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New Postal Bill Could Have an Impact on Ecommerce

A congressman introduced a bill that would allow the United States Postal Service to offer basic financial services, and one aspect of the proposed legislation has the potential to impact ecommerce.

Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana reintroduced the Providing Opportunities for Savings, Transactions and Lending (POSTAL) Act. The bill would allow US postal customers to open checking accounts, deposit funds in an interest-bearing savings account, and receive small-dollar loans.

The bill would also require that the Postal Service offer customers a “Postal Card” that would function as a debit card and allow them to engage in in-store, mobile, and online transactions.

That could bring more people into the world of online shopping.

Rep. Richmond said in a press release, “Currently, millions of hard-working Americans do not have access to fair and reasonable financial services. Allowing USPS to offer small-dollar loans and transactions would save working families thousands of dollars and reduce their dependency on predatory lenders. If signed into law, this legislation would both provide financial stability to the millions of unbanked Americans in this country and solidify the fiscal future of the USPS.”

It raises the intriguing possibility that for certain transactions, the USPS could verify that a shopper paid for a purchase and could verify if that customer received their package.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.