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Postage Meters vs Traditional Stamps - Which One Should You Choose?

In the USA today, there are three common methods of postage payment methods. These are:

  • Postage Stamps
  • Postage Meters
  • Online Postage

Each postage method offers its own benefits and drawbacks. However, did you know it’s now 1 cent cheaper per letter to send mail with a postage meter compared to a traditional stamp ($0.48 vs $0.49)?

postage meters vs stamps

What's The Low Down?

In this article we put postage meters and stamps against each other so you can decide on the right postage method for your business. To kick off, we've given you an outline of how the two postage methods stack up against each other in the table below.

CostsReliableConvenient
Postage stamps
Postage meters

Read on to find out why we've given postage meters three massive ticks.

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AK
AL
AR
AZ
CA
CO
CT
DE
FL
GA
HI
IA
ID
IL
IN
KS
KY
LA
MA
MD
ME
MI
MN
MO
MS
MT
NC
ND
NE
NH
NJ
NM
NV
NY
OH
OK
OR
PA
RI
SC
SD
TN
TX
UT
VA
VT
WA
WI
WV
WY

Postage Meters vs Stamps - The Case for Stamps

For the everyday person, the traditional stamp method works – it's quick, easy and for relatively small amounts of mail, it remains the cheapest option. Add to the mix no hidden costs, no monthly payments and no payment permits and no wonder small businesses cling onto the traditional method for so long.

Now to address our first cross on the chart – convenience.

The major drawback to using stamps is loss of time. Firstly, you have to physically travel to the Post Office to buy them. Secondly, once you've bought the stamps you need to affix them onto each item of mail – a nightmare if you need to process lots of items!

Calculating postage costs for heavier items can also be difficult and time-heavy. A by-product of this is a greater risk of cost miscalculation, which introduces us to our second cross on the chart – reliability

The more items you post, the greater the risk of cost miscalculation, which makes it difficult for you to budget your postal outgoings. And it's not just the risk of overpaying. Underpaying is just as bad – especially when you consider the impact of a product not reaching its destination.

Postage Meters vs Stamps -The Case for Postage Meters

So why did we give postage meters three massive ticks?

For starters, a postage meter enables you to print your own postage onto most mail items conveniently from your workplace. Not only do you cut the time spent dealing with mail, you also completely cut the cost of running your car to the Post Office and back.

Meters are also very efficient in calculating exact postage costs. Handily, most have a weighing scale included, which removes the risk of over or under payment of postage - making them far more reliable than traditional stamps!

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, although 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.

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Verdict

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

However, for any business with a need for regular mailings, postage meters can't be beaten on time, cost and reliability.

Read more: Postage Meters vs. Stamps.com