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Quick Service Guide 604c

Basic Standards for All Mailing Services

Postage Meters and PC Postage Systems

May 2007
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Overview (604.4.0)

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Postage meters and PC Postage systems generate indicia imprinted on or affixed to a mailpiece as evidence of prepayment of postage. This method of postage payment may be used on any class of mail except Periodicals. PC Postage systems access a personal computer to print postage indicia. Postage meters and PC Postage systems are available only by lease from an authorized provider. The USPS holds the provider responsible for the control, operation, maintenance, and replacement of their products. No one other than the provider may use a postage meter or PC Postage system without a valid USPS postage meter license and a rental agreement with the provider.

Authorized Providers (604.4.1.3)

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The following are USPS-authorized providers:
PC Postage
  • Data-Pac Mailing Systems Corp.
  • Hasler Inc.
  • Francotyp-Postalia Inc.
  • Neopost
  • Pitney Bowes Inc.
  • (PSI Systems)

Customer Agreement (604.4.2)

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A mailer wanting to be licensed to use a postage meter or PC Postage product must enter into a signed agreement with a provider. A separate letter of application must be submitted to each post office where the mailer wants to deposit metered mail. There is no fee for this application and license.

After a postage meter or a postal security device (PSD) is delivered to a licensee, the meter or PSD must be kept in the licensee's custody until returned to the authorized provider. The licensee is prohibited from taking a meter outside the United States, its territories, or its possessions without written permission from the manager of Metering Technology Management, USPS Headquarters.

The licensee must immediately notify the provider of any change in the licensee's name, address, telephone number, or the location of meters.

The licensee must immediately report misregistering or otherwise defective meters to the provider. In addition, the licensee must immediately report to the provider the loss or theft of any meter or PSD or the recovery of any missing meter or PSD.

Postage Payment (604.4.3)

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The value of metered postage applied to each piece in a mailing must be either the exact amount due or another amount permitted by standard. Refunds for overpayment are considered only under standards in 604.9.0.

Metered postage must be legible and not overlap each other if more than one impression is applied to the same piece. Metered postage must be printed or applied in the upper right corner of the envelope or address label. Indicia must be printed with USPS-approved fluorescent ink or use another USPS-approved method to ensure that the mail is faced during processing. Approved methods include the use of a facing identification mark (FIM) for indicia printed directly on letter-size First-Class Mail or printing indicia on USPS-approved label or tape. USPS-approved labels or tapes must be used when meter stamps are printed on tape (604.4.4).

Meter Date (604.4.5)

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The date format used in the indicia is subject to the following conditions.

  • Complete Date. Mailers must use a complete date for the following:

1. All First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, and Express Mail pieces.

2. All mailpieces with Insured Mail, COD, or Special Handling service.

3. All mailpieces prepared with the indicia printed on nonadhesive paper (e.g., computer printer paper) and affixed to the mailpiece or used as part of an insert in a window envelope.

  • Month and Year. Mailers may use a complete date or a mailing date consisting solely of the month and year in the indicia only for Standard Mail and Package Services pieces.
  • No Date. Mailers must use indicia with no mailing date for prepaid metered reply postage. As an option, mailers may use indicia with no mailing date for Standard Mail and Package Services pieces not subject to 604.4.5.2a.

Enter and Deposit (604.4.5.3)

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Generally, metered mail must be deposited at locations designated by the postmaster of the licensing post office (i.e., the post office shown in the meter stamp). Exceptions include:

  • Single-piece First-Class Mail, Express Mail, and Priority Mail may be deposited in any street collection box or post office.
  • Drop shipment of metered mail may be used (705.17.0).

Metered Postage Designs

This graphic shows Metered Postage Designs.

These graphics show Official Mail Metered Postage Designs by Pitney Bowes and Hasler.

For the specific DMM standards applicable to this category of mail, consult the DMM sections referenced above and the general sections within each DMM module.


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