The postage stamp is a British invention that’s been around for a long time – since 1840 to be exact. Stamps are actually receipts showing that the delivery charge for a piece of mail has been paid. In the United States, businesses often use metered mail instead of stamps, but the function is the same: The imprint on metered mail also shows the delivery fee has been paid.
Postage Meters Versus Stamps
The most obvious difference between metered and stamped mail is that a stamp is an adhesive-backed piece of paper attached to a letter or package, but a postage meter prints directly on the piece of mail. Stamps are typically used when the number of items to be mailed is relatively small. Businesses can get a United States Postal Service permit for precanceled stamps to eliminate the cancellation step. A postage meter is normally used for bulk mailings, although you can meter an individual first-class letter and most other types of mail if you wish. Payment for metering is usually done through an electronic funds transfer system offered by the USPS, called Postage Now.
- Photo Credit Roel Smart/iStock/Getty Images
What Is Metered Mail?
For organizations that send significant amounts of printed correspondence through the United States postal system, using a postage meter can increase efficiency...
What Is Hand Stamping at the Post Office?
The U.S. Postal Service has been delivering mail since Colonial times. Stamps, required for delivery, can only be used one time, so...
Rules for Use of a Postage Meter
A postage meter in your home office can save you money and trips to the post office, but its use is governed...
The Difference Between a First Class Stamp & Others
Stamp collectors, or anyone who has ever mailed anything, should know about the different types of U.S. postage stamps. The most common...
What Are Presorted First Class Stamps?
Presorted first-class mail requires precanceled stamps or metered postage for discount bulk mailing. Both private businesses and nonprofit organizations use presorted mailings...
How Does Prepaid Postage Work?
With prepaid postage, the shipping cost is paid before mailing. This postage payment method exists in various forms and each of them...
How to Measure the Rhyme and Meter in a Poem
Poetry is one of the most popular forms of writing in all cultures. One of the reasons for the continued popularity of...