Applied in black ink, a postmark is an official imprint of the United States Postal Service on the address side of a stamped mail piece, indicating the date and location they took custody of a mail piece. Postmarked mail cancels affixed postage.
Why Does Mail Get Postmarked By USPS?
Mail is usually postmarked for one of these four reasons;
Prevent Reuse of Stamps
This is the first and most common reason. In the postmarking mail process, the postage used gets cancellation bars run through it. This ensures that even if the postage’s original envelope is changed and applied to a new envelope, it won’t scan as viable postage at the post office. And this aids the USPS revenue.
Sticking to Delivery Window
Postmarked mail helps the post office stick to delivery windows, as most pre-canceled or automated stamps have a date printed on them already. This helps provide postal workers know how fast the mail needs to get to its destination..
Priority Mail, for instance, has a two to three day delivery window. It would need therefore to be mailed quicker than the five to seven day delivery window of Ground Retail mail. The postmarked date helps direct how fast it needs to be mailed.
Payment Due Dates
Mail is postmarked is to lend credibility to time-sensitive mail like bills or property tax payments.
If your tax payment deliquency date is 1st, for example, and you make a property tax payment by mail before that date, as long as the envelope is postmarked prior to the 1st, it will be considered an on-time payment and not late regardless of the time it arrives its destination.
Post Office Identification
Even though is it highly unusual, postmarking can be useful in identifying the post office location that accepted the mail in case of a package goes missing.
How Are Mails Postmarked
Methods of imprinting or postmarking process involves the following
Processing distribution centers use Advanced facer canceller systems, which cancel letters quickly. With the biohazard detection systems on these machines, letters postmarked by automation benefit from added safety measures.
Postmarks can be applied to flat-size mailpieces and to philatelic pieces using older devices.
Postal Service employees use Hand-stamp devices for local cancellation or philatelic requests.
Do All Postage Have to be Postmarked
Not all mails are postmarked. The USPS postmark only certain mail depending on the type of postage.
Standard Postage Stamps: These are stamps bought and affixed to mail as proof of the payment of postage.
Pre-canceled Stamp: The stamps sold through a private vendor are non postmarked.
Metered Mail: These mail have postage printed directly on their envelope or label by a postage machine that is licensed by the USPS. These machines are mostly used in private companies.
Permit Imprint: Non-Postmarked Mail also include pre-sorted mail used by bill pay services.
Automated Postal Center (APC) Stamps: The stamps purchased from self-service machines or kiosks that are within a USPS lobby fall into this category.
Other Options For Postmarked Mail
The USPS will not postmark your mail if you use any of the non-postmark options. However, they offer alternative services that will show the mailing date for these options and provide the evidence of mailing needed on your payment:
Certificate Of Mailing: Purchase this document from the USPS, fill and complete it. The Certificate Of Mailing is a receipt that shows proof of the date your mail was presented to the USPS for mailing. You can only purchase it at the time of mailing through the USPS. This service is not free.
Postage Validated Imprint (PVI): You can purchase a PVI Label from a USPS retail counter or window. The PVI is imprinted to a piece of mail by personnel at the retail counter or window when payment has been made for the postage to be mailed. After this is done, USPS retains the item. The mailing date is the date printed on the PVI label.
How Do You Get Your Mail Postmarked By USPS?
Most first-class or standard retail postage mail will be postmarked automatically by the post office when an item is picked up and processed.
So, if you need to get a postmark in order to date a bill or property tax payment or you want a postmark just in case, you can request one at the post office.
To get a postmark for your envelope or package, go to your local post office. At the counter, simply request the clerk that you’d like to postmark your package or envelope.
Often, postal workers will stamp your letter in front of you at the counter. Do note that once your letter is postmarked there at the counter, you cannot take it back. The integrity of the postmark means it must be mailed after then. It is therefore important to be sure you’re prepared to mail your package when you visit the post office.
Is mail postmarked on Sunday?
No, the US Postal Service and the post office is closed on Sundays.
USPS may not postmark mail the same day you delivered it. But, if a mailpiece is dropped off at, let’s say, a 24-hour postal location—before the last pickup time listed at that location—it would be postmarked with the date it was dropped off.
The Postal Service’s Postal Operations Manual (POM) has outlined standards for postmarks applied to single-piece First-Class Mail. Letters and flats that need to be postmarked come from carrier pick-up, lobby drop boxes, collection boxes, and retail counters.