Keeping your franking machine up to date with the latest postage rates is vital, especially if you send large volumes of franked mail on a daily basis.
If you send one franked mail item a week – over/underpaying might not seem like much, but if you are sending hundreds or thousands of franked mail items, it could cost you a significant amount of money!
In this blog, we’ll explain what happens when you don’t update your franking machine’s rates, as well as how you can update your rates to ensure you’re always paying the correct amount.
What are the consequences of not updating your franking machine’s rates?
OK, so your franking machine isn’t up to date, but what does that actually mean? How does that affect your business’ finances and mail processing?
Paying too much
If you are paying too much, Royal Mail will credit the amount back to your account. Although you will get the money back this can still be inconvenient as you’ll be losing money in the short term.
Paying too little
Now this is the real problem. If you pay too little postage (even if you are off by a few pence), you will receive a surcharge and your mail may not be delivered. The surcharge includes the correct postage amount and an administration fee (as Royal Mail handles the underpayment).
The administration fee is kept as low as possible. For those using Smart meter and standard franking machines, the administration fees are £1 for mail sent in the UK and £2 for mail sent internationally.
For those using Mailmark, the administration fees are 75p for mail sent in the UK and £1.25 for mail sent internationally.
If you’re wondering how Royal Mail works out who underpaid and on what, each franking impression has a unique die number – and that die number matches up to a franking machine.
How can you update your franking machine with new prices?
Updating via rate card/chip
Royal Mail will dispatch a rate card/chip with the latest postage rates whenever it updates its rates. This rate card/chip can be directly installed to your franking machine, allowing you to download the latest postage rates.
If this is the way that you are currently updating your machine with the new postage rates then it might be worth considering an upgrade on your machine.
Updating via the internet
Modern franking machines support digital connectivity, so they can download the latest updates from the internet. These devices can connect to the internet via an ethernet or WiFi connection. Using WiFi, there is no need to worry about having to connect to the internet via a cable or phone line, giving you the flexibility to locate the franking machine in the most convenient place.
Older franking machines, on the other hand, have analogue connections and rely on phone lines to download information. Not only are these connections slow and outdated compared to digital, they are also unreliable. Downloading updates using an analogue connection can take hours, compared to just minutes using a digital connection.
To update your franking machine’s rates, refer to the handbook that came with your franking machine or download the approved handbook from the manufacturer’s website.
If your franking machine is connected to an analogue telephone line, you may be able to update your franking machine from the main menu.
If you are using an analogue connection this is probably the most time-consuming and costly way to update your machine with the new postal rates. It would be worth looking into upgrading to a Digital Franking Machine.
Further Support & Assistance
If you still need help with your franking machine, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our experts can assist you with any franking-related enquiry and help you find the documentation you need to update your rates. Just check out our maintenance services here.
For more information about the franking machine functionality in this blog, check out our ultimate guide to evaluating postal solutions for your business.