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What are Neopost Webenabled Stamps?

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What are Neopost Webenabled Stamps?

Neopost Online TM and Northrop Grumman TM jointly developed an innovative self-service stamp vending system.  Neopost Online TM is a US subsidiary of Neopost Inc.TM . Testing of this system was authorized by the United States Postal Service (USPS) in March 2001. This self-service stamp vending system allows the consumer to peruse through a variety of denominations and quantities, select the desired purchase and swipe his/her credit card to submit a purchase order. The stamp vending system then authorizes the purchase order, prints the stamp sheet(s) and finally dispenses them to the consumer. The ability to peruse/request/authorize/print/dispense a stamp purchase  using the Internet makes these the world's first browser-based stamps. The product from this self-service stamp vending system is aptly named by collectors as "NeopostTM webenabled stamps".

Self-Service Stamp Vending System

The Neopost Online TM /Northrop Grumman TM self-service stamp vending system is implemented around a client/server model. The kiosk (client) accepts the consumer stamp purchase order (stamp denomination, quantity, purchase location,  purchaser information, etc). The centralized database (server) authorizes the purchase order (verifies credit card purchase, obtain purchase funds, etc) and disseminates purchase information (purchase order number, partial credit card numbers, etc)  back to the kiosk. The kiosk prints the purchase information on the stamp sheet and dispenses the sheet(s) to the consumer. The kiosk and centralized database purchase sequence utilizes Internet communications to initiate and complete the transaction.

Parts of the Stamp Vending System

The Neopost Online TM provides the Information Based Indicia (IBI) technology to provide an advance secure postage evidencing.  Northrop Grumman TM provided the e-ticketing platform (kiosk) (NIA TM Interactive Self - Service Kiosk). Neopost Online TM provided the original kiosk software. Kiosk software has been upgraded by Shabano TM to provide more user friendly interaction with the consumer. (Shabano TM developed the Neopostage TM logos). The developer of the centralized database is Neopost Online TM .  It is known that the kiosk utilizes a Microsoft TM Operating system. Also, the stamp sheet is supplied by a California based supplier. Public information relating to this systems suggests that Neopost Online TM is the primary owner of the system (all other companies  supplies Neopost Online  TM). Neopost Online TM also has the responsibility to adhere to USPS postal system regulations in developing this system. Neopost Online TM has provided a name to the kiosk, it is now called a "Neopostage Kiosk TM". 

Information Based Indicia

The following text is from a USPS report:

"The Information Based Indicia (IBI) is part of the Postal Technology Management (PTM) security architecture and the objective to secure postage against counterfeit attack. The goal is to incorporate technology into the postage mark that makes it harder to counterfeit, that makes counterfeiting easier to detect, and that offers value beyond postage.

Unlike traditional postage meter indicia, each IBI is unique. IBI incorporates digital printing of indicia that includes human readable and machine readable (barcode) data containing, among other information, certain "security critical" data elements. The IBI also incorporates cryptographic services which digitally "sign" each indicium making it possible to verify its authenticity."

The IBI is an encrypted 2-dimensional (2D) bar code that provide a wealth of information about the point of origin and the sender.  The IBI is similar to the caller ID program for the telephone. Each stamp is unique, creating an intelligent mail piece that is easier to track and trace questionable/suspicious mail back to the sender.    The Neopost TM Stamp Vending System prints multiple IBIs on the stamp sheet after the purchase has been authorized The IBI used by the Neopost TM  Vending systems is in the ECC200 format. 

The adhesived-backed paper is printed with the IBI and other purchase information also provides a deterence to counterfeiting. The paper employs microprinting and a fluorescening Neopost TM logo. The design on the adhesive-backed paper can be updated or changed as needed. 

PTM Notification - New Indicia by Neopost Online

Browser-based Stamps Vs PC Postage TM Stamps

There is a fundamental difference between a browser-based stamp and stamp generated by a PC Postage TM device.


A PC Postage TM device can be thought of as a postage vault, that is a tamper-resistant Postal Security Device is used to disable the PC Postage TM equipment when its tampered with. The postage vault can be also identified as the means store (and keep track of) monetary funds in the postage vault.  You can think of this as prepaying for the right to print postage from your PC. The Internet is used to reset or replenish funds in your postage vault.


As discussed in an earlier paragraph, Neopost TM self-service stamp vending system is implemented around a client/server model. The  Neopost TM self-service vending system utilizes an e-business philosophy. The kiosk is used to peruse/request/print/dispense the stamp sheet while the centralized database is used to authorize the purchase and immediately receive funds for the purchase.


The difference is obvious, Neopost TM  webenabled stamps can be purchased on demand, while the PC postage is pre-purchased.


Self-Service Vending Kiosks vs Self-Service Postal Centers

The USPS has been testing a pilot program to provide a self-service system that provides commonly requested postal transactions. This system is called the Automated Postal Center (APC). The APC is produced by a IBM TM  with a patnership with Neopost TM (licensed IBI technology to IBM TM). The  IBM/Neopost kiosk enables consumers to weigh, rate, print postage (using the information-based indicia technology), and mail packages. It also offers the ability to purchase sheetlets of stamps and to obtain general mailing information. Recent terrorist incidents in the United States have raised concerns about the safety and security of the APC (could be used to send packages and letters with questionable contents).


Neopost TM released a press release indicating that future upgrades to the Neopostage Kiosk TM  would allow the postal transactions similar to the APC.  This capability has never been offered at the Neopostage Kiosk TM.


I believe that the APC and the Neopostage Kiosk TM fulfills different USPS needs.   The APC is used to reduce cost by allowing the consumer to complete the postal transaction rather than having a postal employee complete the transaction.  The APC also provides the means to increase customer satisfaction (by reducing the wait time for postal service).


The Neopost Kiosk TM provides  the means to replace mechanical and vending type machines at postal facilities and public locations. The manhours to replentish inventory, handle money and maintenace of the machines can be significanly reduced with the Neopostage Kiosk TM. The Neopost Kiosk TM will also allow the USPS to increase stamp sales by expanding  self-servicing vending at new stamp purchasing locations. The key benefit for the USPS is the centralized database to authorized and collect funds from all kiosk operations.