How Long is a Postage Meter Stamp Good For?

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By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 4 May 2021

Postage meters can save your business time and money, but there are some strict rules and regulations you need to follow.

One of those rules refers to the length of time your postage or shipping label is valid for. In other words, there’s a time limit for when you can actually send your postage meter-stamped mail.

Do Postage Stamps Expire?

How Long are Stamps Valid for?

In the United States Postal Service (USPS) postage meter regulations, it says items must be mailed on the date displayed on the postage label. So, if you stamp an item with a shipping label in the morning, you’ll need to place it in the mailbox before midnight the same day.

The countdown begins once the mail is stamped with a postage label. This is why your mailing staff need to be careful with dated postage labels, because delays will cost your business time and money.

If you think you’ll miss the mailbox’s final collection slot for that day, then you can timestamp your package for when the next scheduled collection day will be.

That can be a problem, since the post office might only be open until three or four in the afternoon, and pickups at local boxes typically aren’t any later than five or six o’clock. However, you do have some leeway.

If the pickup time has already passed, you’re allowed a single date correction (at no cost) by printing a new postage label that has the correct date and zero postage printed next to the original dated label.

If you miss the date a second time, you’ll need to print a new label, which means paying twice.

Did You Know?

In 2020, the USPS handled 129.2 billion items of mail.

Planning Your Postage

Planning goes a long way in the postal world. We recommend paying attention to the USPS calendar and to the opening hours of your local post office.

If you anticipate problems with meeting the day’s delivery deadline, it may be helpful to hold fire on processing your mail (especially if it’s a larger batch) until you can be sure you can send it on time.

If your business is open on public holidays, such as Veterans Day, you should consider dating your mail for the next day, rather than printing postage and then printing a correction.

It’s also worth noting that if your post office has a separate business mail intake for business items, its hours may be different from its reception hours.

Next Steps

If your business uses a postage meter, you’re already on your way to improving your workflow and saving a considerable amount of time and money. Just be sure to plan carefully so that you aren’t negating those savings by wasting money on duplicate postage.

Looking to lease your first postage meter? We can help you there. We can match your business with postage meter suppliers that best cater to your unique requirements, who’ll offer you free quotes to compare. To get the ball rolling and start saving money for your business, all you need to do is tell us what you need on our free comparison tool, and you’ll soon hear from trusted suppliers with non-obligation quotes. It’s so quick and easy.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

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