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Postage Meters vs Traditional Stamps - Which To Choose?

In the USA today, there are three common methods of payment when it comes to sending mail. The most popular options include the use of postage stamps, postage meters and online postage. While each offers its own benefits and drawbacks, it’s now 1 cent cheaper per letter to send mail with a postage meter when compared to a traditional stamp ($0.48 vs $0.49).

Read more: Postage Meters vs. Stamps.com

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The Case for Traditional Stamps

Sending mail with postage stamps is quick and easy. There are no hidden costs, no monthly payments, and no permit payments. For relatively small amounts of mail, postage stamps remain the cheapest option.

However, the major drawback to using stamps is loss of time. Firstly, you have to physically buy them from the Post Office. The time taken to do this will vary depending on your location, but if you drive to the Post Office to purchase the stamps, then the cost of the gas must also be taken into account.

Calculating postage costs for heavier items can also be difficult and you can easily end up overpaying and putting too much postage on a package. Alternatively, you may not add enough postage, which means the item could fail to reach its destination.

Paying for postage with a stamp means you also need to affix the stamps onto each item of mail. If there are lots of items to be processed, this can be time consuming and tiresome.

The case for Postage Meters

A postage meter is a rented machine which enables you to print your own postage onto most mail items conveniently from your workplace.

Having a machine which prints postage right from your office will save time and money, simply by removing the need to travel to the Post Office regularly.

Meters are also very efficient in calculating exact postage costs. Most have a weighing scale included, which negates instances of over or under payment of postage - and better still, they are extremely fast.

Many machines can process over 100 letters each minute and due to reduced rates for metered post, the postage paid on each item works out slightly cheaper than it would be if a stamp was used.

Over the course of a year, this price difference could lead to fairly significant savings, the exact value of these savings depends on your company's volume of mail.

If you want a postage meter for stamping bulk mailings, then you also need to apply for a permit at an additional cost of around $200, valid for one year.

Verdict

For average personal use, postage stamps are still the most cost effective and popular choice for paying to send mail.

For any business with a need for regular mailings, the benefits and convenience offered by leasing a postage meter cannot be matched by traditional stamps.