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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Transition From USPO Because Of Shutdown?

The Post Office is going to continue to deliver mail, at least for the time being, but does the present government shutdown make you any more interested in paying bills by electronic banking, credit card or other ways of being sure your payment doesn't get lost in some post office?

Or do you figure the mail will get through and you will make no changes?

I have almost no USPO mailings to get bills out, but I do get bills in by mail.  I may have to see if there are ways to get more bills by email so I can be sure to get them and be able to pay on time.

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16 Replies
hRex
Frequent Contributor

Re: Transition From USPO Because Of Shutdown?

The USPS hasn't been officially a government entity for years now, since it was 'privatized'. That technicality should greatly reduce the chances of a shutdown of postal delivery service in the foreseeable future. However, since it's a sole provider of service, it must operate within government mandates, which might come into play down the road a ways. 

 

To answer your first question, I haven't yet come to be enamored of electronic bill payment, so I still do it the old fashioned way. It'll take a little more than what we're seeing now to force me to change procedures.

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tree fmr
Advisor

Re: Transition From USPO Because Of Shutdown?

I do the majority of banking/bill paying online and have documents delivered electronically when available. That is, when it financially makes sense. Some charge stupid high fees for electronic payments, those will continue to get snail mail.
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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Transition From USPO Because Of Shutdown?

I do bill paying with the post office.  Probably 70%.  We do some purchasing online and some bill paying on a few things we have to online.  I find that the security of postal delivery is far superior to internet financial transactions.  The entities and individuals I account for have a common problem with internet transactions with private industry and the US Government.  There are more days in the year when I have this problem than not.------------

Latest example -----Sprint charged a credit card number for services on an account two months after Sprint had assisted in closing the account.

1. The Myth-- Internet service is fast and easy, problem is few take the time to actually update the data, once it is in place.  Government and private business alike expect every employee to enter data, but few have the authority to correct or remove data.

 

2. #2 Myth ----Security of Information ------- The sharing of information, without permission, is far more common with internet transactions than with snail mail.  Even a shoe purchase on line will likely be handled by a third party.

 

I remember how the Federal government embraced the internet for everything abandoning the mail as quickly as possible on cost savings and labor savings ------------- neither happened.  To get an employee to correct a data entry in computer record is very difficult.  -------- Your information is shared immediately.

 

I would say that the push for internet usage by the fed. government is for data sharing rather than cost savings or speed.  Is that in your best interest??  I enjoy the privacy of the mail.  And the fact that there is a responsible party on both ends of the transaction.

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Transition From USPO Because Of Shutdown?

Jim, it is my understanding that USPS operates on an independent budget...right? It should remain unscathed, if so.

As for receiving and paying bills, all of our insurances are drafted automatically, as are all utility and communications. I can tap into the credit card bill online, although I do opt for a paper statement, which is easier for me to review for fraudulent charges and refunds. I pay it electronically.

The rest are local businesses. Some, like the diesel delivery, drop invoices and offer discounts for early payment. I cannot recall getting a bill from most of them, since we stay paid as if cash on delivery. The parts store and auto service could take VISA card payments at each visit, or we would pay them on the basis of a statement handed or faxed to us.

We dwell in a sort of limbo between totally electronic and totally cash/check basis. In times when the Internet is unstable, it is still good to be able to submit a check by mail, and vice versa. I guess my electronic 943 submission went in on time, since it was sent in September to hit on October 1st. I guess I should check to make sure it was deducted. That is the only one I have no alternative method to exercise.

I have some computer control boards to ship off to be re-manned, but we use UPS for them. All of our inbound parts were received as of yesterday, that were shipped by mail.

I think businesses have the burden of delivering bills, and I have to figure out how to pay them.

Do you really think this shutdown will go out past the debt ceiling limit in about 12 days? I think the President and Congress are each backing each other into a corner for that big showdown.
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kraft-t
Senior Advisor

Re: Transition From USPO Because Of Shutdown?

Jim.. We used credit card  and bank withdrawals for most regular billings. Not because we worry about delivery but because it is convenient for us to be able to ignore those pesky things. For people that are out and about it is simply comveniet to take those thing off your regular schedule.

 

For annual billings we sometimes pay by credit card or electronic transfers or by mail.

 

We are rewarded with some horrid credit card bills, but they kindly take it from our bank account with out muss of fuss and credit is with money back awards. We have had excellent results with disputed billings if we discvoer them in the various statements.

 

I can see the day when we mostly abandon the USPO but I would not favor discontinuance because there are so many people that rely on that service.

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wt51015
Senior Contributor

Re: Transition From USPO Because Of Shutdown?

As a USPS carrier, I utilize the service for a great majority of my bill payment/presentment to help preserve my job. As a rural carrier, we get paid based on volume of mail so every little bit helps. I also believe, like sw, that privacy is worth the time and effort of using the mail. Anything electronic can be efficient (can you get the some of the payment for it though) but also can be sold and bartered to third parties. 

I do have a question for you Kay, WHY did you use UPS versus USPS? UPS charges a fee for package pickup and USPS doesn't. Were you concerned about speed, security, or convenience? I can see that there are some areas that may not have the best service, but that is true for most national businesses.

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Transition From USPO Because Of Shutdown?

Two reasons, for the same reason: security. Our box is a quarter- mile from the house. I have read that it is unsafe to place anything of value in the mailbox, in case of theft. That is a very real possibility here.

Also, I never know what the shipping weight and thus the charges and insurance fees will be. If each computer box panel should be insured for $300, and i am sending six at a time....

We live six miles to USPS, and I have to hope I can catch it open in declining service hours, or stop by the UPS store in town, which is about a half- mile from the bank branch we use and the do jhang where I train, and it is open until six p.m.daily as well as on Saturdays.

I do use USPS as much as I think reasonable. Frankly, I have to prioritize the payment method and shipping mode that works best for us. If USPS had met everyone's needs, there would be no UPS or FedEx.
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wt51015
Senior Contributor

Re: Transition From USPO Because Of Shutdown?

Check on Click and Ship at www.usps.com. There is a spot on there for insurance, weight, and you can even use flat rate boxes for convenience. You can estimate using a scale since the package rates usually don't change at ounces. Plus, you can tell them that they can pick up the package at the house or office. Therefore you don't have to worry about leaving at the mailbox or trying to get to the post office during open hours. 

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Transition From USPO Because Of Shutdown?

Thank you for the info.  How does my carrier accept payment?  How does he know to make a pickup?  I cannot find our post office listed in the phone book anymore.  

 

UPS  takes my business credit card and prints the complete address label.  

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