Stamps.com Awaits USPS Approval on New Service

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Electronic stamp provider Stamps.com expects to win approval from the U.S. Postal Service in the next few weeks for a product that will let users print sheets of stamps with a computer, printer and Internet connection, the company said.


Previously, each piece of postage had to be printed individually and could be used only for a specified recipient. Senders also were required to use the postage within 24 hours or the postage expires. With the new product, NetStamps, consumers don't have to specify the recipients and they can use the postage at any time.


Stephanie Hillstrom, spokeswoman at Stamps.com, Santa Monica, CA, said many customers thought the company already offered a NetStamps-type service when they signed on.


"With this service, we're solving the No. 1 complaint of those who left," she said. "Many of our customers use our service by importing their contact list into the system and then printing out envelopes for mass mailings. But many of our customers also want to send one or two letters at a time. Each time they send one letter, however, they have to sign on to the system, which is time-consuming. NetStamps improves this process."


Stamps.com customers pay a monthly membership fee of $15.99 for unlimited use or $4.49 with a 10 percent service fee on monthly postage. Those prices are in addition to the cost of postage.


No prices have been for NetStamps, but they are expected to be comparable to existing costs. NetStamps will require special paper, however, which the existing service does not.


Stamps.com said it expects NetStamps to increase not only the amount of postage customers buy each month, but the number of customers as well. The company now has 280,000 customers.


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