High-Tech Mail Franking Is Catching Cheaters

Picture of UV Franking Light

A mail franking machine you might purchase from IMS Franking would rely on ink to print both postage and addresses. As such, it is quite easy for Royal Mail officials to know when business mail has been improperly franked. They can tell just by looking at. Likewise, the person running the company mailroom can quickly identify pieces that need to be franked again. But now there is a new high-tech franking machine that Royal Mail is using to catch cheaters.

Royal Mail uses UV franking machines to mark stamps used by OTC customers. This is important to remember because it doesn't apply to business mail customers who use rented or purchased franking machines to apply postage. It only applies to over-the-counter customers who purchase stamps.

Identifying Reused Stamps

Now that we have cleared up exactly who Royal Mail is targeting, let us discuss what's actually going on. The Scotsman's Jane Bradley did a very good job of explaining it in a piece published 18 November.

Bradley began by explaining how customers receiving mail for which it appears the stamp has not been properly marked often remove said stamps and reuse them on future letters. Catching cheaters has historically been difficult because Royal Mail has used ink-based franking machines to mark letters. But times are changing.

Sorting machines in Royal Mail processing centres have been converted to UV franking technology that applies marks that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Along with each mark is a Royal Mail logo for added security. This new technology prevents mail recipients from knowing whether a stamped letter has been properly marked.

Should a marked stamp be reused, it will be identified as the letter it is affixed to runs through mail processing. The end result will be additional postage charged to the customer. The offending customer will have to pay a visit to the local sorting office to pay the due postage before the letter will be sent.

What It Means to Business Mail Customers

For the time being, the fact the Royal Mail is using UV franking machines to mark stamped mail doesn't mean much to business mail users. Business will continue to use ink-based franking machines that clearly mark mail as properly franked. But it does suggest that business mail technology could be changing in the future.

It's easy to speculate that Royal Mail will eventually convert all mail franking to UV technology – or perhaps something altogether different. The idea here is to save money by eliminating the need for ink. That would be a tremendous help to business mail customers by reducing their expenses. At the same time, it would also increase security and reduce fraud.

Mail franking has come a long way over the last few decades. It will continue evolving for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, your small business should be using a modern mail franking machine for the best price and the most efficient processing of business mail.

Sources:

The Scotsman – https://www.scotsman.com/business/how-the-royal-mail-has-stamp-penny-pinchers-beat-this-christmas-1-4617167

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