Royal Mail has announced its price changes which will come into effect from 1 January 2021. Despite an update to its tariff prices, MailMark customers will still be able to keep their franking costs down, with savings compared to standard franking and using stamps.

Franking is widely used as a pre-paid postage option for businesses, where franking marks are printed onto an envelope or label, but have you ever wondered why some franking marks use different designs and colours?


Mailmark explained

As posted mail continues to be an essential and effective way for businesses to communicate with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, you might have noticed that franked mail looks somewhat different in recent years. Some franking marks use red ink, while others use blue ink. Some are simple, with the traditional ‘town and crown,’ while others use a more complex barcode. So, why is there a difference?

All franking marks are read by the Royal Mail network in a fully automated process, thereby giving efficiencies that are passed on to the customer in the form of reduced pricing, often up to 34 percent when compared to stamps. Royal Mail transitioned its franking marks from using red ink to blue ink in 2014, when testing showed that blue ink improved readability. The latest franking mark, named Mailmark, uses the latest 2D blue barcodes.

This latest franking technology contains machine readable information on the user and the mail piece. It uses a blue ink barcode to carry more information about items being sent in the post. As well as saving businesses money on postage, companies can also manage their account and control postal spend.


What are the differences?

Stamp prices Table




What are some of the benefits of Mailmark?

Postage rates – the biggest benefit businesses will see from using Mailmark is the postage rates that are available.  To persuade companies to make the change to Mailmark franking, Royal Mail introduced the lowest tariffs in the franking channel, that only Mailmark machines could benefit from.  

LAN Connection – A Mailmark franking machine allows you to drop the traditional analogue phone line and instead connect to a secure local area network (LAN). This means you will be kept up to date with the latest prices.

Prepay reply – Mailmark enables businesses to do a date-less pre-paid frank, allowing customers to return documents at no cost to them, which in turn, is likely to increase a business’s response rate.

Future proofing – Royal Mail has stated that it is preparing more products and services for the future which will incorporate the use of Mailmark.


Do I have to switch to Mailmark?

Royal Mail is continuing to process the different types of franking formats, including Mailmark, so businesses do not have to do anything right now. However, with the regular Mailmark updates from Royal Mail, along with the many benefits it can bring to businesses – such as the lower Royal Mail tariffs – it looks like it is here to stay.

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