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Sun Aug 28 2011 21:51:09

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

By: Ina Steiner

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Tensions are running high as the US Postal Service considers drastic measures to deal with its financial problems, including closing thousands of offices and breaking union agreements so it can lay off workers. The St. Joseph News-Press covered a meeting of 40 postmasters from throughout Northwest Missouri, who had some interesting suggestions for the agency - including new ways to generate revenue.

Rather than closing rural post offices, which they claimed would be an ineffective cost-saving measure, some postmasters suggested the USPS introduce revenue generation services like online payment services and banking services. They said such services would have people swamping the offices.

Having the USPS offer online payments is an interesting idea. Remember BidPay? It offered online shoppers a way to purchase money orders online - buyers loved the convenience, and sellers loved it too. (See this article from 2007.)

The USPS already offers consumers the option to purchase postal money orders in person - is it such a stretch for the agency to expand its payments business? Let us know what you think!

Comments (42) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: duke4949

Sun Aug 28 23:10:55 2011

Go for it USPS!!

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: buck efay

Sun Aug 28 23:19:55 2011

That would end scammers games in a hurry, having postal inspectors knocking at their door & theft being a federal crime! A great idea! Plus they would most likely charge the BUYER of the order not the seller!

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: dan

Sun Aug 28 23:44:15 2011

Bidpay was great..if they bought Propay/Bidpay or introduced their own competing line of products they would do well.

I believe they should stick with iron-clad service(s) that complement their existing infrastructure.  If they are becoming technically more proficient then they should extend online services.  A mobile application that allows purchase and shipment of a money order from a post office would be something no one else offers and an improvement on the bidpay model.

A service that allows purchase of US Savings Bonds should be considered.

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by:

Mon Aug 29 00:21:03 2011

Would've been a better idea many years ago, in the heydey of ebay. Although ebay likely would have deemed it unsafe and unproven.

BTW, I see that the U.S. Postmaster General is Patrick Donahoe. Is he related to John Donahoe by any chance? Anyone..?

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: JoyfulA

Mon Aug 29 00:32:03 2011

I wish I could buy media mail postage online from USPS.

I'd pay some small amount for media mail pickup from USPS, too. They do come to my house every day anyhow.

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: Gary Overton
Web Site

Mon Aug 29 03:23:58 2011

The postal service should offer every household a free post office box and charge for home delivery.
They could then sell more overpriced items at the post office.
They are doing it backwards. Now they charge for a box and give free home delivery.
Home delivery should only be 3 days a week Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday depending on where you live. (Mail would be delivered to the "free" boxes EVERY day)
Post office windows should be open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Since there would be a lot more traffic at the post office(everyone visiting their free box) they could sell overpriced coffee and donuts, etc.
Make someone Postmaster General who isn't a career postal worker.
This is only a small number of things they can do

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: anyone out there

Mon Aug 29 06:24:04 2011

Just think of all the money they could make if you could print first class and parcel post postage on the website they have.

I could take all my business from failpay and give it to the USPS. It would be the most satisifying.

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: USPostalNinnyOrders

Mon Aug 29 07:50:23 2011

In the third quarter of 2011 USPS lost 3.1 billion dollars. They have a projected deficit of  $238 billion over the next decade. What is their solution: They close small post offices for not making money when Federal law 39 USC 101 says they cannot do that. (If they closed every single post office the savings would only amount to about 1%.), cut back operating hours, raise prices, nickel and dime customers to death for everything, proof of mailing, delivery confirmation, insurance... If they would consider breaking union agreements how trustworthy and reliable would their banking or payment service agreement with users be?

UPS made $5.8 Billion after taxes in 2010, Fedex profits doubled in 2010
UPS and Fedex own hundreds of planes each.
Have you ever seen UPS or Fedex walking door to door to deliver a package or driving a small jeep like the post office? No, they use gas guzzling trucks and jets.
UPS/Fedex does not sell stamps, deliver over 100 billion letters a year or sell money orders.
So why is it UPS and Fedex make billions in profit while the post office loses billions?

