Quick Service Guide 604c
Basic Standards for All Mailing Services
Postage Meters and PC Postage Systems
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)
The following are USPS-authorized
Customer Agreement (604.4.2)
A mailer wanting to be licensed to use a postage meter or PC Postage
product must complete Form 3601-A,
Application or Update for a License to Lease and Use Postage Meters (or
a provider's equivalent form),
and submit it to the 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
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)
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.
Metered postage must be legible and not overlap each other if
more than one impression is applied to the same piece. Metered postage
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
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
or tapes must be used when meter stamps are printed on tape (604.4.4).
Meter Date (604.4.5)
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
Deposit and Enter (604.4.5.3)
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).
Metered Postage Designs
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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