Since the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) began offering the Mail Anywhere program, which allows customers to use the same postage payment permit regardless of what mailing location they use to enter the mail, many mailers have taken advantage of its benefits. The Mail Anywhere program is an added benefit offered to Full-Service customers, allowing them to use a single permit to present Full-Service or mixed Full-Service mailings at any Business Mail Acceptance site. Not only does this greatly simplify permit management, but it also saves permit application and renewal fees for customers who mail at numerous locations.
As with any new program, mailers may have a lot of questions regarding participation and mail preparation under this program. This week’s e-Tip deals with some of the more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s).
Q: What are the eligibility requirements to participate in Mail Anywhere?
The eligibility requirements for Mail Anywhere are:
• The Mail Anywhere service is available to customers who mail at 90% or higher Full-Service levels for the customer’s given business location and meet the electronic Full-Service verification criteria during the month prior to their request to participate in Mail Anywhere.
• Mail Anywhere is available for Full-Service First-Class Mail® (Cards, Letters and Flats only); Standard Mail® (Letters and Flats only, including Nonprofit); Bound Printed Matter (Flats only); and Periodicals (Letters and Flats only).
• Permit types that are eligible include Permit Imprint; Pre-canceled Stamps and Metered. A variety of postage statement types are also supported in Mail Anywhere, including Single Permit; Combined Mail; Comail; Mixed-Class Comail, and Copal.
• Mailers may submit their electronic data via Mail.dat®, Mail.XML™, Postal Wizard (First-Class and Standard Mail only, Full-Service only); or IMsb (First-Class and Standard Mail Only).
Q: Do I have to make an application to the USPS to use Mail Anywhere?
A: Yes, participation in this program does require an application process. This process applies to the individual that is preparing the mail. For example, if a Mail Owner wishes to participate, but employs a Mail Service Provider (MSP) to prepare their mailings, the Mail Owner needs to request their MSP contact the PostalOne!® Help Desk to go through the authorization process.
The first step is to verify that the participants meet all of the eligibility requirements. The best way to do that is to access the Mailer Scorecard data to review both the Full-Service mail volumes for the previous month, as well as to verify that none of the error thresholds for the electronic verification have been exceeded during that time.
Once eligibility is verified, the application email should be sent to the PostalOne! Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org. Included in the email should be:
• Request for Mail Anywhere participation
• Preparer’s Customer Registration ID (CRID) for the location where the mail is prepared (if multiple preparation locations will be used, the CRID for each location must be provided)
• Preparer’s Contact Name, Company Name, Business Address, City, State and ZIP code
• Mail Owner’s permit numbers and BMEU’s City, State and ZIP code where the permit was opened
• Postal Facilities where you plan on dropping your mail
• Permit numbers that you wish to be consolidated
Q: Do I get a new permit number once approved for Mail Anywhere?
A: No, participation in this program does not require that mailers establish a new permit. Mailers may use already existing permits. Most participants in this program eventually consolidate the multiple permits at multiple locations that they currently have and are able to use just a few permits for all of their mailings. Keep in mind, mailers must still maintain the different permit types for the different postage payment methods, such as permit imprint, meter, stamp, or reply mail. For example, let’s say that Mailer A, headquartered in Chicago IL, has permit imprint permits in Chicago, Boston, Tampa, and Los Angeles. Under this program, Mailer A can consolidate all of these permit imprint permits into a single permit at their Chicago headquarters location, closing the other permits in Boston, Tampa and Los Angeles. Using Mail Anywhere, Mailer A is able to use that single permit to mail at all of those locations, and more.
Q: Do I need to change the way my mail or Mail.dat® files are prepared?
A: Participation in this program means that Mail Owners or Mail Service Providers may need to adjust some of the data that is submitted electronically to PostalOne! via the Mail.dat files.
The PostalOne! Help Desk can provide more detailed instructions on how to correctly populate the Mail.dat files for mailings that participate in Mail Anywhere. We strongly encourage people to test submitting these types of mailings using the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) prior to submitting them for live production.
Two very critical pieces of information for these jobs are:
1) The Payment Account Number in the Mailer Postage Accounting (MPA) file, field MPA-1127. This number is different than the postage permit number, and is assigned by the USPS when the application for Mail Anywhere is submitted. Typically, there is a Payment Account Number assigned for each postage permit that is participating in the Mail Anywhere program.
Note: The Payment Account Number is different than the CAPS account number and the USPS Finance Number. USPS Finance Numbers are not supported in the Mail.dat file specification: these numbers are looked up by PostalOne! in the USPS database, based upon the permit numbers and payment account numbers provided in the Mail.dat file.
2) The Verification Post Office. Since the postage payment permit in this program may be located anywhere, the post office where the mail is verified and accepted may be different than the post office where the postage payment permit is held. The verification post office data is populated in the Segment (SEG) file of the Mail.dat file (fields SEG-1118 and SEG 1119).
If you encounter issues uploading Mail.dat files to PostalOne! for Mail Anywhere jobs, we suggest you open a help desk ticket with PostalOne! by sending an email to email@example.com. Include a description of the issue, and attach the Mail.dat file that you are working with, along with screen shots of the errors you are getting.
Mailers should not need to change anything with regard to the indicias (permit imprints) printed on their mailpieces or their metering information – unless some permits have been closed out or consolidated as part of this application process. Mailers should work with the PostalOne! Help Desk or their local District Business Mail Entry office for guidance on any changes in these areas.
Q: What happens if a Mail Owner switches to a different Mail Service Provider?
A: It is important to note that the application for participation in Mail Anywhere is done by the entity preparing the mail, which in most cases is the Mail Service Provider. The application includes a listing of the clients and permits that the MSP wants to get approved for Mail Anywhere. The approval is based at the MSP level, so if the Mail Owner switches to a new MSP, the new MSP will need to apply for Mail Anywhere approval if they have not already done so, including the new Mail Owner’s name and permit information. If the new MSP has already been approved for Mail Anywhere, they would need to notify PostalOne! of any new Mail Owner clients (and their permit information) in order for those Mail Owners to continue to participate in Mail Anywhere at the new MSP.
The USPS offers a Fact Sheet and a Customer Participation Guide for Mail Anywhere, both of which are available on the USPS RIBBS web site. Window Book’s DAT-MAIL software fully supports Mail Anywhere mailings. Window Book also offers a free educational webinar on Mail Anywhere.
Window Book can help you implement Mail Anywhere in your mailing operation and automate your processes using our software and service solutions.
Window Book offers a free Mailing Optimization Analysis.
Call us at 1-800-524-0380 for more details or to sign up for your FREE Mailing Optimization Analysis!