USPS tests Seamless Verification with Friend-to-Friend postcards

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Postal Service is testing an additional application of the Seamless Verification System using Friend-To-Friend Mail postcards.

The agency's Friend-to-Friend program lets mailers provide their customers with postage-paid advertiser cards that can be sent to any third party.

Between now and December the postcards will be bound into five magazines, although the USPS did not indicate which ones. Readers will be able to detach the Friend-to-Friend postcard, write a short message on it, address it to a friend and drop it in the mail.

Along with the familiar "No Postage Necessary If Mailed In The United States" permit imprint, the postcards contain a Friend-to-Friend Mail legend above the address block.

The Seamless Verification System takes advantage of the latest advances in postal technology, using an Intelligent Mail barcode in combination with ID tags applied during mail processing. This generates unique scan data that will allow the USPS to count the postcards in the mail stream during the test.

Postage is charged by linking the scan data to a Centralized Account Payment System account created for the test.

The USPS said mail processing and delivery employees who see these postcards should be aware that Friend-to-Friend postcards are First-Class Mail and should be delivered as addressed. They should not be held, delayed, charged postage or returned.

The USPA first tested Friend-to-Friend in 2001 but end testing in 2003. While it received positive feedback from the program, the Postal Service did not move forward with it.

This is the first time since then that the Friend-to-Friend program has been used.

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