Ever have the experience of focusing so intently on the details of a campaign that it isn’t until mailing day that you realize you didn’t request a postage check? It’s usually a painful episode. To get your carefully planned mailing out on time you’ve got to pay a visit to the finance department with panic in your eyes and your hat in your hand. You’ll probably have to get approval from a busy executive who is undoubtedly tied up in meetings all day. You might have to ship the check overnight. And you’re likely to receive stern warnings about this being the last time the accounting people are going to drop everything to cut you a check.
Fortunately, there’s a smarter way to pay for postage. All your company needs to do is establish a CAPS (Centralized Account Processing System) account with the United States Postal Service. With CAPS you can eliminate paper checks entirely. Gone are the time-consuming tasks of producing checks and transporting them to post offices or service providers. It is all done electronically. Those emergency check requests will no longer be necessary. The funding process is faster and more secure, but that’s not all. CAPS affords mailers several additional benefits.
With CAPS, you can centralize all your postal expenses. Mailers use CAPS to pay for permit mailings, business reply, postage due, and Address Correction Service (ACS) fees. The USPS tracks all the transactions. Authorized account holders have access to their mailing project details online, 24 hours a day.
Mailers have a choice between two types of CAPS accounts – trust accounts and debit accounts.
Mailers with trust accounts deposit funds to the CAPS bank before mailing. The USPS takes funds from the account when they process mailings at local post offices. Trust accounts are entirely separate from any other financial accounts held by a corporation. Funds are deposited via ACH or wire transfer. An organization wishing to keep all their postal expenses segmented may opt for a trust account. The drawback to this funding arrangement is the possibility of rejected mail. If the trust account balance is insufficient to cover the postage for a mailing when it is presented to the USPS the mailing will be denied.
The second option, a centralized debit account, is similar to a checking account. Funds are held at the mailer’s own bank. Money for mailings and other services are debited against the account on the next business day following the mailing. Advantages to debit accounts are simpler/quicker funding processes, and no exposure to rejected mailings due to insufficient funds.
There are few, if any, adjustments mailers must make to use their CAPS account once it is established. It is not necessary to obtain new mailing permits. All existing permits and business reply account numbers can be connected to the CAPS account. Even annual fees can be managed through CAPS. Companies who deposit mail at multiple post offices will find CAPS accounts especially convenient. CAPS tracks all their transactions through the same account regardless of where their mail enters the USPS network.
How to Apply
Signing up for a CAPS account is easy. The USPS covers all the information along with the forms, instructions, and commonly asked questions at https://caps.usps.gov/capshome.asp. Form 6001 is the application and Form 6002 links existing accounts and services. Debit accounts require a third form, Form 6003, to authorize the electronic fund transfers.
All these forms are simple and straightforward, but feel free to call us if you need assistance or advice when applying for a CAPS account.