As of Sunday, January 28, 2024, the USPS is discontinuing hard-copy postage statements. The proposal to discontinue hard-copy postage statements was published on February 13, 2023 (88 FR 9218-9221). The final rule was published in the Federal Register Notice (FRN) on April 25, 2023, with an effective date of Sunday, January 28, 2024.
I’ll review the rule, along with comments/concerns raised during the process, and the responses provided by the Postal Service. Finally, I’ll provide suggestions to help move to electronic submissions, as many mailers still use paper statements. Moving to eDocs will ultimately save time, improve operational efficiency, and will allow your most valuable resources to spend time on higher-end tasks.
ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS: WHAT’S INCLUDED VS. EXCLUDED
·All domestic mailing claiming a discount and all permit imprint mailings must be accompanied by a completed electronic postage statement.
oAll metered and permit imprint mailings of 50 pieces or more (except for the exclusions noted below), must be accompanied by a completed postage statement.
oThe mailer’s electronic confirmation during eDoc submission certifies that the Move Update standard has been met for the address records, including each address in the corresponding mailing presented to the Postal Service.
oMail manifested using eVS
oEvery Door Direct Mail-Retail (EDDM-R)
COMMENTS AND RESPONSES
Comment: Eliminating hard-copy postage statements would make it so we cannot submit bulk mailings any longer.
Response:Postal Wizard and Intelligent Mail Small Business Tool (IMsb) are free and simple electronic documentation solutions available on the Business Customer Gateway (BCG). Third-party software and mail preparation options are also available on the PostalPro website. Additionally, all BMEU employees are trained to assist in the transition to eDoc submissions.
Comment: Eliminating hard-copy postage statements will create an issue for mailers who mail non-identical pieces and must submit a hard-copy manifest.
Response: Postal Wizard is free electronic documentation software available on the BCG. It allows for non-identical pieces (as do many third-party options listed on PostalPro). The hard-copy manifest that must accompany such a mailing will still be accepted. This FRN only covers postage statements and does not prohibit hard-copy manifests.
Comment: I do not have a computer and cannot submit my postage statement electronically.
Response: BMEUs where you currently bring your hard-copy statement will assist you with submitting a statement electronically.
Comment: The transition period should be continued through 2025.
Response: Local BMEUs have been encouraging mailers to transition to electronic documentation for several years. Official notice was provided 11 months prior to this transition. Also, there are free and easy options to submit electronic documentation. As such, the Postal Service believes January 2024 is sufficient time for hard-copy mailers to transfer.
SUGGESTIONS AND OPTIONS TO MOVE TO ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS
While the Postal Service has several options for mailers to electronically submit postage statements – Postal Wizard, the IMsb, and PostalOne! (used by the majority of midsize to large mailers today) – third party options can be extremely valuable for mailers looking to automate and simplify processes by using more intuitive and feature-rich solutions.
Vendors can be your best partners! Focused on making mailing faster and easier while removing the potential for costly errors, your solutions provider has insight regarding upcoming changes to systems, rate increases, centralized Sorting & Delivery Centers (S&Ds), etc. Reach out to learn more about best practices and using specific solutions to help you navigate the ever-changing world of mail!
Lisa Leslie is Strategic Account Manager, BCC Software, a BlueCrest Company.
This article originally appeared in the November/December, 2023 issue of Mailing Systems Technology.