

The first thing to know is that stamp proposals are reviewed in confidential meetings by the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC). Appointed by the Postmaster General, members of the committee include authors, designers, historians, and philatelists. The good news is that the CSAC is open to suggestions! A general guideline is that potential subjects should reflect, commemorate and celebrate the American experience—think monuments like the Gateway Arch in St. Louis or subjects like the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona.

Proposals must be mailed in and are ultimately approved by the Postmaster General. Need further steps on how to send in a proposal? Check this out: https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/csac/process.htm

If you’re a professional designer, artist, illustrator or photographer, and want to work with the Stamp Development Team design staff, this link may interest you: https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/csac/artwork.htm. The design staff accepts portfolios of your professional work, but do not send an actual stamp design proposal.

 Custom Stamps

The review process for approving new USPS postage stamps is thorough, so if your idea or artwork is approved, it can take a few years to see it on a USPS postage stamp.

Don’t want to wait that long? Stamps.com offers two products that may interest you! With Custom NetStamps, you can add your image or artwork to them and add postage of various denominations, either all at once or on demand, by feeding them through your printer. Custom NetStamps combine the flexibility and functionality of our popular NetStamps product.

Our PhotoStamps are our personalized postage product. They are shipped to you with the postage already printed on them, so all you have to do is peel and stick! They are great for special occasions such as weddings or holidays, and make great gifts.

For further information on Custom NetStamps and PhotoStamps, check out this link:

https://stamps.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/409/kw/Custom%20NetStamps

Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

Free Guide: How to Send Certified Mail

March 3rd, 2017 Comments off

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Do you need to send something important, and need a way to know when it safely arrives at its destination? Using USPS Certified Mail provides both proof of mailing and proof of receipt to help ensure your important mailpieces, including confidential documents, arrive at their intended destinations. Certified Mail comes in handy when you need to send communications containing sensitive information, and is often used for correspondence from law offices, accountants, debtors, creditors, and medical professionals.

If you want to learn the ins and outs of using this special USPS service, check out Stamps.com’s new downloadable eBook, “How to Send Certified Mail.” This comprehensive guide will help you understand how to securely send important items using USPS.

download-PDF

This guide answers the following questions:

  • What is Certified Mail?
  • How much does Certified Mail cost?
  • How long does it take to deliver Certified Mail?
  • What is a Return Receipt and how do I use it?
  • How do I track Certified Mail delivery?
  • How do I use Certified Mail with Stamps.com?
  • Plus much more
Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

Save 3 Cents Printing First Class Mail Letters Online

February 2nd, 2017 Comments off

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Since its introduction in 2014, Metered Mail rates have offered businesses of all sizes a way to save using Online Postage. Metered Mail rates apply to First-Class Mail® Letter postage printed through USPS licensed software (such as Stamps.com) or using a postage meter. Online Postage costs the USPS significantly less than traditional postage stamps, and the savings are passed on to customers through Metered Mail rates.

 

Metered Mail Savings Are Bigger Than Ever – Save 3 Cents on Every Letter!

With the recent 2017 USPS Postage Rate changes that started on January 22, 2017, single-piece letter senders can save even more using Meter Mail as opposed to retail (or Post Office) rates. The Metered Mail rate for one-ounce First-Class Mail® Letters has dropped from $0.465 to $0.46, while the retail rate has increased from $0.47 to $0.49. These new rates save businesses $0.03, or six percent, on one-ounce First-Class Mail® Letters when using Online Postage. 2017 marks the first time ever that the Metered Mail savings have exceeded $0.01. For businesses looking to reduce postage cost, there has never been a better time to switch to Online Postage.

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New Metered Mail Rates Are Built In To Stamps.com

Stamps.com customers automatically receive the new discounted Metered Mail rate. When printing Online Postage for First-Class Mail® Letters, customers can select the Metered Mail rate or manually enter a stamp amount. In addition to Metered Mail, Stamps.com has also been updated with every USPS Postage Rate for 2017.

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