How Does Prepaid Postage Envelopes Work

What Are Postage Paid Envelopes?

As the name suggests, prepaid or postage-paid means the senders prepay the shipping expenses for specific items. Hence, the recipient need not pay anything for it on delivery.

Individuals and companies must print the “Postage Paid” indication on the upper-right corner of the envelope or package (front side).

In some cases, they cannot drop mail items with prepaid postage in a public mailbox. They must carry the mailers to the Post Office for lodgement. Royal Mail needs you to pay the postage immediately or transfer it later through your bank. However, it depends on the type of prepaid postage you are using.

Large organisations that send hundreds of mailpieces regularly can benefit from this postage payment method. They can use postage-paid envelopes to send out invoices, marketing items, donation solicitation requests, informational materials, etc.

Find below some ways to prepay postage while sending your mail items through Royal Mail:

Precanceled Stamps

Most direct mail marketers affix postage stamps to their mailpieces to give them a personal touch.

Stamps also create a nostalgic effect that raises your chances of building emotional bonds with your audience.

But 1st Class Mail stamps are expensive and can affect your ROI. It is when postage-paid stamps come into the picture. They are also called precanceled or service-inscribed stamps.

Mailers affix these stamps to their mailpieces to get a lower postage rate. They can pay the difference between the postage and the stamp rate at the Post Office via a cheque, postage account, or meter strip.

But how much is a postage-paid stamp available for? Well, you cannot buy single precanceled stamps from the Post Office.

First, you must get a precanceled stamp permit by completing a form and other formalities. Then, you can buy these stamps in large volumes from the permit-issuing Post Office.

Precanceled stamps are available in small denominations. You get to select from coils of 500, 3,000, and 10,000 to save costs.

They are a popular form of prepaid postage as you can buy these stamps in bulk and use them whenever you want. Plus, they never expire even if the postage rates increase.

Postage Meter

Mailers often ask- How does prepaid postage work with a postage meter?

Let’s answer this question by first what a postage meter is.

Postage meters are machines that can print postage on your mailpieces. You can buy or lease them from authorised providers and print your postage anywhere in the UK.

Items with metered postage must have the actual mailing date. Also, it does not require you to print the postmark information like city, state, and postcode because they are already present within the meter strip.

To print metered postage, you should obtain a permit in the same city from where you wish to ship your items.

You can use metered postage for the following mailing classes:

  • 1st Class Mail
  • 2nd Class Mail
  • Royal Mail Tracked 24 and 48
  • Royal Mail Signed, and more.

The first thing to do is get a postage meter and apply for a permit from the Post Office.

Once you get a permit, use the permit number to print metered postage on all your mailpieces.

There are several benefits to using metered postage, such as:

  • Lower postal rates
  • A professional look at your mail items
  • Ability to track postage
  • Ability to send per-piece and bulk mailings both, etc.

Permit Imprint

Only commercial mailers can use the Permit Imprint payment method. It is also known as bulk or discount postage. Unlike metered postage, you don’t need to purchase any equipment to print permit imprints. It is the process of printing postage (also called indicia) onto your mailpieces.

The best thing about a permit imprint is that it incorporates into your mail design. Hence, you don’t have to print the indicia separately.

Again, you would need a mailing permit to use permit imprints. Take care to print the permit number on every mailpiece.

Businesses can use embossed or unembossed imprints made by several devices:

  • Address plate
  • Printing press
  • Mimeograph
  • Handstamp
  • Lithography, etc.

They can design their imprints following the Royal Mail guidelines. However, hand-drawn and hand-written permit imprints are not allowed.

There are also some other requirements to use permit imprints. Hence, consider them before using imprints to avoid potential issues.

In the case of metered postage and permit imprints, you get an advance deposit account from Roya Mail. Each time you print them on a mailpiece, the postage deducts from this account.

Some people are still confused about what is a prepaid envelope. In short, prepaid envelopes have a precanceled stamp, metered postage or permit imprint.

It raises another question- Can I buy prepaid envelopes at the post office? Luckily, you can! You can get prepaid envelopes from Royal Mail from the Post Office or its website.

Flat Rate Postage

Royal Mail one flat-rate envelope and four boxes to mail anything within the country for a fixed rate.

You can purchase prepaid flat-rate envelopes and boxes online or pick them up from the post office for free and prepay the shipping charges online. Once done, you can print the shipping labels from your computer.

Also Read: How to Write Addresses on Envelopes in the UK with the Proper Format?