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Alphanumeric Codes Instead Of Stamps

 
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Valued Member
United States
125 Posts
Posted 02/11/2022   5:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add gvol21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Just learned something new today...

I received this postcard today from the Netherlands, and apparently this system has been in use for some time. Rather than use a stamp, you just go online, pay for a code, and write it on the letter.

There's been another thread on the use of QR codes on stamps, but I haven't seen anything yet that deals with the elimination of stamps altogether! (Needless to say, I was quite disappointed the sender didn't use an actual stamp.)

So I just wanted to kickstart a discussion thread on this practice. Any anecdotal evidence suggesting how prevalent this already is/isn't? Will there come a day when these replace stamps entirely? I could see how they'd be a more secure/convenient (if less collectible) medium to show the prepayment of postage...

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
2897 Posts
Posted 02/11/2022   7:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'd think they would eliminate stamps even more than they are today, but not completely. More and more of what I've got shipped from Europe has been something coded and probably short-lived for the collector. But the USPS will still want to sell stamps to collectors. But perhaps those would be in the form of the upcoming British stamps with bar codes.

What such a code needs is precise delivery information and needs to be machine readable. Zip+4 seems to speed things up in "the last mile" but is largely unused even though the USPS site is able to give it you immediately. Give us a break on price on mail with (embedded) machine readable Zip codes vs. handwriting and see what happens.

Small packet recently received from France:

The stamp still gets a cancel, okay. Those are paper airplanes in the design. But the customs form stuck in a plastic bag on the back could have been made available electronically IF the barcode system/method was compatible internationally. Now if the designs would expire regularly, then we might have something interesting to collect.
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Edited by hy-brasil - 02/11/2022 7:59 pm
Pillar Of The Community
1097 Posts
Posted 02/12/2022   01:55 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Why not have both? A lot of countries will combine the two methods, one without stamps and one with. In fact, most already do.

There are advantages to stamps -- no computer or printer necessary, and so on. Stamps are attractive propaganda (in the good way) for countries' achievements, history, culture, and so on. Stamps honor people and things which codes do not. I see most countries continuing to issue stamps for a very long time while also using various "non-stamp" mailing labels for some mail. After all, how long have we had machine-printed Pitney-Bowes labels? Well over 60 or 70 years now. But we still have stamps.
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Edited by DrewM - 02/12/2022 01:55 am
Valued Member
United States
125 Posts
Posted 02/12/2022   10:55 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gvol21 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I was wondering more specifically about the written codes, not labels; the latter will likely stick around as parcels need to be weighed so proper payment can be assessed.

But I think the codes seem to be the most convenient of all options? No trip to the PO, no printers - yes, you need a smartphone or computer, but pretty much everyone does have that these days.
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Pillar Of The Community
Netherlands
1845 Posts
Posted 02/14/2022   6:13 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
https://www.postnl.nl/campagnes/postzegelcode/

Click on the short film to see how it works.
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United States
927 Posts
Posted 02/14/2022   11:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Mrita75 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Adding mine to the thread.
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