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How Does Prepaid Postage Work?

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With some prepaid postage options, you must still weigh your letters and packages.

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In today’s on-the-go world, almost everything can be managed from your laptop or even mobile device. Postage is no exception — long gone are the days when a person’s only option was to stand in line at the post office. Today, prepaid postage makes sending mail fast and easy for businesses and individuals, but these options can be costly for individuals who do not closely monitor their postage choices.

Prepaid Envelopes

Prepaid envelopes, also called “business reply mail,” are tools businesses use to encourage customers to return information, like credit card applications. All the customer has to do is drop the pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope into the mail, and the mail is delivered to the company. The company, on the other hand, must purchase a permit fee before they begin to send prepaid mail. They must also ensure that what is being sent out qualifies for prepaid postage and work with their local post offices to design envelopes that feature the business’s logo as well as a bar code for keeping track of the mail. The post office than keeps track of the mail, charging the business only for the mail that is returned. How much the business is charged depends on the package the company purchased through the US Post Office. Companies expecting more mail can purchase large packages that include discounted postage.

Prepaid Labels

To ensure good customer service, some companies will pay for the shipping of items that are being returned for repair or refund. Some non-profit organizations also offer to pick up the shipping cost for items being donated. Most companies do this by sending you an email or giving you a web address where you can print a prepaid shipping label. However, just because you got an email with a shipping label does not mean that the postage was prepaid. If the email does not specify, you are probably expected to purchase postage — the label is just designed to make sure the package is sorted properly.