By law all the post office is suppose to do is break even not make a profit and they can't even do that. Why?

Until these dim bulbs can show some leadership and sound business decision making they don't need to be in the payment or banking business.

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: Noel

Mon Aug 29 08:15:23 2011

It's obvious that none of you are old enough to remember when the Post Office opeated what was called POSTAL BANK where you had a saving account at the post office.

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: Tony DeLuca

Mon Aug 29 08:34:44 2011

Excellent idea! In my experience, the US Postal Service is much more trustworthy than PayPal and I'd definitely use them for online payments.

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: jb

Mon Aug 29 09:47:32 2011

We had this in the early 1990's,  it worked just like quicken bill pay.  

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: animejems

Mon Aug 29 09:48:22 2011

Excellent idea, but is it too little, too late? Shouldn't they have been moving money orders online years ago to compete with Paypal. Especially when it became clear that customers were abandoning postal money orders for online payments?

Also, I agree with the other comments: Why doesn't the post office offer services like Media Mail, First Class, and International First Class shipping options on their website? That would mean less customers in line sucking up manpower for these things.

Plus, they could use it to earn additional revenue. I'm paying Stamps.com $15.99 a month in order to print International First Class postage from home for my non-eBay business.

Plus, I'm paying Stamps.com and Shipsurance (whichever is cheaper) for International First Class insurance. I also purchase domestic insurance through these companies because it's cheaper than the post office's overblown rates. Although, before the post office jacked up their insurance prices, I purchased insurance on almost every package.

So...it seems like the post office is behind the times on...well, every idea. There's already somebody out there doing it cheaper and with a better infrastructure.

No wonder the post office is losing money.

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: Jennifer

Mon Aug 29 09:59:49 2011

While USPS has operational issues, their current financial situation is mostly due to the requirement that they over-fund their pension system. If this could be fixed and USPS be allowed to have the overfunded portion ($50 billion to $75 billion) be a credit for future payments their financial situation would be much improved.

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: Charlie W. This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Aug 29 10:08:45 2011

If a USPS offered payees the ability to pick up their electronic payment *in person* AS WELL AS the ability to receive payments *directly* into their checking account, it would be very popular and would offer some stiff competition to PayPal.

As someone else already pointed out, eBay would likely continue to be PayPal-only, and the justification would be that the USPS wasn't trustworthy... but this would certainly put a dent in the fees they get from transactions that occur off-eBay.

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 29 10:48:51 2011

If they'd get their heads out of the sand they should be offering ALL postal services on line for a small monthly fee.  They'd make a killing.  Why they only offer priority and express online is beyond me!

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: Angela

Mon Aug 29 12:04:17 2011

There is a lot of good ideas in the comments above mine,  but the fact remains that Bidpay failed as a business model means it was a money loser, and perhaps not a model that should be adopted.  Remember, these are the same people that failed miserably with their self-service postage machines, which seemed like a no-brainer win to the rest of the world.

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: zvicki

Mon Aug 29 12:13:33 2011

There are a few things that really bug me with the USPS. First, they don't allow us to purchase other shipping rates - as already mentioned here, online. Secondly, the employee's at the PO seem clueless as to what is happening on their website. They can't ever answer a simple question?
Seems to me that the managers of the various PO's should be educating their employees on the website usage. That would certainly help things. The accepting of payments through their web services is a smart one, but I wonder if their staff will have any idea how to implement it?

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: Fred

Mon Aug 29 13:23:23 2011

 When is the last time anything the government did worked right or saved money? Break the union agreements and streamline the Mail service or turn it over to someone  who can actually run a business.

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: d

Mon Aug 29 13:48:26 2011

The USPS should open a website offering legal and ethics advice.  The General Counsel would be a natural for running this.

Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?   Could USPS Launch Online Payments to Help Current Crisis?

by: Dan

Mon Aug 29 16:15:43 2011

I have been suggesting that to the USPS for years.

Think of the protection for honest sellers and buyers if they backed it with the Postal Inspector Division.

And the revenue they could rake in like PayPal does.

Even a Post Office to Post Office Money Order Transfer would be better than nothing.

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