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What are franking machines?

What are franking machines? Franks, as they are more commonly referred to, are the markers on letters such as postage stamps, coding’s, labels, postal stationery, as well as signatures. Basically anything that allows a letter or parcel to be sent via post. Franking is like putting a stamp of approval onto something and giving it a destination. Suffice to say, the machines that perform these duties are a very important part of a well-run postal operation.

There are many different methods of franking, however not all of them are used on every method of postal delivery. Franking varies from country to country and each postal system in each country makes sure that they have their own set of rules and regulations when it comes to what qualifies as a frank for their own domestic regulations. Though there are many differences in the way that countries process their mail, the franks itself fall into four categories. Privilege, postage, official business and business reply mail. All of these methods are governed by the universal postal union and that is why they can be regulated across countries.

The different methods of franking

There are several different methods of franking that are used to make sure that letters get to where they need to be.

  • Postage stamps. This refers to the application of a physical stamp to a letter. The stamp often demarcates where the letter is supposed to go and how much it is worth. The stamp stipulates the collection fee for the person who is receiving it. Besides stamps, postage franking, as it is known, can also come in the form of stamped impressions on letters that are applied by a franking machine. All of these impressions have to denote the types of fees that are needed on collection or postage.
  • Privilege franking. This refers to the type of franking that is personalised and penned normally. The frank itself can be a signature or reproduction of a signature. This alone allows the letter to be sent without a stamp of any kind. This type of frank is usually only authorised for government or official use.
  • Official business franking. This refers to any frank that is used to represent official business or national government mail. Most times, the franks read official paid, as there are little or no collection fees for this type of mail.
  • Business reply mail. This is a printed frank that is present on the envelope and is used to ensure that the person posting the item does not need to pay any advance fees on the letter.

The postal service would not be what it is without the use of franking and this is why it is so crucial. Having a good franking machine means that all of the letters handled by the postal service will always go in the correct category and be delivered efficiently.

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