With 2018 already here, it is important to spend some time planning and preparing for changes that will impact your business in the new year. One of these changes will be the Postal Service’s rollout of the 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 formally 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 included ePOBOL – Electronic PO Boxes Online. ePOBOL allows mailers to renew, open, and close their PO Boxes online. ePOBOL is currently available for use.
The Postal Service is encouraging all eligible business mailers with PO Boxes to begin using it. Enterprise Payment System is available for some Address Quality Products, including ACS, AEC and AEC II. The bigger EPS change for business mailers deployed February 1, 2018.
The Postal Service has completed pilot testing with some mailers expanded payment capabilities for eligible domestic, commercial, and international mail products and services. These include postage statement processing for all bulk mailings currently being submitted to PostalOne! using Mail.dat, Mail.xml, or the Postage Statement Wizard and BMEU (Bulk Mail Entry Unit) hard copy postage statements.
There are several steps involved to enroll in EPS which include receiving an invitation code to access the EPS service in the Business Customer Gateway (BCG) and creating and configuring your EPA. Mailers are encouraged to begin considering who in your company will be taking the lead in the setup process.
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 and bank account information has been updated to reflect the changes.
Each mailer or mail service provider may choose to have one or more EPAs. Each permit will be linked to a single EPA; all postal transactions for that permit will be posted to that EPA. This will greatly simplify the postage payment process for mailers. EPA will allow mailers the ability to setup a TrustAccount or an Automated Clearing House (ACH) 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.
Mailers who choose to use ACH Debit as a payment method will complete a micro-debit verification process to verify the ACH account is linked correctly to their EPA before it may be used to pay for mailings. Mailers may need to work with their accounting department and their financial institution to confirm their account will accept transactions from the Postal Service.
Once EPS has been fully tested, the Postal Service will require all mailers to migrate to EPS and the Centralized Account Processing System (CAPS) 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 all permits will be connected to an EPA.
Once mailers have their new EPA number, they can begin using it to pay for commercial mailings. If you are submitting electronic documentation and including the account number this must be updated with your new 10 digit EPA number. If you wish to enroll in Enterprise Payment please contact your local BME or BMS Analyst.