Poland (Polska)

BANPOL automatic vending machines made by a local company were installed in different post offices, to be used by customers for self-service.

Similar in concept to the French distributor L.I.S.A., the BANPOL ATM vending machines are fitted with a scale that allows a user to obtain a variable value stamp or ATM according to the weight, shipment type and destination. These 3 variables can be selected with a 16 button keyboard. The two first rows offer the selection of the type and class of shipment, and the third row offers the 4 international postal rates zones (A - Europe, Russia, Israel / B - North America, Africa / C - Central and South America, Asia / D - Australia, Oceania).
This keyboard also allows the direct purchase of ATMs with 7 pre-programmed basic postage values up to 50 g. These values have changed over the years according to the changes in postal rates.

BANPOL ATM vending machine (Image: B. Z.)

The minimum postage value for domestic economy mail (Pocztówka Ekonomicz), has gone from 0.55 zl. in 1998, to 1.30 zl in the last rise of postal rates in 2005.

The Banpol vending machines accepts only coins for payment, give back change and does not issue any type of receipt.

The first BANPOL variable value stamp was issued in November 1996. An single BANPOL vending machine was installed for a trial period of about a month in the main post office of Warsaw (Warszawa 1).
All the information was printed in violet ink on a white self-adhesive paper.

From 1998, Polish Post set up a total of 100 BANPOL automatic ATM vending machines, most of them concentrated in post offices located in the Silesia Voivodeships, in the south of the country.

These machines use a new self-adhesive paper that includes a preprinted background with the text POCZTA POLSKA in blue and, in the center, the logo of Polish Post. On the left side the label includes a vertical gold strip recognized by the print head that allows the correct printing of the information.
The stamp sizes are approximately 75 x 36 mm. (78 x 38 mm. with the waxed rear paper).

Depending on the ink cartridge installed in the machine, the printing of the data can be pink-violet or red.
The stamps includes the name of the post office (UP JASLO 1 on the 1st image), the machine code (*CA*), the date of purchase (98/04/30), POLSKA, the weight of the postal item (0000g) deposited on the scale (if used) and the face value (0.65 zl).
A few months after installation, the machines were reprogrammed with a new date format, as in the 2nd image (270601).

However, the printing of the date of purchase poses some questions as to whether this can be considered as an ATM issue.
One thing that is certain is that the Polish Post tolerates the use of these real postage stamps at any place and date different from those from where it was purchased, and in some post offices the employees cancel them like any other traditional stamp.
But it's also true that other post offices consider the printing of the date as a cancellation and they do not postmark the stamps.

The paper types

We can distinguish at least 3 different types of self-adhesive papers or labels used in the Banpol vending machines.

Although similar at first sight, the different types of paper can be perfectly identified by placing the stamps under a UV light:
2 of the papers (types 1.1 and 1.2) show 5 fluorescent 4-point stars on the right side of the label. The stars of the paper type 1.2 are much brighter.
On the other hand, the paper type 2 does not show stars in the right vertical strip.
Type 1.1 Type 1.2 Type 2

For the size of the labels, both papers type 2 as type 1.1 are 75 x 36 mm, whereas the paper type 1.2 is longer, 75 x 37 mm.

There is an important difference in the printing of the postal logo in the center of the label, and the repetitive background security text POCZTA POLSKA, which can be recognized, as well as the waxed backing paper

Also important differences in the printing of the postal logo in the center of the label, and the background security repetitive text POCZTA POLSKA can be recognized, as well as the siliconated rear paper.

Not there is an only important difference, as you wrote, but its possible to recognize differences (some) on the papers background designs (postal logo and text).

A full and detailed study could contribute more information on new varieties to these 3 main types.

The following images show odd characteristics; an ATM printed on an inverted label and a double error, cutting and double printing. This last piece was issued when the roll of labels was finished.

The BANPOL vending machines in 2005

The Banpol machines were set up in 1998 after a leasing agreement between the local company and Poczta Polska, the Polish Postal administration.

Besides the ATM vending machines, the large contract also included the installation in different post offices around the country of different self-service vending machines for postcards, stamps booklets and phonecards (right image).

According to this agreement, the Banpol company takes on the integral maintenance of all these vending machines, even to the point that when it was necessary to change a roll of labels or there was any problem with the ATM vending machines, only the technicians from Banpol could attend to the machines.

Actually this causes a serious problem, because faced with even a slight problem, nobody in the most part of post offices can open the machine and may have to wait several days before they are attended to. The advice note Automat nieczynny (Vending machine out of service) is very usual on the machines.

The machines have design errors and also frequent breakdowns, as well as different problems which have arisen between Banpol and Polish Post. As a result, at the end of 2005, of the 100 ATM vending machines initially installed, approximately half of them have been removed. Of those remaining machines still in the post offices, about 40 are out of service, most of them waiting to be removed, and only about 10 machines remain in discontinuous service.
In view of this situation, to find any ATM vending machine in service and to obtain some ATMs is a feat.
Also, both the paper type and the ink colour is also a mystery, because they can change the next time the machine is checked.

With the collaboration of W. Glinska, B. Z., J. L. García

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This page was created in 2001
and last updated:  14.09.06 . English edition rewritten by S. Goodman (14.09.2006)