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What are Postage Meters?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Over the years, many businesses of all sizes have come to rely on postage meters as a way of efficiently dealing with outgoing mail and the application of the correct amount of postage. Postage machines are actually excellent office helpers that can save a busy staff a lot of time and effort. Here are some facts about the postage meter, including some of the features that make the device attractive to offices of all sizes.

As a means of helping to improve office productivity, the postage meter has been in use for several decades. A machine that allows for the imprint of approved postage directly onto the mailing piece, postage meters make it possible for office staff to process outgoing mail without having to use postage stamps. A basic postage machine will weigh each piece of mail, assign the correct amount of postage to the piece, and then run the envelope through the machine, allowing the imprint of a properly amount of postage to appear.

Much more time efficient than applying postage stamps by hand, postage meters also eliminate the need to take heavier envelopes and packages to the post office in order to assign the proper amount of postage. Thanks to a built in scale found on many postage meters, the package can be weighed, graded by the correct class of mail and the postage printed out on an adhesive strip.

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Along with the ability to weigh and apply postage to letters and packages, modern day postage meters also can be loaded with postage via an audio link to a postage provider. This link can be carried by a digital phone connection or via an Internet link. When additional postage is required, a process of connecting with the provider, requesting an amount of postage rounded to an even amount, such as $200.00 US Dollars, and then verifying the request, will set off an approval system. Provided everything is in order, the vendor’s system will approve the request and the additional postage will be available for use.

Postage meters range from simple versions that fit nicely on a tabletop to larger versions that will allow the user to collate mailing pieces. While many of the smaller systems require the user to feed the envelopes through the meter individually, more robust postage meters allow the user to set as many as a hundred mailing pieces requiring the same amount of postage into a tray. The system then shoots the envelopes through, applies the postage amount set for the envelopes, and deposits the envelopes in a tray or basket on the opposite side of the meter.

Many approved vendors for postal services are happy to lease postage meters to their clients for a fixed quarterly rate. Leasing can be a smart idea, as you will often have the opportunity to upgrade to a newer postage meter at no additional charge. In addition, leasing postage meters also ensures that you will receive prompt service in the event your meter develops a problem. Between the ease of use and the guarantee of support should the meter experience a mechanical problem, it is no wonder so many offices choose postage meters over other postage options.

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