Flexibility for Mailers: USPS Announces Unique Payment /Delivery Solutions
Thursday, September 06, 2001
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Postal Service today announced unique enhancements to its USPS eBillPay and Priority Mail services that tie electronic financial transactions to the Postal Service's traditional delivery of packages. These enhancements are a milestone in the implementation of the original plan that was announced with the national launch of USPS eBillPay in April 2000, and provide consumers with the ability to send money and pay for merchandise at the time of delivery electronically, securely and conveniently. Specifically, today's announcement creates valuable links between unique Postal capabilities – Priority Mail, Delivery Confirmation and the USPS Electronic Postmark – and the electronic movement of money facilitated by CheckFree Corp. and the financial services industry. Because these enhancements are being accomplished through the linkage of existing systems, there is virtually no incremental cost to the Postal Service. Including USPS eBillPay, which enables customers to view and pay their bills online, the following additions create a unique suite of payment and delivery services via www.usps.com: * Pay@Delivery - Similar to the existing Collect-On-Delivery (COD) service offered by the Postal Service since 1913, this feature's main purpose is to make access to traditional Postal Services easier and more convenient by combining electronic payments with Priority Mail and Delivery Confirmation services. Sellers of merchandise at online auctions can, for example, print out the buyer's address label with Delivery Confirmation barcodes from their personal computer and drop off the package at any of over 38,000 post offices. Buyers of merchandise at online auctions can send their money to the seller online and have the money released electronically when the mail carrier delivers the package and scans the Delivery Confirmation barcodes. Available on the Postal Service web site, CheckFree will offer Pay@Delivery to its financial services customers as a standard feature. Also, individuals selling merchandise online can now place the Pay@Delivery logo and link on their web site to offer this convenient and secure payment and delivery option to their customers. * Send Money - Similar to a domestic Postal Money Order, which has been available to the American public since 1864, this feature enables anyone to send money to anyone else using the Internet. This person-to-person payment addition will allow customers to send money securely to anyone with a checking-enabled account and an email address. Like Pay@Delivery, individuals selling merchandise online can place the logo and link on their web site to offer convenient and secure payment and delivery options to their customers. * USPS Electronic Postmark – Combining tamper detection with a time-and-date seal applied by the Postal Service, the Electronic Postmark verification provides trusted, third-party proof of when a payment was initiated. Every payment transaction processed through USPS eBillPay, Pay@Delivery, and Send Money will be postmarked – when they are created and sent, when they are changed and when they are canceled. The Postal Service has been postmarking mail since 1775. "The Postal Service has historically connected the movement of money with the delivery of merchandise by using its COD and money order options. By implementing the core of our plan announced in April 2000 at this time, we're creating linkages that upgrade services the American public has used and trusted for decades," said Stephen M. Kearney, senior vice president, Corporate and Business Development. "We're serving our customers better by providing them with options on how they conduct the business of their lives." The Postal Service launched USPS eBillPay in April 2000, after signing a long-term strategic alliance with CheckFree Corp. In addition to moving money electronically, the USPS eBillPay service allows payments to be made to businesses not yet equipped to receive electronic payments by issuing paper checks sent via First-Class Mail. The payment plans include two by subscription, in which new users receive three free months of service, and one non-subscription plan. The pricing is as follows: * Subscription Plan - $6.95 per month for up to 20 payments, and 50-cents for each additional payment transaction; * Subscription Plan - $1.50 per month, plus 65-cents for each payment transaction; * Non-Subscription Plan - $1.00 per payment transaction.