EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2473 - February 07, 2011     1 of 5

Does the USPS Now Require SCAN Forms for Online Postage?

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Some postal employees have been incorrectly telling online sellers that they must use SCAN Forms when dropping off packages with prepaid online postage. SCAN Form (PS Form 5630) is a useful service that allows sellers to prove their packages have entered the mail stream - the SCAN Form contains a master barcode that represents all the packages in a shipment, and a single scan enters all of the associated packages into the USPS database as "Shipment Accepted."

USPS PR Representative Dave Lewin confirmed last week that, while it is preferred, SCAN Form is not required. "The Postal Service does not require a SCAN form," he said. "We do prefer that a SCAN form is used since it is more efficient for shippers and expedites transactions at retail."

SCAN Form is available with most online postage services, including USPS Click-N-Ship, ShipRush, Endicia and However, SCAN Form is not available in the recently launched Amazon Marketplace Shipping Label program, and the incorrect message that some sellers are receiving at their post office is causing them concern, as documented in this online discussion thread.

Some sellers surmise that the misunderstanding is caused by a supposed memo to postmasters recently that all packages be scanned.

ShipRush Product Manager Rafael Zimberoff said online sellers should be using the SCAN Form, required or not. "All ecommerce sellers should use SCAN forms, without exception. A merchant who uses a system that does not provide SCAN forms is saving pennies to spend dollars lost in lower buyer satisfaction and more complicated customer service."

While sellers who use online postage should use SCAN Forms when possible, since it shows their customers they've mailed their orders, for right now, at least, the post office is not making it mandatory.

Helpful Links

USPS Click-N-Ship SCAN Forms

Endica help on SCAN Form (scroll down the page) help on SCAN Form

How To Print A USPS Scan Form Using Paypal (eBay Guide by PowerWheelerChris)

About the author:

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

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