RealTime IT News

Now Comes the Digital Postage Meter

E-Stamp Corp. in Palo Alto, CA said it has been granted approval by the U.S. Postal Service to test its online postage solution--the first new indicia approved by the Postal Service in 78 years.

This makes E-Stamp the fifth company in history to be granted a license to resell postage. The last such license was granted to Pitney Bowes in 1920. Other companies are working on similar products, postal officials said. "Indicia" is postal-speak for an indication on an envelope that postage has been paid.

E-Stamp said its Internet Postage will change the way small businesses and home offices process mail by allowing them to securely purchase, download, store, and print postage using a PC.

Beta testing will begin immediately in the metropolitan Washington, DC area, followed shortly by testing in the San Francisco Bay and Tampa, FL areas, the company said.

In 1996, E-Stamp secured the patent on printing postage from a non-dedicated device, and for the past four years E-Stamp has worked with the Postal Service to develop a standard Information-based Indicia to replace the emblem generated by all mechanical-based meters.

E-Stamp was started by entrepreneur Salim Kara. His secretary was in a car accident on the way to the post office to refill postage and sued him for damages. The story goes that Kara felt there must be a better way to purchase and use postage, and so he developed the digital postage concept.