Tips for Using a Postage Meter for Commercial Mailings

Use these tips to mail successfully with a postage meter:
  • Your meter manufacturer will give you instructions for how to operate the meter and how to refill it with postage.
  • Until you presort your mail you may not know how much postage you owe on each piece. Some mailers meter all of their pieces at the lowest price they qualify for and then pay the difference when they bring their mail to the Post Office. When using this method, you may meter your mail only at the lowest of the prices you qualify for. You cannot randomly pick a number and meter your mail at that price. The first time you do a mailing, the Business Mail Entry Unit clerk can help you fill out your postage statement to calculate how much postage you still owe.
  • If you know up front which pieces qualify for which price, you can go ahead and meter them at the correct postage.
  • Postage Statement:
    • You must present a postage statement with your mailing either electronically or hardcopy. The postage statement will help you figure out how much postage is due, if applicable, when you drop off your mail.
    • After you fill out your postage statement you'll know how much postage, if any, you still owe. You can pay the difference with a meter strip affixed to your postage statement or through an advance deposit account.
  • There are requirements for what appears in your meter imprint. Your meter manufacturer will help you comply with these requirements: 1) postage amount, 2) meter number, 3) city and state of the post office where you hold your permit, and 4) class marking (NONPROFIT ORG, PRSRT FIRST-CLASS MAIL).
  • First-Class Mail (single-piece and Presorted) MUST show the date that the mail is deposited with the Postal Service.
  • For USPS Marketing Mail, the date of deposit is not required in the meter imprint unless you are using meter tapes. If you are using meter tapes, you MUST show the month and year.
  • Metered presorted and commercial mail must be brought to the Post Office where you hold your permit. Metered presorted and commercial mail CANNOT be dropped in a collection box or given to a carrier.
  • Here is an example for calculating how much postage is owed. If you have 150 pieces that qualify for the USPS Marketing Mail 5-digit price and 50 pieces that qualify for the USPS Marketing Mail basic price. You can meter all 200 pieces at the 5-digit price (the lower of the two) and pay the additional postage for the 50 basic price pieces when you bring in your mail.
  1. Quick Service Guide 604c - Postage Meters and PC Postage Systems
  2. How to apply for a permit to use a postage meter for commercial mailings
  3. List of meter manufacturers