Pitney Bowes Simplifies Permit Postage Payment

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EasyPermitPostage, a service begun in November by Pitney Bowes to simplify payment of postage to lettershops, is gaining steam, the company said, with several customers signed on and a direct mail campaign set to drop next month.

"Currently, the postage payment system for both mailing houses and direct mailers is very antiquated, with direct mailers having to pre-pay for postage to their lettershops before any mailings go out," said Patty Picoli, vice president, strategic initiatives in the global payment area at Pitney Bowes.

With EasyPermitPostage, mailers set up a line of credit from Pitney Bowes based on their estimated annual postage. When it is time to pay the mailing house, the mailer logs on to easypermitpostage.pb.com and requests an electronic funds transfer. The money is transferred to the mailing house by the next day, or mailers can schedule payments up to 30 days in advance. Mailers get a monthly statement of their transactions, and they can pay in full or extend payment.

Both the mailer and mailing house need to be signed up for EasyPermitPostage.

The service is free to the lettershop. Mailers pay a fee based on annual permit postage spending. Annual postage of $49,999 and under costs $179 yearly, annual postage of $50,000-$99,999 costs $349, annual postage of $100,000-$249,999 costs $749, annual postage of $250,000-$399,999 costs $1,199 and annual postage of more than $400,000 costs $1,999. There are finance charges if payment is not received by the due date or not paid in full.

Pitney Bowes intends the service for mailers who mail frequently and spend at least $10,000 in postage during the year. But Picoli said it is not for "the very, very large companies that have a system called CAPS to pay for their permit directly with the USPS." CAPS, or Centralized Account Processing System, is a U.S. Postal Service electronic postage payment system.

Pitney Bowes has offered a similar service to mailers who use metered mail for the past seven years.

"This is the first time we have entered into the world of postage payment options for the permit, or bulk mail business, however," Picoli said.

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