Switzerland. WebStamps

From some years ago the new systems of electronic franking are a reality that many postal administrations worldwide are testing or have already implemented, one more option for the franking of the shipments. The experience of La Poste Suisse in this field is introduced in the next article.

From summer of 2002 the Switzerland Post - La Poste started different tests with a new franking system developed by Deutsche Post, called Stampit. About 30 local companies and private customers all around the country were selected and during several months they tested the advantages of this new proposal.

Stampit is a software for electronic franking, a PC-franking. This software allows the user the printing of a postage stamp directly onto enveloppes or self-adhesive labels. This real postage stamp includes a 2D matrix code with all the information about the sender and the shipment, impossible to forge.

The 2D matrix code or Data matrix 2D is a two-dimensional symbol (2D) of variable length able to codify and to store large quantity of information, thousands of characters.
It consists on a series of cells or squares structured in rows and columns within a limit with 2 solid edges and 2 pointed ones.
Some postal administrations worldwide have implemented already this system of codification in postage stamps: among them, Italy, Great Britain, Germany or the United States. Some of this cases have been studied in other articles of this Web site (stamps.com or APC), others will be introduced in future articles.
Some tests related to the postal field have been made already in Spain.

To frank with Stampit, it was only necessary to have a PC-computer, a printer and access to Internet.
The new system was initially created for companies or postal users with a medium or large volume of shipments, the clients loaded the application and printed their own stamps through the computer system.

After the success of these first tests, La Poste presented in February 15th, 2005 the new electronic franking system, called WebStamp.
This software allows the user to create its own postage stamps through Internet; The franking can be used for inland and international letters and inland parcels.

The application allows the printing of the postage stamp on the letter or on a self-adhesive label, and includes the date, the face value, the type of shipment and the postal address at destination. All this information is also codified in the matrix symbol.

After printing, the WebStamp can be used normally for franking and does not require any type of postmark. Like the Stampit, the WebStamp was created for users with a more or less important volume of shipments.

The Switzerland Philatelic service edited, among other philatelic products, a set of 2 commemorative covers of this issue, franked with 2 WebStamps for A-Post (high-priority, delivered on Switzerland on the next day) and B-Post, and the date of the first day of issue.

The third and, until now, last step in this process was presented in May 11th, 2006; it's the WebStamp Private.
As indicated, it is a franking system that no longer is thought for companies or great users of the post, but also for privates: after registration in PostMail, the user (only living in Switzerland, of course !) can print his own postage stamps through its personal computer and, even more, personalize them with any photography or image.
A great and specially attractive resource for all those wishing to give a special image to their mail, as showed in this funny presentation of La Poste.

In this case, in the postage stamp it's always printed the face value, the type of shipment, the code of the customer, the logo of La Poste and the two-dimensional code with all the codified information. The software allows to include the customized image or the addressee.

Also for the WebStamp Private the Switzerland Philatelic service issued some sets of commemorative covers, franked with different types of WebStamps, images and types of shipment, and with or without the philatelic postmark of the first day in use.

Of course, any of the postage stamps showed in this article can or must be considered as an ATM issue, but they are variable value stamps, real postage stamps with different values selected and printed by the user for immediate use, including the date of issue (explicit on the stamp or codified in the matrix code), and they would not require any type of postmark.

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ATM Web - Spain and Latin American Postal Services: http://www.ateeme.net
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This page was created in 15.05.06
and last updated:  31.05.06