Schimek applies his 26-plus years of mailing industry experience to provide product management and strategic direction for Quadient’s mailing business, formerly known as Satori Software. As Senior Director of Postal Affairs for Quadient, Bob Schimek serves as primary liaison between Quadient and USPS on technical matters affecting the company’s mailing solutions, which include CASS and PAVE certified software, integrated 48-month NCOALink processing and post-sort solutions.
One of the major changes that will be taking place for everyone in the mailing industry over the next year will be the Postal Service’s rollout of their new Enterprise Payment System (EPS). As with many of the new Postal Service systems, there will be several new acronyms that the mailing industry will need to become familiar with as EPS is officially rolled out. EPS will require every business mailer to have an Enterprise Payment Account (EPA). If your business has PO Boxes, you may have already had some exposure to the first phase of EPS which is being referred to as EPOBOL-Electronic PO Boxes Online. EPOBOL allows mailers to renew, open, and close their PO Boxes online. EPOBOL is currently available for use and the Postal Service is encouraging all business mailers with PO Boxes to begin using it.
The bigger EPS change for business mailers will be coming later in 2018 and into early 2019. The Postal Service has recently completed pilot testing the expanded payment capabilities for domestic, commercial, and international mail products and services. These will include postage statement processing for all bulk mailings currently being submitted to PostalOne! using Mail.dat, Mail.xml, or the Postage Statement Wizard. It will also support BMEU (Bulk Mail Entry Unit) hard copy postage statements and other services such as ACS – Address Change Service.
There are several steps involved to enroll which include receiving an invitation code, creating and configuring your EPA, so it would be a good idea to figure out early in the process who in the your company will be taking the lead in getting all of this setup. There are many details that will likely require collaboration and testing with the financial side of your business to ensure user roles have been appropriately assigned.
Each mailer or mail service provider will be migrated to a single EPA in which all postal transactions will occur. This will greatly simplify the postage payment process for mailers. EPA will allow mailers the ability to setup a Trust Account or an ACH (Automated Clearing House) Debit. The Trust Account allows mailers to direct deposit funds into their Postal Service account for mailing transactions. ACH Debit allows the Postal Service to withdraw payment transactions directly from mailer bank accounts.
Now that EPS has been fully tested, the Postal Service will likely soon require all mailers to migrate to EPS and the current CAPS (Centralized Account Processing System) will be officially discontinued. The timeframe and length of the transition window has not yet been announced. However, you can expect the official start of the transition to be announced sometime in 2018, and the transition window could be fairly short. The migration from CAPS to EPS does not have to be done all at once. The transition can be done a single permit or CAPS account at a time. Mailers with multiple CAPS accounts and/or permits, will be able to mix the use of both CAPS and EPS for postal transactions as they transition, but eventually they will all be connected to their single EPA. Once mailers have their new EPA number, they can start using it in the electronic documentation that is sent to PostalOne!.
Ultimately there is going to be a number of new benefits that will come with the migration to EPS. These include being able to make deposits at any retail location, and being able to make deposits via electronic check capture. To maximize your benefits it is highly encouraged to begin planning the changes to your business now. For additional information on the details involved in the migration use the Postal Service PostalPro site to access the Payment Modernization Overview document.