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How to print postage online

Printing at home will save you time and money.

By Karen Datko Oct 6, 2009 1:55AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


I hate going to the post office. It doesn't matter what day I go or what time of day I go, there is always a line and there's always only one or two people working behind the counter.


I've gone to post offices that serve a large residential ZIP code and post offices that serve a smaller residential ZIP code, and there is always a line and never enough workers. If we're near a holiday, forget it -- I'll be waiting in line for at least half an hour. If you visit the PO with any regularity, I bet you understand my pain.


The worst part is watching people struggle through a process that is otherwise fairly straightforward. People show up with packages they haven't even finished packing. I understand not knowing how much postage is needed, but not to have your package taped up and ready to go is inexcusable.

That's why I try to do as much as I can at home so I can shorten the time I'm stuck in the post office. Recently, with all the shipping I've been doing related to contests and auction winners in the Bargaineering Bucks Store, I've been considering printing my postage online.


Here's what I've found.

USPS

You can print postage from the U.S. Postal Service Web site. The service is absolutely free other than the cost of the postage, with no surcharges, but you're limited to the higher classes of mail (Priority, Express and International Mail). One added bonus of printing postage online -- and this applies to any electronic postage service -- is that you get delivery confirmation free. When you print postage, it comes with a tracking number absolutely free, so you automatically save yourself 65 cents.


Most of my mail is sent Media Mail (books people win from the Bargaineering Store). Also, you can't print stamps from USPS.com. So while USPS gets my seal of approval, it's not the best option for me and my mailing needs.


Stamps.com

Stamps.com is one of the few approved licensed vendors for PC postage for the USPS. I've used Stamps.com in the past and really liked the service, but canceled because I didn't mail enough for it to be worth it. For me, the biggest draw now is in the time savings. With services like Stamps.com, you can print postage and addresses directly onto letters and labels. You can also print regular postage, so I can print my Media Mail postage at home and just drop it off at the post office.


Much like with printing postage at USPS, you get free delivery confirmation on packages sent Priority Mail. Here are a few other areas where you save:

  • 5% discount on Express Mail shipments.
  • Up to 11% discount on Priority Mail shipments.
  • 5% discount on Priority Mail International, 8% discount on Express Mail International.
  • 10% discount on insurance (with no forms or post office drop-off required).
  • If you use FedEx, you can get up to 21% off those services too (for premier customers).

They offer a free four-week trial in which you get $25 of postage, a $50 5-pound digital scale (I still use mine from years ago), and $5 worth of "supplies" (self-adhesive labels you can print the stamps onto). The service costs $19.99 a month.


Endicia

Endicia, owned by Newell Rubbermaid, is another online print postage service that has several service plans, including a free service. The cheapest pay service costs $9.99 a month, and the service can get as high as $99.95 a month. Some nice features are included in the higher packages (such as stealth postage, which hides the value of the postage). It's unclear what you get with the free package, but with most of their plans costing less than Stamps.com, they're certainly worth a look.


Have you tried any other online services that let you print postage? What's been your experience?


Related reading at Bargaineering:

Published June 30, 2009
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