Before postage meters were invented, companies were required to spend hours manually applying stamps to letters or packages before taking them to the post office — a time-consuming and costly process.
But over the past several decades postage meters have become an increasingly popular tool to use in business offices around the world, simplifying the process of sending large amounts of mail. Mailers can even use their postage meters to help ship packages. Through the advent of internet-powered technologies, online/PC postage has arisen as a third option.
Postage stamps are often appropriate for personal use and for businesses that send less than a handful of letters daily. One additional cost is the effort required to purchase the stamps – for example, a trip to the post office. You may also have to make another trip to purchase incremental stamps (e.g. 1-cent stamps) to cover postal rate increases.
If you regularly send many letters and/or packages every week, you may find an automated solution like a postage meter more appealing and financially beneficial.
Online postage is a software program that allows users to print their own stamps and shipping labels, and manually apply them to the letters or packages.
However, this solution requires an internet connection, a separately connected digital scale and printer in order to weigh the parcel and print the appropriate postage, which increases the likelihood of one or more of these components malfunctioning. Online postage may be a good choice for businesses with regular but relatively low volume of package shipping.
Postage meters make bulk mailing much easier than in the past, as businesses can print their own postage and send out large volumes of invoices, billing statements and marketing pieces. Their application reaches far and wide, with the health care, accounting, legal, government and countless other sectors relying on them to make their operations and correspondence more efficient.
Postage meters offer many advantages over regular stamps and PC postage, including a 1% discount for most first-class letters. Meters allow users to apply postage to large amounts of mail in a short period of time. Postage meters are a much better choice for businesses that regularly send higher volumes of mail. If your company spends more than $50 per month on postage, a meter may save you a significant amount of time by:
- Increasing efficiency through automation and reducing the amount of individual-piece handling
- Eliminating tiresome trips to the post office
One of the most appealing features of a postage meter is its built-in (integrated) scale. This allows users to quickly and efficiently weigh each mail piece and apply postage without having to deal with any externally-connected scales or printers. More advanced postage meters even have the capability to seal your letters. Plus, no PC is required as the machine works in standalone mode.
When it comes down to it, the reliability and cost savings of a postal meter is tough to beat. If your organization is looking for a better way to send out large volumes of mail, a meter is likely the best way to go.
Letter & Package Processing Comparison
|MAILING FEATURE||STAMPS||ONLINE/PC POSTAGE||POSTAGE METER|
|USPS discounts available with indicia-printed postage||No||Yes||Yes|
|Scale||Separate purchase||Separate purchase||Included and integrated|
|Mail processing speed||Manual||Manual||Semi-automatic to fully automatic|
|Package/shipping labels||Go to post office or use USPS Click-N-Ship||Yes||Yes|
|Automatically update to current postal rates||No||Yes||Yes|
|Mail volume||Low||Low||Low-Medium volume
|Professional postage image||No||Yes||Yes|